Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

AmericanUrbanDesigner

Condo Shopping Uptown...

Recommended Posts

This is strange topic, I'm certain. I've been shopping for residential in an area within 3 miles of Trade and Tryon...YIKES! Not only is there very little to chose from <175K but whatever is on the market is "under contract" within days.

Does anyone have a sense of what's going on? Is it possible that "urban" Charlotte is this "hot"????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites


It *IS* surprising. I guess I hail from the "old school" that says a SFR should be more expensive than a town house, and a town house should be more expensive than a condo.

For people to be paying 200K+ for condos in Charlotte shows pretty strong demand. (Someone earlier called it "pent up demand" from people who have been wanting urban living for a while.)

I suppose we may see some 100K condos in the Belmont redevelopment, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It *IS* surprising. I guess I hail from the "old school" that says a SFR should be more expensive than a town house, and a town house should be more expensive than a condo.

For people to be paying 200K+ for condos in Charlotte shows pretty strong demand. (Someone earlier called it "pent up demand" from people who have been wanting urban living for a while.)

I suppose we may see some 100K condos in the Belmont redevelopment, though.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I think some of the SFH and condo differentials can be accounted for by single or childless couples not caring if they have a yard or not, and the better schools in nearby Dilworth, Myers Park and Elizabeth. You can get your schools and SFH with a yard a short distance away from Uptown, so that's where that demand is going. Those going Uptown don't have kids (or they'd pay similar prices to be where the goods schools are a short distance away) and don't care about the yard as much and instead want funky contemporary design, skyline views and a low maintenance lifestyle. So, they bid up the condos.

I've been through this selection process myself. I see the nice homes in 4thW and 1stW. However, most of these houses don't have skyline views or the layout to take advantage of them because they're all very traditionally styled. Also, they're older homes and require a lot of loving care and maintenance. So, I went with a condo instead.

However, if I have kids in the future my plan is to migrate out to Elizabeth/Dilworth/Myers Park/Eastover to have the good schools, the yard and the SFH. The homes aren't walking distance to work, but and even with Uptown single family homes I still pretty much have a long (sweaty) walk to work so driving will still need to be an option. Once you're in the car, a 3 minute drive and a 6 minute drive look about the same.

Don't know if that makes sense.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Do we think that the "Garden District" (1st Ward) townhouses and condos will continue to increase in value?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I don't see why not, it is all built out pretty much and there's a height limitation so it is unlikely that a bunch of high vertical towers will put the pinch on them. Also, it has a more neighborhood feel than the towers going up closer to the CBD.

All that being said, if there's a housing bubble and it pops, I think any condo will be vulnerable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i think as the trees mature, garden district will seem even more like a neighborhood. people looking to live uptown will chose between an historic district, a modern lowrise district, or a highrise.

I think lowrise condos will fare the least as they have similar lifestyle tradeoffs as highrises, but do not have the concrete construction, height/view, and amenities.

The townhouses and houses will do well, though, as they have the benefits and feeling of a suburban home with an upstairs and downstairs and a front door opening to the sidewalk, yet have a prime location.

That is all contingent on the following:

- the liveability of the neighborhood doesn't decrease (ie. crime, vandalism, parking spot mooching, etc. does not increase)

- the construction quality doesn't prove to be shoddy

- furman doesn't have some scandal that leads people to dislike him... right now his brand walks on water for quite a few people

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something has always struck me as a fallacy about the "people with kids want a yard" argument.

We have this mental image of kids on bikes or playing sandlot baseball... but frankly, kids spend most of their time indoors watching TV. Or they walk to a neighbor's house and do some other indoor thing. Parents may buy a house "for the kids" ... but I don't think the kids themselves care all that much!

There are better explanations to have a SFR. You just want the separation from your neighbors, or you have a large dog, or need somewhere to park a boat or an RV, or you like to tinker in the garage, or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

in the olden days, kids could play in parks when they didn't have their own yards... but now there is a perception that there are too many creepy people to let kids leave the cage in their backyard.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Something has always struck me as a fallacy about the "people with kids want a yard" argument.

