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joeDowntown

"Empty nesters flock to downtown condos "

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Here's a pretty interesting article about downtown housing. Nothing new to us but it reinforces what a lot of us already believe to be true:

http://www.mlive.com/business/grpress/inde....xml&coll=6

A couple of things mentioned:

1) 240 Ionia still seems pretty far from reality

2) Zero people bought into The Fitzgerald in its original design. They now have 22 units sold (out of 46).

Something not mentioned:

Where are the downtown apartments?! If $150K-$300K seems to be entry level, why isn't anyone building nice apartments? With the whole Mortgage problem that is hitting the news, I think it is going to be a lot harder to finance a condo up to your eyeballs. I think more people will be looking for apartments.

Also, with all of the downtown medical coming online, they act as if condo's will be gobbled up (which I hope is true). But that is for the specialists. What about the RN's, admins, IT people, etc. We need more quality apartment living downtown.

Anyone know, is it harder to get financing for apartments? Or is it that it isn't a "short term" project like condo's, where once you sell out, the developer is basically out of the picture and moves on to the next development?

Joe

Joe

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Is it me or when ever an article comes up about Downtown living this New Jersey market research firm Zimmerman/Volk Associates is mentioned?

What I found interesting is the comment about 4,060 households in the city would be a possible market for a downtown move. Of the 4,060 households, 620, would consider condos.

This market analysis was done in '04.

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I also found that Fitzgerald tidbit shocking. Not one of the 56 original reservations (out of 56 units) converted to purchase agreements, so they cut the units from 56 to 42 and now have 22 purchase agreements. Sounds a bit like The Darby in Gaslight Village.

That Zimmerman/Volk study needs to make its way to the circular file. :whistling: It gets cited way too much.

Like you Joe, that article made me feel like I went back in time 5+ years ago.

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Something not mentioned:

Where are the downtown apartments?! If $150K-$300K seems to be entry level, why isn't anyone building nice apartments? With the whole Mortgage problem that is hitting the news, I think it is going to be a lot harder to finance a condo up to your eyeballs. I think more people will be looking for apartments.

Also, with all of the downtown medical coming online, they act as if condo's will be gobbled up (which I hope is true). But that is for the specialists. What about the RN's, admins, IT people, etc. We need more quality apartment living downtown.

Anyone know, is it harder to get financing for apartments? Or is it that it isn't a "short term" project like condo's, where once you sell out, the developer is basically out of the picture and moves on to the next development?

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For those who have no idea what study is being discussed, you can find it HERE at the city's website.

Read page 107 of the report for the author's disclaimers about the limitations of the report.

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In the article, it mentions that only 8 percent of people who are thinking about moving into a condo downtown are families with children. Is there a way to make the single family houses more inviting to the family environment or will it continue to be a notable generation gap?

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In the article, it mentions that only 8 percent of people who are thinking about moving into a condo downtown are families with children. Is there a way to make the single family houses more inviting to the family environment or will it continue to be a notable generation gap?

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If any of you could do it again and were looking for your first home would you be interested in getting into a downtown condo? I am debating what to do having never been a home owner.

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If any of you could do it again and were looking for your first home would you be interested in getting into a downtown condo? I am debating what to do having never been a home owner.

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As a first-time homeowner I'd definitely consider a downtown condo if you don't care about any sort of yard or don't want to do much maintenance and you don't need a lot of space. You'll pay a lot per square foot downtown so you'll end up paying about double what an equivalent sized house will cost. Like all things in life there are trade offs involved and you need to decide what's important to you.

I was in your boat about a year and a half ago, and I went with a house. My decision was driven by space, in that to make the house more affordable I planned to have a roommate (my cousin). A one-bedroom condo (~900 sqft.) would have cost about the same as my thee-bedroom house (~1800 sqft.). There's no way I'd have a roommate in a one-bedroom condo. If I were going to live alone, however, I'd still probably want a two-bedroom unit so I'd have some office space.

I'd still like to move back downtown eventually, but it might be 5 or more years out still.

