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High-Rise Condos are Sprouting up in the Suburbs

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A CHANGE IN METRO LIVING: High-rise condos are sprouting in suburbs

Owners like the amenities; cities like the vitalities

Article written by BY JOHN GALLAGHER, a Free Press Business Writer, on March 17, 2006

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It talks about the Monarch being built in Troy and has renderings of it. It will be 18 stories and the units start at $400,000 (Ouch!) and gives a web address.

There is also mention of the Fifth Royal Oak Condos and the Ashley Terrace Condos in Ann Arbor...web addresses are also listed for them.

I thought you might find them interesting.

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"The 2 1/2 acres was wonderful," Hustoles, a retired urban planner, said of his former residence in Southfield. "I just loved it. But between shoveling snow, raking leaves and the stairs, it started to be so much to care for."
Ha.

Finally, taller buildings in places like Royal Oak and Troy offer an urban lifestyle that mostly has been absent from metro Detroit until recently.

Ha.

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I missed that last line, there. lol There is no such thing as an "urban lifestyle" in Troy. Maybe a "faux-urban lifestyle," but that is about as far as you can get. And the most important thing...ummm, don't you guys think you're forgetting something. Oh yeah,...Detroit. lol It just blows me mind that this current trend in suburban residential high-rise development is what the metro considers an "urban lifestyle" option, as if sticking up a few towers in Troy and elsewhere in a sea of sprawl constitutes having and urban lifestyle when the real thing is right over 8 Miles.

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LMich, do you have access to info that would tell about growth in the surrounding Ann Arbor area. I know we are getting a lot of dense residential development with condos, lofts, and apartments downtown, but I see very little if none development of single family homes in subdivisions and stuff surrounding the city. I'm just wondering if AA's trend is for urban living dominant. I'm asking you because you seem to know a lot about this stuff.

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The only thing I know, and this is accessible from the Census's website, is just about population growth, which isn't always that telling of urban development. For instance, the census has predicted over the past years that Ann Arbor proper has fallen in population back down to just a bit over 112,000, but Washtenaw continues to be one of the fasted growing counties in the state. I can only suspect that that means it's sprawling like crazy, but where in the county it is sprawling, I have no idea.

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I can only guess towns like Dexter and Chelsea which are having phenomenal growth. It's like pulte home madness out there. But I just don't see that happening around AA. Maybe it's our growth boundaries, I have no idea.

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I do a lot of work with Washtenaw County Communities... here are some of the sprawl corridors that i have seen:

Jackson Road and points south of that in Scio Township (west of AA). We are working on a design to continue the Boulevard Section of the road westward which I presume will spark more sprawl.

Ypsilanti Township (south of Ypsi) is having a housing boom on Whittaker Road and there are several other major subdivisions going in elsewhere around the township.

Superior Township (north of Ypsi) had a boom going along Geddes and Prospect Roads, that has slowed a little over the past years.

There are probably quite a few others I am forgetting, but I gotta get going.

As much as I'd like to see these condo developments in detroit, I am not that angered over this. It is better in the long run if we promote higher density living, wherever it might be, even in Troy. Although, it really needs to be in built out suburbs with the proper infrastructure in place.

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Indeed. I find a lot of parallels between Atlanta and Detroit. This is one of them.

I see little if nothing that these cities have in common

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I always thought Novi could use some tall condos.

I always thought the same thing about Genoa Township near Howell. ;)

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I don't trust Novi with any of their experiments. They attempted to build a downtown which didn't work. Actually this probably because of the lack of high density housing nearby it.

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That, and that they simply overbuilt their retail infastructure. They were building more retail as if it was the only retail giant in Metro Detroit. They found out the hard way with places like Fountain Walk, and their "downtown" in the middle of nowhere.

Novi just needs to die. :) Novi is a modern Southfield with less than half its character. And, Southfield doesn't have a lot of character. lol Man, I'm being incredibly harsh on Novi.

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haha. When I first went to "downtown" Novi, there was NOTHING there.

there was a golf store and a mexican restauraunt.

The developers keep on saying that they're going to expand it, but I haven't seen any action.

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No you aren't really. I recall an article a while back from one of the newspapers that focused on families living in the ruralness surrounding exurbs. Those people referred to places like Novi as "the big city" as "the place we had to get away from" because it was too urban. These same people are the ones who built that whole garbage dump off of I-96 at the South Lyon exit. WHY the hell do you need that (retail), when you have Novi excessively overdoing it just a few more miles down the road?

And everyone knows as well as I, that when the Lyon Towne Commons (or whatever its name is) decides to boom like Novi, those people are going to call S. Lyon the "big city" and will have to move to a rural place surrounding Danville.

THEN Novi will take a look at itself and say, "Hey, I guess we really ARE a big city and so now we have to build skyscrapers for people to live in so that some of the people living in suburban Danville will come back to the urban core."

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Michi, was that the article where the girl was going to hang out with her friends at the local gas station?

Who in their right mind would want to live where the only place to hang out is a gas station? That has always puzzled me....

