The Downtown Development Authority of the City of Decatur (DDA) announced they have entered a $1.385 million sales agreement of the old train depot at 303 East Howard Avenue to Kimball House restaurant and bar.
The funds from the sale of the property will be reinvested in Downtown Decatur following the new master plan being commissioned by the City and the DDA.
“The mission of the DDA is to spur economic development in Downtown Decatur, and at the time the DDA acquired the property eleven years ago, the Old Depot District was relatively barren,” said Conor McNally, Decatur DDA Chair in a press release “Thanks largely to the success of Kimball House as an anchor tenant, the area has seen tremendous growth from the private sector, featuring numerous retail tenants and residential developments that prove it is ready to stand on its own.”
Located at the intersection of East Howard Avenue and East Trinity Place, Kimball House is an acclaimed restaurant known for its southern take on cocktails, steaks and seafood. It was named a James Beard Award semifinalist in 2019 and just celebrated its ninth anniversary in September.
“In our near decade serving this community, we have developed a deep love and appreciation for Downtown Decatur and are passionate about contributing to its success and culture,” said Bryan Rackley, co-owner of Kimball House, said in a statement. “With over $750,000 already invested in maintaining and revitalizing the space during our time as tenants, we are even more committed to the preservation of this living landmark as its new owners.”
Originally constructed as a railroad station in 1891, the building is one of the last historic depots in Metro Atlanta and is protected by a local historic preservation ordinance, which requires that any changes to the exterior must be approved by the local Historic Preservation Commission. From an economic development standpoint, the DDA initially saw the potential of the space as a restaurant.
Considering its importance to both the economy and cultural history, the property was originally acquired from CSX railroad in 2001 to prevent its demolition due to neglect. That sale included an unusual provision: the depot building had to be relocated approximately 30 feet north, out of the railroad right-of-way. A local non-profit, Decatur Historic Preservation Alliance, now disbanded, was initially founded to help save the depot building and assisted with fundraising efforts to help move the structure and stabilize it.
Learn more about Kimball House at Kimball-House.com, and for more information on the city and the DDA, please visit DecaturGA.com.