An intown homebuilder with active development sites and finished communities across Atlanta is preparing to start its third major project on Memorial Drive.

Officials with Empire Communities tell Urbanize Atlanta they’ve recently closed on the former Stanton Grove Baptist Church and adjacent properties at 2011 and 2015 Memorial Drive, totaling about 3 and ½ acres.

Empire’s plans call for breaking ground in the next couple of weeks on 81 townhomes following demolition of existing structures, adding to a stock of hundreds of new townhomes in the pipeline now or recently developed along the Memorial Drive corridor.

A yellow farmhouse near the front of the property, facing Memorial Drive, will be retained, according to developers.

Two residential structures with the former church tucked behind, as seen in December 2021. The yellow farmhouse will remain standing, according to developers. Google Maps

Situated where Kirkwood meets the Parkview neighborhood, the deep site will be home to two and three-bedroom townhomes, but few other details are known at this point. It’s too early in the development process for renderings, building timelines, or pricing to be released, project leaders said.

Empire also developed the rainbow-hued Paintbox community directly across the street.

The acreage in question was annexed into the City of Atlanta in 2021, and the property was later rezoned to the same designation (MR-3) that applied to the Paintbox project, which also replaced a church.

The 2011 and 2015 Memorial Drive location, east of downtown, where Kirkwood meets the Parkview neighborhood. Google Maps

Empire officials said this week they participated in more than seven meetings, collaborated with Kirkwood Neighbors Organization, and worked with adjacent property owners before applying for the rezoning.

KNO leadership previously told Urbanize Atlanta the neighborhood governing board stressed to Empire the Memorial Drive venture should be both walkable and safe for cyclists, environmentally sustainable with shade, greenspace, and native plantings, and respectful of neighboring tree canopies and connections to the broader community.

Overview of the property along Memorial Drive, looking south. The 62-unit The Moderns townhome project is shown at left while under construction. Google Maps

Signage at the Memorial Drive site also indicates custom homebuilders Home + Made are moving forward with a residential project on an adjacent property near the street. Company leaders have not responded to inquiries seeking more information on what those plans entail.

Elsewhere along Memorial Drive, Empire previously developed a single-family home community called Bixton across the street from Drew Charter School.

Empire’s latest eastside endeavor continues the trend of church congregations around Atlanta selling off land and former sanctuaries as property values skyrocket—and as housing supply remains tight.

Along with Paintbox’s former church land, examples include two more houses of worship a few blocks east on Memorial that were razed for dense standalone homes. Both of those projects are under construction now.

Half a dozen blocks in the other direction, to the west, Urban Realty Partners is underway with vertical construction on more than 100 townhomes along Clifton Street, a route toward East Atlanta. That project is replacing the former Gospel Tabernacle Cathedral, which had been damaged by fire and vacant for years.


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