What is a Brownfield?
A brownfield is a real property whose expansion, redevelopment, or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant, or contaminant. Examples include former industrial sites, gas stations, dry cleaning establishments, and manufacturing plants. Brownfields impact our environment, health and economics but also impede our social growth as an inter-woven community. The Pullman Yard site exhibits these characteristics, and has been the subject of much speculation over the last decade
The EPA Brownfield Program
Since its inception in 1995, the EPA Brownfields Program has grown into a proven, results-oriented program that has changed the way contaminated property is perceived, addressed, and managed. The program is designed to empower states, communities, and other stakeholders in economic redevelopment to work together in a timely manner to prevent, assess, safely clean up, and sustainably reuse brownfields.
Brownfield grants serve as the foundation of the EPA Brownfields Program. These grants support revitalization efforts by funding environmental assessment, cleanup, and job training activities. One such grant is the EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) Grant.
RLF Grants provide funding for a grant recipient to capitalize a revolving loan fund and to provide sub-awards to carry out cleanup activities at brownfield sites. Through these grants, EPA strengthens the marketplace and encourages stakeholders to leverage resources to clean up and redevelop brownfields. When loans are repaid, the loan amount is returned into the fund and re-lent to other borrowers, providing an ongoing source of capital within a community.
Decide DeKalb Revolving Loan Fund Program BF-95498312
DeKalb County received a US EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant that will be used to assess industrial contamination throughout the county to enhance human health, the environment, and the economic vitality of this area. The County through an Intergovernmental Agreement transferred programmatic and administration responsibilities for implementation of the RLF grant to Decide DeKalb Development Authority.
Brownfield redevelopment offers significant advantages to the communities within the project area and DeKalb County as a whole. From an environmental and health perspective, Brownfield redevelopment improves air and water quality and helps eliminate the negative impacts of sprawl. On the economic and community development side, Brownfield redevelopment allows neighborhoods to become revitalized, new investments to be leveraged, additional employment opportunities and a sense of community to be restored. Fiscally, Brownfield redevelopment generates additional revenue from areas that were once considered blighted.
Community Involvement in RLF Cleanup Activities
Community involvement is an essential component to the Decide DeKalb Brownfield RLF Program. All loans and sub-grant awards require a site-specific community relations plan that includes providing reasonable notice and the opportunity for public involvement and comment on the proposed cleanup options. Community involvement activities must be initiated prior to the cleanup of a site.
The following components will be utilized to ensure community stakeholders have the opportunity to be involved in the success of this program:
- Update on program status at the bimonthly Decide DeKalb meetings (open to the public).
- The community will have access to documentation through the Project Spokesperson. Contact information will be posted on the Decide DeKalb website.
- A link on the Decide DeKalb website has been developed for additional information about the Brownfields Program activities as well as meetings and announcements. Program meeting
Additionally, Decide DeKalb along with its sub-loan awardees and sub-grantees may host community meetings as necessary to update the public on specific projects, such as the Pullman Yard site.
Pullman Yard Brownfields Cleanup Revolving Loan Fund Application
Atomic Entertainment, LLC and Atomic Entertainment Development, LLC (“Atomic”) submitted a RLF loan application to Decide DeKalb for remediation of buildings located at their site in anticipation of the redevelopment of the former Pullman Yard. Loan funds will be used to abate hazardous materials in the existing buildings as part of the site’s redevelopment. The estimated abatement cost for asbestos containing materials (ACM) and lead-based paint (LBP) is over $1 million. Below are details about the loan applicant, the site and proposed redevelopment.
Project Location: The 27-acre site located at 225 Rogers Street NE, Atlanta, GA, in the Kirkwood neighborhood (See Figure 1). This was the site of an active manufacturing facility starting in 1904. From the 1920s to the 1950s, Pullman Rail Car Company operated a repair and storage yard at the site. By late 1980s and early 1990s, the site was severely underused. The State of Georgia acquired the site and for the last 30 years it has been inactive. Figure 1 - Map of Pullman Yard vicinity
In 2017, Atomic purchased the site, including the historically significant industrial buildings, associated small structures, and paved areas through a public bid.
Proposed Project: The BCRLF applicant is the current property owner and intends to develop the property for a mixed‐used entertainment and arts district. Atomic proposes to remediate and redevelop the site in phases.
The first phase of redevelopment focuses on remediating and redeveloping existing buildings for commercial uses such as film production, office, and mixed income residential. Other areas of Figure 2 -Aerial of Approximate Property Boundary
the property are proposed to be redeveloped into entertainment, wellness facilities, dining, and open spaces.
A Prospective Purchaser Corrective Action Plan (PPCAP) was approved by Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) on May 12, 2017. Phase I ESAs as well as Phase II ESAs were discussed and/or included within the PPCAP. An amendment to the PPCAP was subsequently submitted to and approved by EPD in April 2018. The following abatement activities are part of the amended and approved PPCAP:
- Lead contamination has been identified in sections of the site. Soil excavation will be conducted in these areas to remove the contamination. In places where deeper excavation is required, then additional clean soil will be brought it and compacted into these removal areas.
- In some areas, arsenic and lead has been identified, which requires soil removal. A barrier of identifying geotextile will then be placed under a layer of clean soil in these areas of the site.
- A retaining wall is proposed to be installed along the heavily sloped area of the excavation site. A chain link fence will enclose this section, which will limit exposure to residual contamination.
Community Involvement Activities
Public Notices and Meetings -Community Meetings: Information about the Pullman Yard project was presented at a community meeting on May 21, 2019 in the Kirkwood neighborhood (see meeting announcement below). At this meeting, the public was provided an opportunity to learn and ask questions about the loan process as well as the cleanup and redevelopment schedule. Representatives from Cardno, Decide DeKalb’s environmental consultant, and from Atomic Entertainment discussed the Brownfield redevelopment of Pullman Yard.
Decide DeKalb Board Meetings: These meetings are open to public and are advertised on this website.
Website: Information about this project will be posted on this website at https://www.decidedekalb.com/what-we-do/real-estate-development.stml and on the Decide DeKalb's Facebook and Twitter.
Information Repository: Decide DeKalb has established a repository for its EPA Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund, which includes information for the Atomic Entertainment/Pullman Yard RLF project. The repository includes documents demonstrating the basis for the cleanup and its progress such as ESA reports; the GA EPD approved PPCAP; US EPA documents including a Work Plan, Analysis of Brownfield Cleanup Alternatives (ABCA), and Quality Assurance Project Plan (QAPP). The information repository will be available for review Monday through Friday, excluding holidays from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Decide DeKalb offices at Two Decatur Town Center, 125 Clairemont Avenue, Suite 150, Decatur, GA 30030.
Points of Contact: To obtain information via email, to schedule an appointment to review documents or to submit comments or questions about this project, please submit the online form at this site.