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Michi, and THAT is my problem with many of these new high-rise developments in the exurbs/sprawlburbs. From a planning perspective, this is definitely a step in the right direction, but the problem arises when people (as pointed out in the articles above) make the mistake of saying that up until recently, there was NO place in all of Metro Detroit that would could find an "urban lifestyle." I'm sorry, but Detroit has always been an option, if even not a great looking one at times. The problem is with developers thinking they've found something "new," as if Detroit was never even an option for urban living. It's the same old game of city vs. suburb.

Remember, though office space, the Southfield Town Center was originally touted as a new "downtown," as well advertising itself as being at the center of it all. The problem arises when you don't even acknowledge downtown Detroit as an option, and we've seen that destroy countless suburban "downtowns." This would all be different if downtown Detroit still had its heart. I mean, Chicago can afford to have all of these downtowns because it still has its downtown. But, these suburban downtown's in Metro Detroit aren't advertising themselves as an alternative to downtown Detroit; they aren't working in regional good faith. They seriously believe they ARE "downtown Detroit" going so far to ignore downtown Detroit as a viable option altogether, and that doesn't help the city or the suburb in the long run.

I hope someone got that, because I realized that it really starts to ramble. I just couldn't find the words I wanted. lol

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It's your hometown, right?

Anyway, it is the quintessential sprawlburb. It represents everything wrong with suburban sprawl, unfortunately. It's really ironic that it thought it was going to be the "next big thing," and is getting passed up for even more far-flung and sprawled suburbs. That's the problem, the total lack of trying to fit in to the idea of region. These burbs think they stand alone, and find out pretty quickly that everything in the metro is connected whether they like it or not. These particular sprawlburbs would be much better off realizing that sooner rather than later.

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Most of the suburbs only use Detroit for recognition. However, they would much rather be their "own" city than automatically being clumped in with detroit.

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LM,

It is, I am reporting to you live from Livonia right now actually... Looking out my window, it appears to still be boring.

Livonia on paper is a nice town I suppose. The infrastructure is solid, it is a good mix of comercial, industrial and residential and has fairly logical and well-laid out zoning, however, it pretty much stops there. For a city of 100K, I find it amazing how little redeeming things there are around here. The parks are ok, but they are more open fields than anything else. In terms of fun things (bars, cool resturaunts) we have very few besides our strong helping of chains (applebees, mitchell's fish market, max & ermas etc...). The planning is pretty basic, I liken it to clicking and draging in sim city 4 and just leaving it there. There are MULTIPLE 1x1 mile, and in some cases, 1x2 mile blocks of land that are nothing but residential. This cannot be a walkable community, and, not surprisingly, it isn't.

Livonia was making some good steps over the past few years with the Plymouth Road Development authority (reduced setbacks, higher density and improved bus stops (gulp, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?), but the new leadership has gone back into the unimaginative thinking patterns. Plymouth Road is the oldest part of the city with some depression era housing that has some character to it, however, that stops around merrimen and switches to the ol 1960's style stuff.

By my account, the whole Millenium Park development (replaced Ladbroke DRC) was a complete dud. We have a meijer, home depot and a bunch of other crap, not to mention a big chunk of industrial-zoned land that to this day has not been developed. Hmm, right on a freeway, backs up to a Class I railroad, what more do you really need? I am interested to see how the replacement for Wonderland Mall goes (you know, the walmart thing), but my hopes are not high.

Oh well, time to get out of here... off to the bar, in the D of course!

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^Thank you for sharing that. THAT'S the whole point of suburbia. Suburbia is in existence because people wanted a new place to live...in other words a new place to put their house. Intentionally, the place that you retreat to at the end of a long day of work. Livonia represents that to a tee (is that the right spelling of "t"?) lol

When, in the historic chain of events did suburbs all of a sudden think they are suppose to be the urban core? That's going against their original intent at existence. I can understand some places like Southfield, Troy, and the Woodward corridor supplying added concentrations of suburban corporate and business activity, but somewhere along the line the concept of suburb means "each one of us has to be downtown: the focus of the 5 million metro".

Most suburbanites follow the original intent of what a suburb is by choosing to live in a quiet residential area. It's no wonder that they keep spreading out. What once was quiet suburbia is now "Downtown Detroit" (in their minds). Maybe they'd stay put if suburbia didn't act so cowardly and act like it can steal Detroit's thunder.

Allan, yes, that's the article. It made me laugh because I grew up in a town in the middle of nowhere. The only way to socialize...aka to see and be seen was to drive up and down the business spur...you turn around at the car wash on one end, go through the only traffic light in the entire county, then turn around at the Citgo Station to do the loop all over again. lol

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Thanks for putting into words what I was trying to say, Michi. After the riot, Detroit suburbs began to isolate themselves to a disgusting degree. As they helped let the city wither and die (death by neglect, i.e. negligent homocide), the bottom fell out, and they lost the idea of regionalism, and started to cannibalize one another. And what you get today is a bunch of independent cities, villages, townships and counties not knowing where they want to go, and not only fighting with the city, but each other like unruly children, all the while the world is passing the region by. Instead of competing as a region against the rest of the world, it's like a dysfunctional family or high school click fighting each other.

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