We have this mental image of kids on bikes or playing sandlot baseball... but frankly, kids spend most of their time indoors watching TV. Or they walk to a neighbor's house and do some other indoor thing. Parents may buy a house "for the kids" ... but I don't think the kids themselves care all that much!

There are better explanations to have a SFR. You just want the separation from your neighbors, or you have a large dog, or need somewhere to park a boat or an RV, or you like to tinker in the garage, or something.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

I'm not agreeing with the premise that kids need a yard, in fact I disagree with the premise myself. But, unerringly, it is the reasoning put forth to me most often by people not wanting to live in a condo. Second place is the aforementioned large dog. Good luck trying to change peoples' mind on the kids needing a yard thing. I've tried and tried and had no success, it is too ingrained as a given, if not in both parents mind then at least one of them and in a relationship it takes two decisions to do something unconventional.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Put it this way... it's "for the parents" :P At least during toddler age, the kids can entertain themselves in the back pushing plastic trucks around, inspecting anthills, etc. and give the parents a moment of respite.

I mean, come on... didn't we all grow up and hear our parents say "Why don't you go outside and play?"

The average 1/4 acre lot doesn't have a back or front yard big enough to interest grade school kids. The ones in my neighborhood play tag football in one of the last remaining unimproved lots by the creek... It just seems to take more space to entertain themselves.

When I think about it, that's kinda how it went for me too. I'd go exploring the woods [and drainage pipes / construction sites / abandoned buildings / other places that were supposedly "off limits"] with my friends. We didn't hang around in our parents' yards. <_<

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A long term study performed in Japan compared children raised in the upper floors of condos/apts, vs those who live at ground level, or in houses with yards (and yards are very very small in Japan).

What they found were that children raised in the highrise condos were less physically developed, more likely to be overweight, and less social than children raised in homes with easier access to the outside. They concluded that being in the upper floors of a condo make it less likely that a child would outside and socialize and play with other children. Keep in mind that even in Tokyo multifamily homes rarely exceed 15 floors.

So based on this research, there would seem to be a very valid case for raising a child where there is a yard and easy access to it. I know around here the kids do make good use of the yards based on what I can see from the few houses here that have children.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A long term study performed in Japan compared children raised in the upper floors of condos/apts, vs those who live at ground level, or in houses with yards (and yards are very very small in Japan).   

What they found were that children raised in the highrise condos were less physically developed, more likely to be overweight, and less social than children raised in homes with easier access to the outside.  They concluded that being in the upper floors of a condo make it less likely that a child would outside and socialize and play with other children. Keep in mind that even in Tokyo multifamily homes rarely exceed 15 floors. 

So based on this research, there would seem to be a very valid case for raising a child where there is a yard and easy access to it.  I know around here the kids do make good use of the yards based on what I can see from the few houses here that have children.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Interesting. Too bad they didn't do that study here, our cultures are so different I'm not inclined to say it necessarily would apply to American children.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that is an interesting study.

I wonder if having stairs inside the housing unit is also a factor. That is something i can see for kids raised in flats, that they never must use stairs, which give people a lot of exercise without noticing.

Another factor that seems like it could make a difference is whether the condo/apt tower had a yard. Many highrises are just squeezed into urban places, and they don't have the pool and courtyard amenities like many of the projects planned for uptown. It would be the difference of living in, say, Ivey's, where the nearest open space is 4th ward park a couple blocks away, vs. Trademark which has its "yard" on the parking deck, with a pool and grassy area.

I lived in a highrise when i was in high school, but the lot had a pool, tennis courts and a grass yard. There was certainly nothing keeping me cooped up inside when it was nice out. (i am not obese, btw :)). I'm sure, though, that if it was a quarter mile or more to any open space, i might have gotten much less exercise.

