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Looking for a good balance for a place to live/ urban and suburban.

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Within the next 24 months, my family and I are planning to relocate to the triangle area to get away from the Michigan winters.  Right now, we live a fairly urban lifestyle where we can walk to restaurants, events, and even some very limited shopping. However we find that our 3 little kids don’t have many playmates nearby and most of the homes around us are not owner occupied, or even single family homes for that matter. And while the schools are getting better in our area, we have not been nearly as impressed with the City schools as those outside in the suburbs.

 

As crazy as this may sound, I am looking for the best of downtown urban living and quiet family oriented suburban living. We like the large lots, larger homes (4 to 5 bedrooms), and primarily single family owner occupied with other kids in close proximity character of the suburbs and great schools. But we also want the pedestrian access to restaurants, entertainment, and events that are commonly found in an urban area.

 

At a recent development seminar, it seems that there is an either/or mentality based on particular age groups. Most of the up and coming urban areas appear to be geared towards young professionals or retiring baby boomers, but not families with children. On the other hand, the presenter said that suburban areas are focused on auto oriented housing for families, with no amenities within walking distance. Are there places that offer the best of both worlds in the Triangle Area?  

I am looking for suggestions, links, and information on areas and communities that I might want to check out. 

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Welcome to the forum.

 

I've moved your post to the "coffee house" forum since this sort of discussion isn't really the main point of Urban Planet.

 

You can probably have all of the above to a degree but there will always be compromises. Being near activiity always means more traffic/noise, or more expense, or smaller lots for example. But for a starting point, I would suggest looking in the neighborhoods immediately surrounding Cameron Village and North Hills. They're very different, homes near Cameron Village were mostly built in the 1920s and can be quite pricey; North Hills has homes mostly from the 1960s and is somewhat less pricey, but you won't get new construction (short of a tear down) and in neither case will you get as many square feet or bedroomsper dollar as you would way out in the far reaches of Apex, for example.

 

Plus, while these neighborhoods have some children, they are very established neighborhoods, so many (most?) homes are occupied by long-time residents whose children have long since grown up and moved out.

 

So, if your top priority is want to be surrounded by lots of families with young kids, you have little choice but to find a brand new tract development in Apex or West Cary. Most young families seem to want new construction these days, plus the sheer fact that hundreds of homes get built in a matter of years means a lot of growing families wind up getting concentrated together. But most newer developments have smaller lots, plus you'll have a very hard time finding any such thing in walking distance to anything at all other than a HOA clubhouse and maybe a strip mall.

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The first sentence of your second paragraph immediately made me think of the (new) Pilot Mill neighborhood and also the nearby (old) Mordecai and Oakwood neighborhoods. 

Raleigh was so small when mixed use urban grids were the norm that we have little of what is typical in northern cities but these areas sort of sandwich the north Person Street corner of downtown.  The homes are of course more expensive because the area is desirable and finite but there are both new and 150 year old homes as well as new townhomes being built at the corner of Peace and Person (by a solid developer) which may or may not suit you. 

Note that on a google street view there is an interchange that separates this area from the larger densifying area around  downtown Glenwood Avenue (this is also the same Glenwood Avenue that goes way out past a large mall and the 'burbs eventually) which is more of a night life (young singles you mentioned) area.

 

Downtown Raleigh is geographically small and shopping, while even with a half dozen new additions, remains decentralized and  minimal. 

 

BUT,  we need more and more people moving here who want the same things you have mentioned and  with literally  thousands of apartments planned or under construction downtown, the amenities currently lacking are sure to pop up. 

 

There is not a webpage for north Person Street but I would advise checking out Seaboard Station for shopping, Pie Bird and Market restaurants for "neighborhood" places, Raleigh City Farm,  and doing some street viewing of north Bloodworth, north East streets, the whole area between Wake Forest Road and Peace College and the Pilot Mill area. I have these links right off the top of my head. 

http://www.pilotmillonline.com/

http://www.historicoakwood.org/

http://www.mordecai.org/

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Shops-at-Seaboard-Station/183683469880

 

Also keep in mind the Cameron Village area is a nationally recognized boutique shopping center and is about a two mile drive (or walk!) down Peace/Clark avenue. That area is also very pleasant and leafy and a quirky mix of uber wealthy folks and students living within the same blocks. In general I think most people  find a lot to like about  areas inside the beltline (I-440) north of the Hillsborough Street/New Bern Avenue axis. 

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Thank you both for the response. It is exactly this type of feedback that I am looking for. I much rather do my homework now and have a plan on where we are going to live when we move down there, then be in a hurry to find something at the last minute. 

 

As it is, my wife has agreed that she rather rent for a year or two in a good location while waiting for the right house to come on the market, then to buy in the wrong location. 

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The Five Points area has tons of young families with kids and some really great neighborhood parks.  But this area is not quite the urban area that you might desire (only a handful of things to walk to).

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