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GRDadof3

Downside and objections to living downtown

What are the downsides of living downtown currently   92 members have voted

  1. 1. If you currently live, or are looking at living downtown, what is lacking? (Choose as many as you want)

    • Prices are too high for what you get
      37
    • Lack of retail amenities downtown
      56
    • Lack of parks or recreation downtown
      9
    • I have to own a car
      23
    • Lack of good mass transit
      40
    • Too much crime or too many vagrants
      14
    • Lack of night life
      4
    • Lack of good housing choices (I don't like what's available)
      10
    • No housing in the part of downtown I like
      3
    • Lack of people living downtown
      16
    • Worried about the investment
      11
    • I'm worried about selling my current house
      6
    • Nothing, downtown is great as is
      5
    • Other
      12
  2. 2. Are one or more of these causing you to:

    • not buy downtown
      38
    • move out of downtown
      2
    • Neither, downtown is fine as is
      6
    • I'm buying or staying downtown, but addressing these issues would be good
      34
    • Other
      13

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55 posts in this topic

This poll would be for those who are seriously looking at living downtown, or already live downtown. For instance, if you have 3 small kids, downtown living is probably not an option at this point since there isn't really housing available condusive to that.

The city is trying to build critical mass downtown to support retail, but are there detriments to downtown currently that are impeding that goal?

You can choose more than 1 answer. Are there things that should be addressed?

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When you say living downtown where do you consider? 49503?

It's always easier for me to say i live in the dt area, but some people may not agree because i live farther east that HH.

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When you say living downtown where do you consider? 49503?

It's always easier for me to say i live in the dt area, but some people may not agree because i live farther east that HH.

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I voted other, my option would have been; not conducive to a family with very small children.

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For those who marked that they have decided to either not buy downtown or move out, can you please elaborate in a comment. Perhaps then some of these issues may rise to the forefront.

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I still frequent downtown restaurants / bars / coffeeshops / etc. several times a week, but obviously most if not all of my grocery and retail dollars are spent elsewhere (due to location and lack of options dowtown).

Give me a Lincoln Park-esque living environment downtown or near downtown (i.e. Westside) at a sub $200k price, and I'd seriously consider moving closer in. (Un?)fortunately, many people similar to myself still have to abide by the almighty dollar (and usually lackthereof).

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Being able to purchase a very nice house with a yard and a garage (FREE COVERED PARKING!!!) in a quiet, safe neighborhood, still within easy biking distance of downtown, for a lot less than a smaller condo downtown made the decision for me.

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So "lack of retail amenties" may actually be keeping people from moving downtown, actually hurting chances to build critical mass downtown, which is being counted on to spur a downtown retail rebirth. Hmmm. I'm thinking someone's going to have to lay some retail eggs downtown to build a mass of retailers, and not wait for the chicken to show up.

It makes sense. In my past experience in real estate, the more desirable areas for homes are near amenities like a neighborhood center, necessities, groceries, gas stations, dry cleaners, deli's, pharmacies, etc.. With those things missing, the area is missing something that potential buyers want.

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We moved to EGR recently. I couldn't convince my better half that the value we were getting DT was close to equal to the house we bought. We are walking distance to Reed's Lake, Gaslight Village, etc and for a very great price.

As it stands, living DT is too expensive (relative to what we can afford) plus, we both would need cars to drive to our jobs. So if mass transit could be improved so we could sell down to one vehicle, plus adding a variety of walkable retail, then I think the value (in terms of what our dollars are getting) would increase to the point where there is a lot of value behind the cost of living downtown.

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Darn fine poll... hope's them's doing the planning and marketing pay attention.

We tried very hard to buy downtown, but when we found out that one very famous property had only one parking spot a block away that was included, it was a deal breaker, as was the very tiny unsecured storage that was included. Also, as I'm finding out, parking for some of the new projects is leased, rather than part of the property is fairly short-sighted.

As mentioned in previous posts, I have a loft in Portland and as mass transist friendly a town as it is, folks still need a place to park the steel and there are not very many sucessful projects that have overlooked that fact. I would also mention that while there's probably not a big market for 3500-4000 sq.ft. properties, there's a market none the less. Just not here it seems.

While I'm pleased that we just had our offer on a home accepted, and will be soon making our way to GR, it will be in the burb's, not for lack of our trying to help be a part of a downtown revitalization.

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So "lack of retail amenties" may actually be keeping people from moving downtown, actually hurting chances to build critical mass downtown, which is being counted on to spur a downtown retail rebirth. Hmmm. I'm thinking someone's going to have to lay some retail eggs downtown to build a mass of retailers, and not wait for the chicken to show up.