I wonder also, how much exercise kids above a certain age get out of their backyards. I don't know, but i think a lot of suburban kids don't do much in their yards after a certain age, unless there is a pool or something.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

the reality of the situation is that kids with the desire to do so will adapt to their environment. i am now living in a very dense town just north of boston and while there are a few scattered small parks within a mile of my neighborhood, most of the kids around here actually play anywhere they feel like it.

there are always tons of kids out playing in the streets, in a small parking lot across the street, and anywhere else they want. if kids want to actually go outside and socialize, they are going to do it, regardless of whether or not they actually have a yard. most back yards in this neighborhood are probably only 20' by 20' and many of them are shared. most houses in this neighborhood don't even have front yards. the apartment i am living in has no front yard whatsoever. it's street, curb, small stoop and then house.

those kids who actually have a desire to go outside and not sit around indoors all day rotting their brains and bodies will do so. they will make the street their yard and make the best of what they have.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

yeah, but parents typically don't wait for adaptation :). if studies show that kids in highrises don't get exercise, it reinforces the idea for parents that kids need yards. suburbia exists because parents don't want their kids to adapt. There is too much risk in it...

they want to control their kid's environments in every way. suburbia allows for that much more easily. It is the same formula that makes them dull places for non-parents, and extremely dull places for teenagers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I get out of college I plan to buy an uptown condo. When I have kids, I will stay there maybe until they are 3. Then I move to a SFH somewhere in the burbs. The reason is that the suburban way of living with a decent sized yard is the way I grew up, and it would seem to me it would be a great way for my kids to grow up. They would have neighborhood friends and plenty of room to play. For many people, the suburbs just feel like the "right" place to raise a family.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe I'm in a very small minority: Thirty-something with 2 small children and wanting to live uptown. I believe the amenities and the option of never having to get in my car to entertain family/friends is very appealing and I would jump at the chance. The only obstacle to my (pipe)dream is the perception that there are no good schools for my children to go to. I've always said that uptown is ripe for a good private school for a parent like me. Imagine, uptown workers actually being able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with their kids and being able to spend more time with them (no long commutes, etc). Does anyone believe like me that one of the impetuses (impeti?) to more people living uptown is the perceived lack of good schools in this area?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I believe I'm in a very small minority:  Thirty-something with 2 small children and wanting to live uptown.  I believe the amenities and the option of never having to get in my car to entertain family/friends is very appealing and I would jump at the chance.  The only obstacle to my (pipe)dream is the perception that there are no good schools for my children to go to.  I've always said that uptown is ripe for a good private school for a parent like me.  Imagine, uptown workers actually being able to have breakfast, lunch and dinner with their kids and being able to spend more time with them (no long commutes, etc).  Does anyone believe like me that one of the impetuses (impeti?) to more people living uptown is the perceived lack of good schools in this area?

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Trinity in First Ward must be (perceived to be) good, I'm guessing, from the long lines down 9th every morning with $50,000 SUV's dropping their kids off.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, CMS should definitely build a highrise school uptown with room for elementary, middle, and high school students. That would be so awesome, and it would entice more people to move uptown.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting.  Too bad they didn't do that study here, our cultures are so different I'm not inclined to say it necessarily would apply to American children.

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

In reading "A Pattern Language" similar studies have been done here and they came to the same conclusions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

that is an interesting study. 

I wonder if having stairs inside the housing unit is also a factor.  That is something i can see for kids raised in flats, that they never must use stairs, which give people a lot of exercise without noticing.

Another factor that seems like it could make a difference is whether the condo/apt tower had a yard.  Many highrises are just squeezed into urban places, and they don't have the pool and courtyard amenities like many of the projects planned for uptown.  It would be the difference of living in, say, Ivey's, where the nearest open space is 4th ward park a couple blocks away, vs. Trademark which has its "yard" on the parking deck, with a pool and grassy area. 

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Well using Charlotte specifically as an example. Parents are less likely to let their kids go running around DT Charlotte unsupervised which is going to limit the time they have outside. There are simply too many ways to get hurt. In comparison in homes with yards and neighborhoods this isn't as much a factor and parents don't have to worry at much about letting their kids out of the house. Its a generalization for sure, and Japanese children are generally much safer in cities there than here in the USA so it may or may not be a factor.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.