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krazeeboi

Young Professionals in SC

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Last month, Bizjournals released its list of best metro areas for young adult job seekers. In the midsized category (labor market with population of 250K-750K), Charleston ranks 17th, Columbia 25th, Greenville 79th, and Spartanburg 98th.

I'm surprised to not see Greenville ranked higher; however, I'm sure once the flurry of job announcements that have been made in the past year to two years materialize, that will change. As a matter of fact, I remember reading something that said that Greenville's economy will definitely start picking up in 2009.

I'm hoping Spartanburg will come to rank higher as well.

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Last month, Bizjournals released its list of best metro areas for young adult job seekers. In the midsized category (labor market with population of 250K-750K), Charleston ranks 17th, Columbia 25th, Greenville 79th, and Spartanburg 98th.

I'm surprised to not see Greenville ranked higher; however, I'm sure once the flurry of job announcements that have been made in the past year to two years materialize, that will change. As a matter of fact, I remember reading something that said that Greenville's economy will definitely start picking up in 2009.

I'm hoping Spartanburg will come to rank higher as well.

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Thats a great point, jax. Spartanburg's ranking is no suprise at all, and for most of the same reasons you mention for Greenville. Its a great place to raise a family, but there is a noticable lack of young professionals, and more importantly the jobs and job growth that would attract them. Its obvious that the Upstate has a lot of work to do in attracting this demographic. When I graduated from USC, everybody wanted to be in Charleston. A lot of people wanted to go to Charlotte or Atlanta. Some wanted to stay in Columbia. A few wanted to go to Greenville/Spartanburg. Pretty much everyone didn't want to go back to their hometown. Part of the problem is that none of our cities really have that big city dynamic that gets people excited, and pulls in companies of all types. Certainly all of our cities, particularly the larger ones, are growing at a healthy pace. Perhaps this is something that will change with time.

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Thats a great point, jax. Spartanburg's ranking is no suprise at all, and for most of the same reasons you mention for Greenville. Its a great place to raise a family, but there is a noticable lack of young professionals, and more importantly the jobs and job growth that would attract them. Its obvious that the Upstate has a lot of work to do in attracting this demographic. When I graduated from USC, everybody wanted to be in Charleston. A lot of people wanted to go to Charlotte or Atlanta. Some wanted to stay in Columbia. A few wanted to go to Greenville/Spartanburg. Pretty much everyone didn't want to go back to their hometown. Part of the problem is that none of our cities really have that big city dynamic that gets people excited, and pulls in companies of all types. Certainly all of our cities, particularly the larger ones, are growing at a healthy pace. Perhaps this is something that will change with time.

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Youre right. You can't just build a coolness factor like a new building. But you do have to start somewhere. The row houses in Philly are in extremely walkable neighborhoods. Even the bad neighborhoods you wouldnt want to walk in are walkable. They have the urban infrastructure, so to speak, as well as the population that allows for that type of environment to evolve. Greenville and Spartanburg are 1- too spread out, and 2- too low in population concentration individually. Our cities can start by maintaining and improving an environment that makes us appealing. Quality of life is a major factor in attracting young professionals- especially those with jobs that are in high demand. And I think that both cities have realized this, and are makig strides towards improving the situation. But like you said, it just has to evolve naturally. You can't force coolness on everyone. You have to change perspectives and reputations- and that takes time.

What's interesting to me is that Raleigh and Durham separately have made it pretty high on the list (Raleigh is #4 on the large cities list, Durham was on the first page of the midsized cities list). They seem to have figured out how to work together to their benefit in a way that Greenville and Spartanburg have not. But they do have Duke Univ. NC State, and U of North Carolina all right there together, which gives them an edge we don't have in the Upstate. Clemson is a good school, but you can't compare it to 2 great ones and 1 good one. Wofford and Furman are good schools too, but they just don't compare. Perhaps investing more in USC Upstate and getting Gville Tech to the 4 year level will be integral parts of improving things?

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Jax, I am not sure exactly what you meant in your initial statement above. Without knowing the details of your situation when you lived in the Upstate, I can't be precise in my reply, but there is a general feeling (regarding the area not being a livable place for young professionals) which begs a response.

...if you just graduated college and your looking for excitement then it simply can't be found there.

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I really don't understand it, when these type of rankings come out and i see comments like "i'm surprised spartanburg/greenville didn't rank higher", I'm a young adult and i spent a brief amount of time in the gsp area, and i have to say that overall the area has a very long ways to go before it can be seen as a viable place for young professionals to live. Greenville is making an effort, but still leaves a lot to be desired. I mean, its a good area to raise a family, but if you just graduated college and your looking for excitement then it simply can't be found there. I'm not at all city-bashing here either, just stating what i experienced. I now live in philadelphia which is a haven for young professionals, and tons of sweet jobs in any category you can imagine.

