A rising townhome community in Kirkwood with a distinctive—if not unmissable—color scheme is continuing the billion-dollar explosion of development along Memorial Drive between downtown and East Lake.

Called Empire Paintbox, the 66-unit project is among the largest infill townhome ventures on the eastside. It’s rising on the site of a former church and offering both sizes and price points developers say are relatively modest.

Less under-the-radar is the selection of more than a dozen colors—“Youthful Coral,” “Grandeur Plum,” and “Heartthrob” red among them—that could be intown’s most unabashedly vibrant exteriors since the Scandinavian leanings of M West townhomes on Ellsworth Industrial Boulevard a decade and a half ago.

“We wanted to give a strong visual identity to the community while still offering attainable new construction prices, [and] we gravitated towards the bold colors we saw in the local Kirkwood neighborhood,” says Saba Loghman, Empire Communities’ director of acquisitions. “The community is by no means revolutionary, but it does offer something a little different that gives pride of place for those seeking homeownership."

Situated about three blocks from downtown Kirkwood, the two-and-three bedroom units range between 1,060 and 1,400 square feet. Loghman says about 30 percent of Paintbox homes have sold in the low to mid-$300,000s.

Remaining units are priced between $348,000 and $360,000. All span three stories with one or two-car garage spaces at ground level. Per developers, five public parks are within walking distance.

Empire (formerly EA Homes) has shifted focus in recent years from strictly suburban development to urban infill projects across town, with another townhome venture, East Lake’s Bixton, recently finished and sold out a few blocks to the east, near Drew Charter School.  

For Paintbox, the company bought two parcels along Memorial that included a large vacant piece of land and 2012 Memorial Drive, the former home of Shy Temple CME Church.

That congregation opted to relocate to a facility on Wesley Chapel Road in Decatur, continuing the intown trend of church properties being sold and converted to mixed or residential uses.

The Paintbox site is directly across Memorial Drive from another large townhome venture, Cablik Enterprises’ 62-unit The Moderns, where current listings start in the $330,000s. That price gets a slim stack of about 1,500 square feet. 

An October 2019 report by real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield called the formerly desolate Memorial Drive corridor a "new boomtown," in that 1,200 multifamily units and more than 180,000 square feet of retail space had materialized in about four years. 

At the time, according to Cushman & Wakefield's findings, another $1.5 billion worth of development was still forthcoming in Memorial Drive's pipeline. 

Kirkwood (Urbanize Atlanta)