Thursday, June 26, 2008

GBA rejects bids on Kirkwood rail yards site

The Georgia Building Authority put the Pullman railyards in Kirkwood up for bid to developers, but none of the offers came in remotely close to what the GBA thought the property was worth. GBA appraised the land at $12-$14 million, and the two highest bids came in at $3.25 and $3.7 million. Um... that's not even in the same ball park. What the heck happened?

A reader informed me a week or so ago that the conditions of the RFP were stringent, although not that unusual or outrageous. When you combine them with a site that has known environmental issues (offered as-is), these terms might have:
  • prevented interested parties from submitting a bid; and
  • ensured that bids were low
Without getting a look at the actual RFP, I don't want to get into the details of the terms, so this is mostly speculatin on my part. Take it FWIW, although the rest of the info I was passed on turned out to be accurate. In any event, the environmental conditions DID seem to play a factor here:
The state has cleaned up the site, but there is some question as to the extent
of any environmental problems. One potential bidder, Roswell-based The Columns
Group, declined to bid but circulated a letter in which the company said it
found the site to be "significantly contaminated" with metals including lead,
barium and mercury.

I know lots of neighborhood folks are concerned that the historic structures on the site will be demolished. It appears that the state was interested in saving them, although this would also have made development on the property harder:
But several factors could impact development, including the state's requirement
that four buildings considered to have the most historic value be preserved.

What happens now? A CL article on the site from last year suggested that GA Power was interested in the site. My guess is that they would have figured out a way to get the site from the state if they really wanted it. GA Power usually gets their way with this sort of stuff. So I wouldn't be too concerned about ending up with a power station there. Let's hope I'm not wrong.

Keep the info coming folks! Thanks a ton to reader MH.


  1. Actually, Georgia Power already bought a small section of the site in December 2007, and has been underway building a power substation there for some time. Fortunately, it will be rather small and hidden by trees, and they agreed to extend a portion of the PATH as part of the deal.

    Details are available here.

  2. Thanks! Great to know - this is why I love blogs.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.