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Totally agree with you jaxpalmer that coolness can't be built. It's an attitude that grows in an area. I do find it interesting that the largest cities seem to have reached "the mass" and lost of much their coolness to more medium sized cities like Madison, Burlington, Portland, etc, etc. Been to Philly many times, and it's a great large city. Can't say it's the most cool or most hip, but defintely a nice city.

Funny that Philadelphia would lose the US Pro event last year to Greenville as cycling is at the pinnacle of "cool" sports. I think this is where Greenville is excelling in cool.....cycling, climbing, kayaking and extreme sports. ;)

While Greenville can't claim alot of old neighborhoods that can be made cool, as you post above, it does have the outdoor beauty and topography that "cool" tend to flock to.

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Personally, I think "coolness" is overrated. Young college graduates today are flocking to more affordable destinations with a good job climate that haven't traditionally been considered "cool" as this article points out (use BugMeNot.com to get around registration). I don't think you can get any "cooler" than NYC, but who the hell can afford to live there?

It's pretty simple; wherever the jobs are, that's where the young professionals will flock to. "Coolness" doesn't guarantee a job or make housing more affordable. Several of the people I graduated with now live in Charlotte, which isn't exactly cool, but it's got plenty of jobs and relatively cheap housing.

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Jax, I am not sure exactly what you meant in your initial statement above. Without knowing the details of your situation when you lived in the Upstate, I can't be precise in my reply, but there is a general feeling (regarding the area not being a livable place for young professionals) which begs a response. What exactly do you mean by "excitement?" From my personal experience here, there is more than enough "excitement" to enjoy, depending on what you consider "exciting." If you love the arts, we have endless options available year-round. If you prefer the hands-on approach, there are organizations available to fulfill your desire to openly express yourself using various media. If you prefer the passive approach, there are numerous theatres, galleries, and museums for absorbing art through the visual and auditory senses. For leisure activity, there are parks all over the area, while the nearby mountains and lakes offer more outdoor activities than most metro areas of the nation could dream of. If you are into competitive sports, there are leagues available in several sports.

Now I will admit that there are shortcomings in certain categories such as professional sports and affordable housing around downtown, but overall the area is doing a fantastic job of building the necessary amenities that professionals of all ages desire. Comparing GSA to a metro that is more than six times its size (very rough estimate) is not totally fair, and yet, given the choice to live in either place, I would definitely go with the Upstate of SC for quality of life. I have visited downtown Philadelphia numerous times and not been completely impressed. Yes it is a big city, but that is not what every young professional wants. Many want "big city" amenities without the big city problems. That can be difficult to find, but it is definitely possible - even here in Greenville. ;)

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^I can understand that mindset. While I myself will eventually settle down in one of the larger metro areas in SC (Columbia hopefully), right now they are too small for me; heck, even the Charlotte area is a bit too small for me right now, but it's not bad. When I'm finally done with this leg of grad school, I hope to go on to a bigger city and get that experience under my belt.

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Yikes. Charlotte is plenty big enough for me. I dont think I'd want to live in any place that is bigger.

I think that there is some truth to what Jax is saying about the Upstate, whether we want to admit it or not.

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I just don't think I can get the full range of an urban experience, including mass transit and being able to stop at a Chinese joint at 4am to get something to eat, in a city the size of Charlotte or smaller (I'm excluding Portland because I'm not about to move that far). And I also understand what jaxpalmer is saying about options; when you only have a limited amount of entertainment options and amenities, after a while doing the same things and going to the same places can get old--especially when the vast majority of them can be found in the same general area: downtown. I guess that's why I'm drawn to a city like DC--I don't have to be downtown to experience the essence of the city or be close to the action, as there are other legitimately urban nodes and vibrant neighborhoods in the city/metro area, yet downtown is a very viable option. That's really not true for our metros here in SC, at least not yet; the non-downtown options will be sprawling and non-walkable, totally centered around the automobile, even in so-called mixed-use developments. I know that at some point, the country boy in me will come out and I'll say, "OK, I've had enough of the big city," but right now, it's an itch that desperately needs scratching. :)

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^Krazee, it'll be interesting for you to look back at your posts 15-20 years from now and see how your views have changed. It didn't take me very long to get tired of the denser lifestyle, maybe five years or so.

