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Competition for Kirkwood’s Pullman Yard property already fierce

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Documents indicate two dozen potential bidders could be lined up for large, historic site

The Pullman Yard property in Kirkwood Atlanta.
Hot property.
Curbed Atlanta

Anyone losing sleep over thoughts of Pullman Yard being wiped clean for Mega Target and flimsy carbon-copy apartments can probably rest a little easier. Documents obtained by Curbed Atlanta indicate a number of developers and architects with experience in adaptive-reuse projects have keen interest in buying the Pullman site.

Bids aren’t due for another two months, but there’s no shortage of interest already.

With development encroaching from all sides, the Georgia Building Authority announced in December it will sell Pullman Yard — one of Atlanta’s largest dormant properties. The abandoned Kirkwood rail facility spans 27 acres and includes five century-old warehouses.

The GBA has set a minimum bid at $5.6 million.

Two dozen developers, architecture firms, acquisition teams, and others are listed as attendees at a pre-bid conference held downtown last month. They include development heavyweights with track records of historic preservation.

Not all the names of potential bidders are legible in the documents, and exactly who’s involved in listed LLCs is secretive by nature. But a few names jump out:

  • Place Properties recently completed the 200 Edgewood apartments near Georgia State University downtown. That project reused two existing low-rise buildings across the street from Sweet Auburn Curb market.
  • Third & Urban is helmed by former Jamestown Properties executives who played roles in developing Ponce City Market and Westside Provisions District. More recently, their Armour Yards project has helped enliven the industrial district around SweetWater Brewery.
  • Atlanta’s Smith Dalia architects has recently worked with Third & Urban and designed hit projects such as Inman Quarter.
  • Another Atlanta firm listed, Surber Barber Choate + Hertlein Architects, consists of historic preservation pros who transformed Bass School Lofts in Little Five Points, among other projects.
  • Civitas Housing Group recently restored the Imperial Hotel downtown and has a track record of affordable housing.
  • Fabric Developers have projects all over town and rehabilitated the Troy Peerless Lofts in Old Fourth Ward.
  • Two groups listed in documents are no surprise, as they’ve been publicly eyeing the site for years. They are: Nonprofit advocate of sports for children and adults, Atlanta ContactPoint, which has teamed with developers and released hypothetical plans for the site. Those plans 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. Both have expressed interest in keeping the site’s historic structures intact.
Georgia Building Authority
Georgia Building Authority

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 and television shoots, the graffiti-strewn site has gone largely unused.

The sale of Pullman Yard was prompted by the the tragic death of a 19-year-old Dunwoody man who was skateboarding on the site with friends and fell 40 feet through a roof on the property in May.

Meanwhile this week, two state senators have announced they’re sponsoring legislation that would protect historic buildings on the Pullman site.

The property will be open for public inspection twice more before all bids are due on April 4. So even more potential suitors have several weeks to throw their hats in the game.