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Kirkwood’s Pullman Yard is officially for sale

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Historic site could have more than movie sets in future

The historic Pullman Yard site in Kirkwood Atlanta.
Sign of the times: Pullman Yard is up for grabs.
Curbed Atlanta

Pullman Yard’s days as a moldering movie set could be numbered.

With development encroaching from all sides, the Georgia Building Authority announced this week it will sell one of Atlanta’s largest dormant properties, an abandoned Kirkwood rail facility that spans 27 acres and includes five century-old warehouses.

According to a marketing package, the GBA has set a minimum bid at $5.6 million. Between Dec. 16 and mid-March, the state will be welcoming prospective buyers on site for scheduled inspection tours. All bids are due by April 4.

For true geeks, a handy flowchart describing the Invitation To Bid process is right here.

As we reported last month, sources have indicated lately that a sale could happen this year, prompted by the state’s desire to offload what’s viewed as a major liability, following the tragic death of a 19-year-old Dunwoody man who fell 40 feet through a roof on the property in May.

A decaying metal warehouse at Pullman Yard’s more southernly section contrasts the older structures on site.
Curbed Atlanta

The site’s history runs deep and its potential to be a bastion of inventive, adaptive-reuse architecture is high, though the latter might not be a sure bet.

In the very early 1900s, this land about four miles east of downtown was converted from farming uses into a sugar and fertilizer processing plant (odd combination), then it served during World War I as a munitions manufacturer. In 1922, the Pullman Passenger Rail Car Company bought it to service rail cars.

The GBA has owned the property since 1990 and briefly used it as a pitstop for a dinner train experience that ran between Underground Atlanta and Stone Mountain. Aside from occasional movie shoots for productions like “The Hunger Games,” “Fast and Furious,” and one explosive Jamie Foxx/Kevin Spacey flick, the scabby, graffiti-strewn property has gone largely unused.

Aerial of the site today, with its bank of woodlands at left.
Remaining images: GBA

In what must be a positive sign for preservationists, the structures below are described as “Building Improvement” in marketing materials, and not “Obstacle To The Stucco-Clad Mixed-Use Blocks of Your Dreams.”

However, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission recently voted to nix a plan that would have granted Pullman Yard status as a Landmark, making it extremely difficult for developers to wipe the acreage clean. Word on the street is that such a designation could have hindered a sale.

In terms of what the future may hold, competition for the land could be high, given the eastside’s burgeoning desirability and the potential for adaptive-reuse of the remaining facilities.

Two groups have been publicly eyeing the site for years.

A nonprofit advocate of sports for children and adults, Atlanta ContactPoint has teamed with developers and released hypothetical plans for the site, which contrast a mixed-use vision with townhomes put forth by a group called Historic Pullman Development LLC that’s gained neighborhood backing in recent years.

This is the latest draft proposal put forth by Atlanta ContactPoint:

And this was a proposal brought by the development group in early 2014:

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