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Pullman Yard environmental cleanup to begin June 6

Kirkwood Metro ATL

Pullman Yard environmental cleanup to begin June 6

The Pullman Yard in Kirkwood. Photo by Dan Whisenhunt
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By Sara Amis, contributor 

Atlanta, GA — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced May 28 that it is adding $300,000 to the City of Atlanta’s revolving loan fund which will be used to finance cleanup of the Pratt-Pullman Yard at 225 Rogers Street in the Kirkwood neighborhood of Atlanta.

The 27-acre Pratt-Pullman Yard site was used as a munitions factory in World War I, and later to make Pullman sleeper cars.  The site was bought by developer Atomic Entertainment in 2017, and has been used as a film location for movies such as “The Hunger Games” and “Baby Driver” and for the television show “MacGyver.”

Atomic Entertainment ultimately plans to turn it into a multi-use development with a focus on the film and television industry.  Because of previous industrial use, the soil on the site is contaminated with heavy metals and the buildings with lead-based paint and asbestos, all of which must be removed before renovation can begin.

“Through the City of Atlanta and DeKalb County’s revolving loan fund, the Pullman Yard has received over $1.7 million through the EPA’s Brownfields Program,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler.

The Brownfields Program provides both grant funding and technical assistance to communities seeking to assess, clean up, and reuse previously contaminated sites.

“We in Region 4, we in the Southeast, lead the nation when it comes to cleaning up contaminated land and returning it to productive use, and Georgia is a huge part of our success,” EPA Region 4 administrator Mary Walker said. “Since the creation of the Brownfields Program, we have awarded over $19 million in brownfields grants to Georgia communities. That has leveraged over $1.2 billion in redevelopment dollars and over 7,400 jobs have been created through these grants.”

Atomic Entertainment President Maureen Muelen spoke of the site’s connections to Atlanta history: to the railroad, to Coca Cola via Pratt Engineering’s liquid carbonization patent, and to the Civil Rights movement through labor organizer A. Phillip Randolph and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

“There’s a history in Atlanta of tearing down important buildings, and this is one site that deserves to be saved,” Muelen said.

Atomic Entertainment’s development plan includes blocks of lofts, a hotel, restaurants, a coworking space, an outdoor concert venue, and film and television studios.

“All told, about $100 million will be invested to turn what was a great industrial site for the 20th century into a great creative site for the 21st century,” EPA Administrator Wheeler said.

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, who attended the event, said, “We are taking what was toxic and turning it into progress.”

“Not just this dirt, but the politics,” Thurmond said.  “This project represents the very best of what public service is all about.  It is a partnership that encompasses federal, state, county, and city, as well as private investment that will transform and is transforming a site that has been contaminated and abandoned.”

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