It was announced in 2005 that the GM Plant in Doraville would cease operations in 2008.
Little did we know what was going to happen to the real estate market. As such, the site just sat there from 2008 until 2015! But that is all going to change now!
The site was purchased by The Integral Group and Mccauley and Schmidt. Most of this year has been spent tearing down the massive auto plant...a huge project in itself! I've posted a video below of the before, during and how the site looks today (December, 2015) The nitty gritty details of the Tax Allocation District are about finalized and this will put the money in place to start the needed infrastructure work on the site, including the amazing Park Avenue covered street that will connect not only the Downtown Doraville area, but will offer the missing connection to the site from the Doraville MARTA station! It's all so exciting.
Assembly Doraville is a project with massive regional impact. It's developer referred to it as the "hole in the donut" because of the development that has occurred all around the site, Perimeter, Chamblee, Tucker and Norcross. But the plans for this site will make it be a major player in not only potential corporate relocations, but an entire new take on mixed-used development.
Way back in 2017, I walked the site (shhhh) and got some incredible photos....all after the physical plant had been torn down. I remember there was talk that this left over mini-van would get displayed some where in the development....I'm guessing that's not happening after the developments below! And where the paint pits where....the cars were dunked in these for their undercoating I believe....and they were deep and full of water....yikes!
2023 - Update -- Assembly Atlanta ....Because why could we not keep the Doraville name????
The Assembly Doraville site did indeed languish under the ownership of Integral Group. Basically, they had a pipe dream Master Plan and not a penny to make any of it happen! 2008 (when the plant closed) to 2021...is a long darn time for 135 prime acres of real estate to just sit...and grow weeds.
In 2021, the site was sold to Gray Television. While there has been massive changes and construction on the site, there is some of the same development delays as we saw during Integral's ownership. We'll review that in a moment.
Gray Television has indeed turned a majority of the site into another....gasp...movie studio and production facility. Some 22 sound stages have been constructed, some of them with "false fronts" that will double as "backlot streets" like New York, New Orleans and numerous European cities. The first Smith Dalia Architects-designed phase is projected to cost $305 million and include more than 1 million square feet of film-production space—from warehouses to dining halls and bungalows for private production—across 53 acres. As of late 2022, Gray had inked a deal with NBCUniversal to lease a majority of the space...at least that which will not be used by Gray's own Swirl Films.
There was a "lengthy demolition process," and construction started in 2022. A "topping out" ceremony was held in February, 2023 to mark the end of this first phase of vertical construction. Atlanta-based Gray Television, the project developer and one of the nation’s largest owners of broadcast TV stations, says the studios will be among Georgia’s largest, eventually claiming 135 acres. (It should be noted that Trilith Studios in Fayetteville probably has some 1,000 acres under its scope!
Another phase that is under construction and will be accessible to the public (keep in mind movie studios are under strict security and not open to the public) is The Commons, a public green space and retention pond. Recent photos and renderings show this under construction and what it may look like when finished.
In February, 2023, Gray Television announced they would "pause" the further development of Assembly Atlanta. Meaning, they got their studios done that they wanted, but as for anything that the public would use or enjoy...you'll be waiting on that one. Plans had called for 120 condos and townhomes, 800 apartments, 250,000 square feet of retail, two hotels with 350 rooms combined, and about 1 million square feet of offices, company officials said in late 2022. Also in the mix: a nondenominational wedding chapel, 5,000-seat civic arena, and a conference center.
“Once this phase of construction is complete, Gray intends to pause its funding of construction projects across the remaining roughly 80 acres that will comprise Atlanta Assembly,” said Hilton Howell, Gray Television's CEO and board chairman, on an earnings call Friday.
Howell told analysts the decision to halt further construction is due to market conditions.
“There is some macroeconomic concern about real estate and what’s going on out there, so we are taking a break,” Howell said on the call. “Our focus is on building the studios, and we just about have all those built.”
It's interesting that other developments are happening and moving forward in Metro Atlanta (the redevelopment of the State Farm campus in John's Creek to Medley comes to mind) but Doraville always seems to stumble. We will keep an eye on when we might see the rest of the dirt move on the site.
Here is a great video done by Gray Television about the GM Plant, and how it moved along up until they purchased the site.
We will keep this page updated (and will date each entry so you can follow along) with either more information, or links to posts I write about what is happening at the site. We have a page for Doraville and will work to cross post so you can keep up with the progress.
You might also want to check out and like our Facebook Pages, Living Near Assembly Doraville, Downtown Doraville as well as a page we have built for Third Rail Studios, Living Near Third Rail Studios.
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Data last updated: 9/30/23 1:53 AM PDT.
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