Atlanta may designate Pullman Yard an historic site to regulate any redevelopment
By David Pendered
Atlanta is taking steps to protect the historic integrity of a property best known as Pullman Yard. It’s a collection of 11 commercial buildings located on the largest single tract of land in the rapidly redeveloping Kirkwood neighborhood, east of Little Five Points.
There’s no indication the 26.8-acre site is currently in play.
The state owns the property. It’s a rectangle of land at 225 Rogers St. that abuts the east side of Rogers Street and, to the north, abuts the CSX tracks that flank DeKalb Avenue. DeKalb County’s tax commissioner has set its value at $7.4 million.
The site is not listed as being for sale by the State Properties Commission, which buys and sells land on behalf of Georgia. The property was not discussed at the only meeting of the SPC board held this year, on June 23, according to minutes of the meeting.
The property has been out of use since the state closed in 1993 an oil-fired steam-engine excursion train it had housed there. Georgia ran the sightseeing train for seven years, before ending it to save money during the recession of the early 1990s.
The site has been the subject of several redevelopment efforts since the state bought it in 1990 for almost $1.7 million, according to DeKalb County tax records.
The latest effort unfolded in 2015, when a group floated plans to build indoor and outdoor sports facilities, according to a report in atlanta.curbed.com.
Now, the Atlanta Urban Design Commission is considering a proposal to designate the buildings and the entire site as a Landmark Building/Site. The proposed name is the Pratt-Pullman Building Landmark Building/Site.
Such a designation would not preclude redevelopment, according to the relevant Atlanta municipal code. The designation would create a number of administrative hurdles that a redevelopment plan would have to overcome.
For example, if an owner wants to demolish a building and the UDC thinks it should be preserved, the UDC could recommend to the mayor that the city buy the property or acquire it through eminent domain. The recommendation is not binding on the mayor, according to the city code.
Further, the owner can appeal any ruling by the UDC to Fulton County Superior Court, according to the city code. An applicant could appeal a ruling from this court to a higher court.
In the case of the Pullman Yard, the nomination for landmark status was initiated by Doug Young, the UDC’s executive director. Young did not return a phone call Monday.
The UDC is slated to consider the nomination at its meeting Nov. 21. The UDC originally was scheduled to consider the case at its Nov. 9 meeting. At that time, the staff recommended the commission defer the case to Nov. 21.
The UDC staff has yet to post its recommendation on the nomination.
In many cases, by this point in time the staff would have provided its analysis of a proposal to build on or alter a site. The analysis would list relevant city codes, advise of comments from neighbors, analyze the information, and recommend the application be approved, denied, or deferred to allow further negotiations.
DeKalb’s tax records show the property has 11 commercial buildings. Ten are warehouses and one is an office building. Here are the details:
- Warehouse; 1915; 1,769 square feet; concrete block; quality grade is average plus.
- Warehouse; 1915; 1,312 square feet; concrete block and brick; quality grade is average plus.
- Warehouse; 1915; 13,786 square feet; concrete block and brick; quality grade is average plus.
- Warehouse; 1915; 70,656 square feet; concrete block and brick; quality grade is poor.
- Warehouse; 1915; 19,936 square feet; concrete block and brick; quality grade is poor.
- Warehouse; 1964; 7,800 square feet; concrete block and brick; quality grade is poor.
- Office building; 1964; 2,400 square feet; concrete block and brick; quality grade is poor.
- Warehouse; 1966; 19,760 square feet; metal, light; quality grade is poor.
- Warehouse; 1966; 4,800 square feet; metal, light; quality grade is poor.
- Warehouse; 1969; 9,400 square feet; metal, light; quality grade is poor.
- Warehouse; 1981; 4,940 square feet; metal, light; quality grade is poor.