It makes sense. In my past experience in real estate, the more desirable areas for homes are near amenities like a neighborhood center, necessities, groceries, gas stations, dry cleaners, deli's, pharmacies, etc.. With those things missing, the area is missing something that potential buyers want.

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I absolutely, 100% agree with this statement. Unfortunately, someone with deep pockets, a long-term vision, and a LOT of patience (willing to break even for at least the first few years at best) is probably going to have to pioneer retail downtown, and these folks are very hard to come by. Also, while we tend to hate on the suburban malls and the sprawl they signify, the names that make up the stores are what make the malls the success they are.

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Familiarity is one reason McDonald's does so well. It's everywhere so people recognize and know what the food is like. It may be mediocre, but at least you know what you're getting. People are less willing to try the unknown. This applies to food and I'd bet it also applies to retailers.

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This kind of pertains to the subject. Maybe people dont know what is downtown like I did not know a hertz location was downtown. Can anyone compile a list of whats down there as far as retail i can name a few

TGIFridays

Hertz:-)

starbucks

Beaners

Jimmy Johns

Little Bohimia

All i can think of maybe people would support alot of thes places if they actually knew what was down there i know alot of friends that are unaware of what type of retail is downtown.

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This kind of pertains to the subject. Maybe people dont know what is downtown like I did not know a hertz location was downtown. Can anyone compile a list of whats down there as far as retail i can name a few

TGIFridays

Hertz:-)

starbucks

Beaners

Jimmy Johns

Little Bohimia

All i can think of maybe people would support alot of thes places if they actually knew what was down there i know alot of friends that are unaware of what type of retail is downtown.

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This kind of pertains to the subject. Maybe people dont know what is downtown like I did not know a hertz location was downtown. Can anyone compile a list of whats down there as far as retail i can name a few

TGIFridays

Hertz:-)

starbucks

Beaners

Jimmy Johns

Little Bohimia

All i can think of maybe people would support alot of thes places if they actually knew what was down there i know alot of friends that are unaware of what type of retail is downtown.

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I think this is probably true. Even in their home suburban markets, I think a lot of chain retailers lose money the first several years. Unfortunately, mom and pop shops generally cant afford to be in the red like that, especially in a high-rent downtown setting. This kind of chicken-and-egg situation must have happened in other cities besides GR. How have they gotten past it? (if they have)

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I was downtown last Saturday with the kids and surprisingly saw a lot of people walking around, and quite a few on Monroe Center. It looked like a few conventioneers with the noticeable "namebadge dangling around their neck" look going on. But I really sadly thought to myself, "Where are these people going?". Seriously, I've never been in Van Hoeck's (and don't ever plan to because I'm not an old lady), I've only been in one store in the Ledyard Bldg to look for earmuffs, and they wanted $150 for fur ones, I don't buy jewelry but once every 20 years, I don't buy luggage but once every 10 years, I can only think of a few stores downtown near Monroe Center that are even worth stopping in to. I don't like being told to shut the f up so I wouldn't hit anything along South Division, I don't smoke pot so Purple East is out. The rest are restaurants, sub shops and coffee shops (which are fine but you won't find anyone driving 20 minutes to go to them). Am I the only one?

Contrast that with downtown Holland (next week I will go there and do a photo tour for UP), but there are dress and casual men's and women's clothing stores (where I have shopped and purchased items), a hardware store, a specialty toy store, ice cream shop, a record store, several book stores, a great number of furniture/accessory stores, a number of art galleries, some hip shoe stores, a pharmacy and gift shop, all concentrated on 8th Street.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/246/4439688...5b89d2549_o.jpg

That concentration has been effective in drawing national and regional stores like Talbots, Chico's, Merle Normans, Ben & Jerry's, Jos A Banks, and Kilwin's fudge.

Would that work here, who knows. But some of the strategies used in Holland could work here. I know, I'm beating a dead horse again.

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I was downtown last Saturday with the kids and surprisingly saw a lot of people walking around, and quite a few on Monroe Center. It looked like a few conventioneers with the noticeable "namebadge dangling around their neck" look going on. But I really sadly thought to myself, "Where are these people going?". Seriously, I've never been in Van Hoeck's (and don't ever plan to because I'm not an old lady), I've only been in one store in the Ledyard Bldg to look for earmuffs, and they wanted $150 for fur ones, I don't buy jewelry but once every 20 years, I don't buy luggage but once every 10 years, I can only think of a few stores downtown near Monroe Center that are even worth stopping in to. I don't like being told to shut the f up so I wouldn't hit anything along South Division, I don't smoke pot so Purple East is out. The rest are restaurants, sub shops and coffee shops (which are fine but you won't find anyone driving 20 minutes to go to them). Am I the only one?

