Pratt-Pullman Yard in Kirkwood (Photos courtesy Atlanta City Council Communications Office)

A notice of intent has been issued to nominate the Pratt-Pullman Yard in Kirkwood as a landmark site due to its historic, cultural and architectural significance. The nearly 26-acre site was recently sold by the state for $8 million to Atomic Entertainment, which plans to create a mixed-use development with a focus on filmmaking.

According to a statement from Councilmember Natalyn Archibong’s office, Atlanta Urban Design Commissioner Executive Director Doug Young initiated the nomination and designation process on June 20 for the property located at 225 Rogers Street, N.E.

A public hearing on the landmark designation is scheduled for 4 p.m. on Wednesday, July 12, before the Atlanta Urban Design Commission to discuss the Pratt-Pullman Yard nomination for historic building and site status. The public hearing will take place in the Council Chamber at Atlanta City Hall.

If the commission decides to nominate the property for designation as a landmark site then the measure will go through the city’s regular procedure for all zoning papers. This includes another public hearing before the Zoning Review Board. It must also receive a recommendation from the Zoning Committee and final designation action from the Atlanta City Council.

The protection will continue for a maximum of 180 days from the date of the notice of intent. During this period no alterations, renovations, additions, new construction, demolition or site work of any kind is permitted on the property unless approved by the Office of Design’s Historic Preservation staff.

Commissioner Tim Keane of the Department of City Planning said he has spoken with Atomic Entertainment and said the new owners will be involved in the preservation process.

“I have spoken with the owner and Atlanta is lucky to have them involved,” Keane said. “We expect a very positive collaboration with them to protect the historic buildings and the unique qualities of the site as they implement their plan for development.”

“This is a giant leap forward in our quest to preserve such a unique piece of our city’s history,” said Archibong, who represents this historic Kirkwood neighborhood. “I am pleased that a process is underway to allow for the preservation of the buildings at the Pratt-Pullman Yard. Some of the buildings on this property are more than 100 years old and today serve as a testament to Atlanta’s railroading history and to contributions made by African-American workers.”

A historic image of the Pullman Yard in its heyday.

In 1904, the site began as the home of Pratt Engineering and Machine Company, a parts manufacturer for sugar and fertilizer processing plants. In 1917, the property manufactured munitions used by soldiers in World War I.

In 1922, Chicago-based Pullman Company purchased the property and turned it into a rail car repair station. It was during a time when the site was a major employer in Atlanta. In a segregated South, Pullman’s Atlanta shop manager began recruiting black workers from local porters and car cleaners. The company became one of the largest employers of African-Americans in the country.

The Pratt-Pullman Yard is comprised of 100,000 square feet of historic buildings and sits on 25.88 acres. Atomic Entertainment wants to create studio space for young filmmakers and also provide an affordable housing, retail restaurants and office space.

This story is developing. Please check back for more details. 

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.