Atlanta board approves tax incentives for Pullman Yard, Spoke projects

A rendering provided by Atomic Entertainment of the planned redevelopment of the Pratt-Pullman Yard east of downtown Atlanta. The company plans to transform the aging and historic rail depot structures into a soundstage for film and television projects, restaurants, retail, a luxury hotel and performing arts space. Residential is planned for the second phase.

The board of the city of Atlanta’s economic development agency on Thursday approved tax breaks for two projects east of downtown that proponents say will help transform surrounding neighborhoods.

The Invest Atlanta board approved a nearly $6 million tax break for the redevelopment of the historic Pratt-Pullman Yard into a creative arts campus. The board also approved a nearly $2.1 million tax break for Spoke, a transit-oriented development at the Edgewood/Candler Park MARTA station

The $125 million Pullman Yard project by Atomic Entertainment proposes converting the historic rail yard buildings into office, retail, restaurant and performing arts spaces, as well as a film and television soundstage. Atomic also plans a luxury hotel on the site.

The company plans to open the first phase of development in 2020.

Atomic acquired the 27-acre site south of DeKalb Avenue in Kirkwood from the state of Georgia last year. Developers plan residences in a later phase.

Each of the 13 historic buildings will be retained and unique architectural element will be incorporated into the project, said Adam Rosenfelt, a partner at Atomic.

“Rather than the traditional big box, we’re using the creative arts as our sort of anchor tenants, so to speak,” Rosenfelt said.

An Invest Atlanta analysis said the project will create about 260 jobs with an average wage of about $65,000.

The incentive for the Spoke project at the Edgewood-Candler Park MARTA station will help subsidize new affordable housing units.

Developer Columbia Ventures broke ground on Spoke in August 2016. The project is on former parking lots at the station under a lease with MARTA. Columbia plans 224 apartments, retail, restaurants, a park and performing arts center.

The developer initially committed to reserving 10 percent of the apartments for renters making 80 percent of the area median income or AMI. The AMI for metro Atlanta was about $64,400 in 2014.

Columbia has since agreed to reserve 15 percent of the units, or 34, as affordable, to meet new Invest Atlanta requirements for its tax incentives. Atlanta, like many growing cities, has seen a crunch in affordable housing.

Board member Bill Bozarth said MARTA requires transit-oriented development to reserve 20 percent of units as affordable, but leaves getting to that goal up to developers. Tax incentives such as Invest Atlanta’s are one mechanism to get there, he said.

Bozarth said the project’s second phase will have a greater percentage of affordable units to meet the overall 20 percent goal.

Kirkwood’s Pullman Yard on Rogers Street was built in 1904 to produce agricultural machinery and was a thriving industry. The historic rail yards are set for redevelopment into a creative arts community. (Jenni Girtman / Atlanta Event Photography)

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