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EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler Wraps up Atlanta Swing at Pullman Yard Brownfields Site

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ATLANTA (May 28, 2020) — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler concluded his trip to Atlanta at the Pullman Yard Atomic Entertainment Site. Formerly a manufacturing and repair operation of railroad “sleeper cars,” the site is being redeveloped thanks in part to the investment from EPA’s Brownfields program. This development will generate 500 jobs and redevelop 27 acres of close-in industrial blight near schools, homes, and neighborhoods.

Administrator Wheeler toured the site and delivered remarks, where he announced an additional $300,000 in Brownfields funding to the City of Atlanta Revolving Loan Fund (RLF).

“EPA Brownfields programs have awarded more than $1.6 billion since 1995 to clean up areas of industrial blight and turn them into new job-producing commercial properties,” said EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We’re seeing this great trend continue in Atlanta at Pullman Yard, where Atomic Entertainment is using the Brownfields program to transform a great industrial site from its 20th Century use – overnight railcars – to a great 21st Century use -- digital filmmaking.”

“EPA is proud of our Brownfield investments in the City of Atlanta and Dekalb County,” said EPA Region 4 Administrator Mary S. Walker. “Working with an impressive network of partners ranging from federal and state agencies to local businesses, they have put in place an ambitious schedule to clean up the iconic Pullman Yard and return it to productive use – creating jobs and strengthening the local economy.”

“The state of Georgia has spent many years managing environmental issues at the Pullman Yard property leading to its acceptance into the Georgia Brownfield Program in 2017,” said Richard Dunn, Director of the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD).  “Through cooperation among all levels of government and the private sector, this site is being cleaned up and repurposed, creating economic benefit for Georgia.”

“The Brownfields Revolving Loan Fund Grant provided by the EPA is kickstarting the transformational investment in the Pratt Pullman District,” said Dorian DeBarr, Interim President of Decide DeKalb. “I’m thankful to the EPA for their commitment to cleaning up brownfields throughout DeKalb County and I look forward to working with their team to build stronger neighborhoods.”

“The EPA’s continued support of brownfield development in Atlanta has helped to turn some environmentally sensitive areas into economic assets benefiting their surrounding communities,” said Dr. Eloisa Klementich, President and CEO of Invest Atlanta. “Pullman Yard is a unique development for the Eastside, with the potential to create a new economic center and job creation node on a historic site near transit. Once complete, the project is estimated to make a $180 million economic impact for the city.”

“Pullman Yard is a unique site in Atlanta with significant, historic buildings that have long sat dormant. It’s a huge challenge to save and remake them,” said Commissioner Tim Keane, City of Atlanta Department of City Planning. “Atlanta is grateful to Atomic Entertainment for taking this on in a preservation minded way and to the EPA for facilitating the revival through this grant.”  

Background on Pullman Yard Site:

Formerly Pullman Yard Manufacturing, which manufactured “sleeper cars” in the early 1900s, the site has been utilized as a backdrop for Hollywood productions including Hunger Games, Fast and Furious, Baby Driver, Mac Guyver, The Resident and Bad Boys III.

Atomic Entertainment purchased the site in April 2017 and entered the Georgia Brownfields Program. Site investigations indicated historic industrial operations left heavy metals in site soils, and buildings contaminated with lead-based paint and asbestos. Plans for the soils are addressed in the Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD) Corrective Action Plan, and building cleanup is addressed in an EPA-approved Brownfields cleanup plan. Atomic Entertainment has worked directly with EPA since April 2017 to complete sampling around the site.

EPA has recently awarded $1,750,000 to Atomic Entertainment to address contaminated soils, lead-based paint and asbestos in the historic buildings. City of Atlanta and DeKalb County Brownfields Revolving Loan Funds make up this award: $950,000 from City of Atlanta (awarded April 15, 2020) for building cleanup and $800,000 from DeKalb County (awarded March 31) for soil cleanup. The site soils cleanup is being monitored by the GA EPD Voluntary Brownfields Program. Cleanup will begin in June 2020 and site filming activities have already begun. National Park Service is also a partner in this project. This is a creative and productive partnership that involves all levels of government and the private sector, which will result in the site being cleaned up within the next 12 months.