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Re: buying a downtown condo

I've been living in the Hillmount for over a year now-it's worth it if you don't want your own yard, and don't mind small spaces. I bought a very small, but very livable space for quite a bit less that 100K. Granted, I'm not right downtown, but I think the location is excellent. That's not to say you couldn't find an actual house just a little further out of DT for even cheaper. Several of my friends have bought in the Uptown area for quite cheap (granted they are not the most beautiful houses... they'll need some love)

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Re: buying a downtown condo

I've been living in the Hillmount for over a year now-it's worth it if you don't want your own yard, and don't mind small spaces. I bought a very small, but very livable space for quite a bit less that 100K. Granted, I'm not right downtown, but I think the location is excellent. That's not to say you couldn't find an actual house just a little further out of DT for even cheaper. Several of my friends have bought in the Uptown area for quite cheap (granted they are not the most beautiful houses... they'll need some love)

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If any of you could do it again and were looking for your first home would you be interested in getting into a downtown condo? I am debating what to do having never been a home owner.

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My first house was a small one in Kentwood about 10 years ago. I don't think there was much downtown living going on then, but now I wish I had taken the chance to live downtown while I was still single and had no kids. Now, I wait 20+ years for them to move out to be one of those empty-nesters. Don't worry, I'm really enjoying this stage of life with little kids! Wouldn't wish the years away for anything! Just wish I had done the downtown thing back in the day.

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I too have lived in Hillmount for a bit more than a year now with my Fianc

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Written as though someone has spent some time taking the US-131 exit ramp onto I-196.

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Many times when I read the GR Press it seems that articles posing as "news" stories are simply veiled attempts at helping someone sell something. In this case it seemed like the Press was merely trying to give a shot in the arm to the downtown condo developers. As the point has been made several times in this thread, there was nothing new to learn in this article.

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Actually, I worked in Kentwood then too so I still would have had to commute. Now that my wife and I have kids we have those "wish we would have" (travelled more, gone to more concerts, etc.) that we tell people who are expecting to do now. I guess living an urban lifestyle is one of those things.

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I moved from the Detroit area, where I owned a 2-bedroom house. I spent a ton of money and time on yardwork, but I don't really mind it. Repairs are another thing to keep in mind (that house was built in 1920, which makes it necessary to budget for repairs and upgrades). The house was within walking distance of a fantastic downtown, so it was a great setup.

After commuting downtown from an apartment in Kentwood for a year, we made the move downtown. Parking is 120/space, and there's still not a good grocery store around, but I walk to work, have a beautiful condo, and live within walking distance of tons of bars and restaurants! My favorite things about living downtown is feeling connected to a community, never having to plan ahead if I want to attend a downtown event, no shoveling or yard work, and getting to explore all the downtown gems. Also, I work a lot of hours, so I like being able to spend my free time relaxing instead of working in the yard or commuting (condos are generally newer, so you have less big-budget repair problems along the lines of replacing a water heater, etc.).

Again, I'm in the 'no kids' category, but I think there are a lot of people like me who are willing to take the plunge. I know Fox Lofts are pretty good, price-wise (and, despite being smaller, are one bedroom with a bedroom/den), as are a few one-bedrooms at Peck Building and Tannery Row. Good luck on your search! I am still really happy we live downtown, and think it's worth the (some would say) sacrifices.

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In the article, it mentions that only 8 percent of people who are thinking about moving into a condo downtown are families with children. Is there a way to make the single family houses more inviting to the family environment or will it continue to be a notable generation gap?

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John Green of Elevation Group has added cool student housing at Hopson Flats. I think it's a very, very smart move...and that developers will continue to be creative and find ways for the middle market and students to move downtown.

It takes a village....I actually hate that cliche...but the wider the demographic downtown the more options there are for retailers to fill those empty storefronts!

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I agree. I think students add a lot of vibrancy to a city too as they are more likely to hang out, walk around, bike, play frisbee. I think the demographic is as vital as the empty nesters. Empty nesters help fill the restaurants. College kids fill the bars. ;)

Jeo

John Green of Elevation Group has added cool student housing at Hopson Flats. I think it's a very, very smart move...and that developers will continue to be creative and find ways for the middle market and students to move downtown.

It takes a village....I actually hate that cliche...but the wider the demographic downtown the more options there are for retailers to fill those empty storefronts!

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RapidGrowthMedia states that there are 196 new apartment "beds" opening up or recently opened in downtown:

http://www.rapidgrowthmedia.com/developmen...ousing0816.aspx

That is a LOT of new beds IMO. That's 196 new residents downtown in a short period of time. They give partial credit to the expanding apartment market downtown to the new med school, which doesn't open for a couple of years yet. :huh:

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The new Med School may not "open" for a couple of years but the school is currently bringing people into the area and will continue to hire and recruit people at an amazing rate over the next two years.

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