Contrast that with downtown Holland (next week I will go there and do a photo tour for UP), but there are dress and casual men's and women's clothing stores (where I have shopped and purchased items), a hardware store, a specialty toy store, ice cream shop, a record store, several book stores, a great number of furniture/accessory stores, a number of art galleries, some hip shoe stores, a pharmacy and gift shop, all concentrated on 8th Street.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/246/4439688...5b89d2549_o.jpg

That concentration has been effective in drawing national and regional stores like Talbots, Chico's, Merle Normans, Ben & Jerry's, Jos A Banks, and Kilwin's fudge.

Would that work here, who knows. But some of the strategies used in Holland could work here.

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I was downtown last Saturday with the kids and surprisingly saw a lot of people walking around, and quite a few on Monroe Center. It looked like a few conventioneers with the noticeable "namebadge dangling around their neck" look going on. But I really sadly thought to myself, "Where are these people going?". Seriously, I've never been in Van Hoeck's (and don't ever plan to because I'm not an old lady), I've only been in one store in the Ledyard Bldg to look for earmuffs, and they wanted $150 for fur ones, I don't buy jewelry but once every 20 years, I don't buy luggage but once every 10 years, I can only think of a few stores downtown near Monroe Center that are even worth stopping in to. I don't like being told to shut the f up so I wouldn't hit anything along South Division, I don't smoke pot so Purple East is out. The rest are restaurants, sub shops and coffee shops (which are fine but you won't find anyone driving 20 minutes to go to them). Am I the only one?

Contrast that with downtown Holland (next week I will go there and do a photo tour for UP), but there are dress and casual men's and women's clothing stores (where I have shopped and purchased items), a hardware store, a specialty toy store, ice cream shop, a record store, several book stores, a great number of furniture/accessory stores, a number of art galleries, some hip shoe stores, a pharmacy and gift shop, all concentrated on 8th Street.

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/246/4439688...5b89d2549_o.jpg

That concentration has been effective in drawing national and regional stores like Talbots, Chico's, Merle Normans, Ben & Jerry's, Jos A Banks, and Kilwin's fudge.

Would that work here, who knows. But some of the strategies used in Holland could work here. I know, I'm beating a dead horse again.

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Contrast that with downtown Holland (next week I will go there and do a photo tour for UP), but there are dress and casual men's and women's clothing stores (where I have shopped and purchased items), a hardware store, a specialty toy store, ice cream shop, a record store, several book stores, a great number of furniture/accessory stores, a number of art galleries, some hip shoe stores, a pharmacy and gift shop, all concentrated on 8th Street.

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Good point Dad... That is just the kind of retail mix you see in the Pearl. Specialized. Often the merch mix is such that it's very democratic, if you want a $200 pair of mink earmuffs, fine, but they'll also be happy to provide $20 woolies. The area hardware does great, since loft owners still need nuts and bolts, although they very much are aware that folks will be willing to spend the extra cash if they know they can find a left-handed chrome metric one they won't find at Depot. The common element in the retail mix you cite is being able to build a foot traffic based on finding something fairly affordable (books, CD's Ice Cream) but still offer those items in a form not found in the malls (thus being able to add a reasonable premium to the pricing).

[Edit: That said, it makes it incumbant on the business owner to not be lazy and just offer stamped out items. These guys work hard to find stuff that you as a consumer might never find unless by serendipity, or vast research. It also increases the regional draw, in that if you have a candle shop that offers "all things candle", folks from the burbs and elsewhere will respond by knowing if you need anything candle related there's a shop downtown that can take care of you]

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Moving within walking distance of downtown is the best decision that I think that I could have ever made. We are going to buy a house and stay here in HH because of the location of downtown. I have not regretted it once and I don't think that I ever will regret it. Of course there are some things that I would like to change in downtown, but there will always be something that someone does not like.

As for the cost of housing in downtown, you might want to check Hillmount and most of HH for that matter. I don't think that it is any problem to find housing for less than $200K. Heck if I can afford to live here, anyone can.

On a side note, I would love to know why someone would say that there is no night life in downtown????

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...

On a side note, I would love to know why someone would say that there is no night life in downtown????

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On a side note, I would love to know why someone would say that there is no night life in downtown????

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