A Toronto-based developer with residential developments dotted across the rapidly changing intown landscape is gearing up to open its first rental townhome community in Atlanta.

Like for-sale townhomes in Bankhead now fetching more than $800,000, the rents for these new units in the Pittsburgh community could carry a sticker shock, but they reflect the trajectory of what non-multifamily living options are renting for in Southwest Atlanta these days.   

Now titled Empire Metro, the townhome project is finishing construction at the southeast corner of Metropolitan Parkway and Shelton Avenue. The site is diagonal from The Met—the 1.1-million-square-foot, historic Adair Park warehouse complex where developer Carter poured millions into renovations in recent years—about midway between downtown and the BeltLine’s Westside Trail.

The project's 776 Metropolitan Parkway SW location, in red, shown prior to the beginning of construction. Google Maps

It’s a project by Empire Rental Living, the rental housing division of active Atlanta developer Empire Communities, whose reps told Urbanize Atlanta last year the Pittsburgh project will see about 100 three-story townhomes total.

Empire Metro’s location is meant to provide renters with access to the BeltLine, Atlanta airport, MARTA, downtown arenas, Pittsburgh Yards, and major interstates, plus surrounding neighborhoods from Adair Park to Castleberry Hill and Summerhill, according to an Empire press release this week. It’s “designed for those who want the perks of renting a home without sacrificing their love for the urban area,” in a section of Atlanta “that’s rapidly emerging as a place of culture and innovation,” per the developer.

Empire Metro townhomes listed for pre-leasing range from two-bedrooms with 1,048 square feet (starting rents: $2,475 monthly) to three-bedrooms with 1,362 square feet (between $2,700 and $2,900 monthly).

Each townhome includes a covered terrace, garage, stainless steel appliances, and smart-home tech including Google Fiber internet, Ring doorbells, leak sensors, and keyless entry locks, according to Empire.

Empire Metro's smallest and least expensive floorplan available for pre-leasing. Empire Communities

Those aren’t the priciest rental options on the Pittsburgh market at the moment, with two standalone houses attempting to fetch more. One includes four bedrooms in 1,900 square feet ($3,850 monthly), and the other three bedrooms in 1,400 square feet ($3,000).

In the face of rising home prices and interest rates, demand for more flexible rental options is at all-time highs, according to officials with Empire’s North American Rental Division.

Sample living room image provided with Empire Metro pre-leasing materials. Empire Communities

Empire (formerly EA Homes) has shifted focus in recent years from strictly suburban development to urban infill projects across town—including a rainbow-hued townhome build in Kirkwood called Paintbox, where remaining units are listed in the $450,000s—and more than 700 homes planned in three different BeltLine neighborhoods.

Rental listing services indicate Empire Metro will open this fall in Pittsburgh.  

The 4.3-acre townhome site sold for $3.75 million two years ago, according to tax records.

Planned look of Empire Metro interiors, per marketing materials. Empire Communities

Empire’s rental division plans to build more than 5,000 new rental homes and multifamily units in Georgia, Texas, and Ontario, Canada over the next five years.

The company says several more launches for new rental communities are on tap for later in 2022.

In Atlanta's Pittsburgh neighborhood, $400K+ sales are becoming normal (Urbanize Atlanta)