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Touring Pullman Yard’s beautiful ruins in 60 photos

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Finally poised for redevelopment after years of movie and television use, 27-acre Kirkwood property is a wonderland of postindustrial decay

The main former train building at Pullman Yard in Atlanta’s Kirkwood neighborhood.
Imagine the adaptive-reuse possibilities in this main building at Pullman Yard.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

For fans of achingly beautiful postindustrial decrepitude, it’s tough to beat the historic Pullman Yard complex in Kirkwood right now. But these urban ruins—crumbling and rusting a little more each day, all splashed with graffiti—likely won’t last for long.

With development encroaching from all sides, the Georgia Building Authority announced in December it will sell Pullman Yard. At 27 acres, it’s one of Atlanta’s largest dormant properties, used in recent years only for productions of television shows and movies such as the Hunger Games and the forthcoming Baby Driver.

The GBA has set a minimum bid at $5.6 million. They’re due in about two weeks.

This week, the state opened the property for the fourth—and last—pre-sale tour, allowing potential buyers and curious media to explore the former rail facility in its faded glory, possibly for the last time.

The property is so visually captivating, a photo gallery of more than 60 images seemed appropriate, which begins now:

The main building’s iconic facade, as seen in the Hunger Games.
Photos: Jonathan Phillips, Curbed Atlanta

Pullman Yard’s history is rich, and its potential to be a bastion of inventive, adaptive-reuse architecture is high.

In the early 1900s, this land about four miles east of downtown Atlanta was converted from farming uses into a sugar and fertilizer processing plant (an 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 and television shoots (the new MacGyver series, for instance), the graffiti-strewn site has gone largely unused.

The sale of Pullman Yard was prompted by 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.

Poised between two MARTA stations, and around the corner from Kirkwood’s commercial district, the property includes five century-old warehouses and ancillary, newer structures.

From grassroots activism to legislature proposed by state senators, efforts are in the works to ensure that all historic buildings at Pullman Yard are preserved when redevelopment sweeps through.

For preservationists, a pre-bid conference in January was encouraging.

Two dozen people—developers, architecture firms, acquisition teams, and others—attended the conference downtown, showing that interest in buying Pullman Yard was already high. Attendees included development heavyweights with track records of historic preservation.

Their ideas—and proposed dollar amounts—are due to the state by April 4.

Now, like them, let’s imagine the possibilities ...

Inside the old Pullman Yard furnace building, where trees have begun to take over.
The forlorn laundry building at Pullman Yard is at the front of the property.
The engine simulator is still inside Pullman Yard, albeit a little more decorated than its original state.
One of Pullman Yard’s crumbling former offices.
Inside a former restroom.
A pigeon shoots from a busted A/C unit.
Train cars were moved between buildings by this piece of heavy machinery at Pullman Yard.
An open doorway leading to the property’s forest, another important component of the site being watched by preservationists.
A toppled children’s basketball hoop outside one of the ancillary buildings on site.