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I just don't think I can get the full range of an urban experience, including mass transit and being able to stop at a Chinese joint at 4am to get something to eat, in a city the size of Charlotte or smaller (I'm excluding Portland because I'm not about to move that far). And I also understand what jaxpalmer is saying about options; when you only have a limited amount of entertainment options and amenities, after a while doing the same things and going to the same places can get old--especially when the vast majority of them can be found in the same general area: downtown. I guess that's why I'm drawn to a city like DC--I don't have to be downtown to experience the essence of the city or be close to the action, as there are other legitimately urban nodes and vibrant neighborhoods in the city/metro area, yet downtown is a very viable option. That's really not true for our metros here in SC, at least not yet; the non-downtown options will be sprawling and non-walkable, totally centered around the automobile, even in so-called mixed-use developments. I know that at some point, the country boy in me will come out and I'll say, "OK, I've had enough of the big city," but right now, it's an itch that desperately needs scratching. :)

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I think there is a difference between row house/townhouse density cersus midrise/highrise condo and loft/flat density. Look at the peninsula in Charleston and center city Philadelphia, with lots of single/row houses. Its dense enough to create an urban feel, but its just a different kind of density than you would find in New York or Boston. Perhaps its a slightly lower density by nature, but I think its something that more people would want to live with. There's a reason that Philadelphia has the 3rd highest downtown residential population in the US (behind NYC and DC).

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I think there is a difference between row house/townhouse density cersus midrise/highrise condo and loft/flat density. Look at the peninsula in Charleston and center city Philadelphia, with lots of single/row houses. Its dense enough to create an urban feel, but its just a different kind of density than you would find in New York or Boston. Perhaps its a slightly lower density by nature, but I think its something that more people would want to live with. There's a reason that Philadelphia has the 3rd highest downtown residential population in the US (behind NYC and DC).

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^Thats right. Not DC, but its probably #4 or #5. San Francisco is probably on up there too.

Charleston is an awesome city. If you ever get the chance you should go. There's nothing else like it.

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I plan on visiting hopefully sometime this summer.

I think with projects like that shopping center on the eastside of spartanburg, and then that village type of shopping center in greer will help out a lot with attracting the type of demographic mentioned in this thread. Not only that but the chapman cultural arts center looks promising also. One thing i would really like to see is usc upstate move away from that remote suburban type of setting and develop the area around the campus.

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Jax, Im right there with you man! I lived in Greenville for two years and it never did much for me. I couldn't wait to get out. Lots of people have taken that as a cut on the city but it just didn't appeal to me. And I totally agree with the comment about places trying to manufacture a cool vibe. It kills me when I see all these new half a million dollar 2B/ 2Bth developments poping up in downtown all across the south that are supposed to be for the "cool" young people. It kinda fits into the whole American Idol let's manufacture a star mentality I guess. I'm like how many "bohemians" can actually afford these ready made luxury condos anyway? If cities and developers were actually guinuine about moving and keeping young professionals downtown in these neighborhoods then these developments should be alot more affordable. It's like putting the cart before the horse. These ecclectic places that are all the rage right now were not manufactored. Broke ass artist, writers, and local entrepeneurs moved into these places becasue that was all they could afford. They made the neighborhood desireable by opening up there own gallaries, restaraunts, cafes, music houses, nightclubs, etc... because "well If I have to where a suit to eat at Che' Uptowns then I'll just open my own restaruant and eat quality food and serve it to the people in my neighborhood". That is the whole point of what makes these places "cool". Not the corny manufactured corporate you can find this brand at any shopping center at all appropriate cities this size crap that are trying to manufactor "coolness". But here's the ironic thing about it, I think all the "cool" kids see it for what it is too! :shades:

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Greenville's downtown is the hotspot for entertainment, whether you chose to make the most of it or not is up to you. The experience of downtown Greenville is growing everyday and has only become the destination that it is today in recent years. To make an assertion based on an experience of years ago would be uninformed. But as all cities grow, they will development more identity and entertainment options and most likely increase their "coolness" factor.

Interestingly enough, Greenville seems to be the only city in SC with the possibility, that I know of, of developing another urban center for entertainment in the near future. The McChesney development at the Point should do just that with its mix of office space, residential, retail, and entertainment options, not to mention its likely link to downtown via Rapid Bus transit.

One thing that can hurt Greenville is the lack of a large 4 year university, though steps are being made to make that happen. Still, the city seems to do well without one. I can't imagine life with one, if it's this good without.

To each their own. :thumbsup:

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Again, sandlapper, I don't know when you were living in Greenville and what your exact situation was, but if you think nothing has changed in the time since you left, you are completely wrong. Young professionals are a growing part of this community and the "excitement" elements forming the "coolness" factor here are all completely organic and not artificial at all. Yes, there is plenty of room to grow, but growth is exactly what is happening everyday around here and the people who are willing to spend their time to help in whatever way(s) they can are the ones who receive the greatest reward. Greenville is steadily building a quality destination that all classes in life can personally partake in. The success so far proves how admirable the city efforts have been. It is time to get oriented with the "New Greenville" and its continually changing face. :shades:

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I appreciate the encouragement skyliner but I've done my time there. I am pleased that you are enjoying your time there though! :)

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I appreciate the encouragement skyliner but I've done my time there. I am pleased that you are enjoying your time there though! :)

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And yet you would say something completely different about the same type of changes happening in Columbia, right? :mellow:^_^

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