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Downtowns Continue to Get Residential Development, Even in Old Midwest Cities
Old 11-21-2012, 03:46 PM   #1
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Downtowns Continue to Get Residential Development, Even in Old Midwest Cities

http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2012/11/21/developer-looks-to-convert-downtowns.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2012-11-21
Cincinnati is a very attractive city, but until the last 10 or 15 years few non-indigent people wanted to live in its downtown. My 70+ Dad got badly mugged waiting at a bus stop in the City Center, 6th and Vine. But I have a cousin who has lived downtown in the 8th and Walnut area for years. She does it because she does not drive, and bus and taxi service is much better from downtown. But very famous old downtown restaurants have closed or relocated to the suburbs recently, and some nightclubs have closed.

Living downtown is almost always quite a bit more expensive for rent and/or purchase, and parking if you own a car. Very nice upscale suburbs on both the Ohio and Kentucky side of the river usually offer cheaper rent or purchase price than the same space downtown.

And of course, in some cities including Cincinnati, downtown has been notoriously more violent in the very recent past and probably also today.
I grew up first in a streetcar suburb-literally, as when I was a boy the streetcars ran out from city center as spokes on a wheel. Later the tracks were torn up and buses continued the same pattern. Then we moved to a true city location, though farther from the CBD and retail core than is my situation today. I really like city living, but I have always lived very close to City Center, other than when I was raising children, so it feels like home to me.

But the there must be people moving into these newer urban developments and conversions who have never lived downtown before. Maybe worked downtown while raising kids in the suburbs, but want to move downtown as empty nesters or retirees.

It will bear watching. Living downtown makes physical demands since you walk much more. It makes demands on your street awareness. And daily living is different- often no true supermarkets, though any more there are usually year around farmers' markets, some excellent meat markets that survive from the prewar era, and fish markets in coastal cities. As the residential population grows, so do the retail services. Often more expensive, but nevertheless present. Seattle has Whole Foods in So Lake Union, Metropolitan Market in Uptown at the base of Queen Ann, and even a newly opened City Target right center of downtown. As far as I know, there are few or none of these things in Cincinnati, but if the people come, they will build.

I know we are mostly a suburban or even country group, but do any of you plan or know others who plan to live in more urban surroundings in retirement?

Ha
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Old 11-21-2012, 06:14 PM   #2
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I was born in the suburbs (NYC) and could not get out fast enough. I moved out to the suburbs again when I retired. Stayed there until my oldest was 8, then got divorced and moved back into NYC with my ex-mistress. When I moved to South America, I knew it had to be a large city with all the people (8 million and counting) services and excitement that comes along with it. Originally, I had a car but it was more hassle then it was worth. I can walk to cinema's, theaters,doctors,dentists, restaurants,cafes, farmers markets and modern super markets. I live on a cliff overlooking the pacific ocean and three blocks the other way is the center of the city. I can walk anywhere 24 hours a day without much thought for safety.

We are considering re-shoring to the USA for 5 years (SS survivor eligibility) and wish to live in center city in a place like Pittsburgh which I am told is the easternmost city in the USA with mid western values.
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:52 PM   #3
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The urban supermarket is definitely a plus. It's also a sign that a redeveloping urban area has reached a point of critical mass.

To attract and retain a fair number of the former suburbanites, the area needs to be well along in a progression from food "desert" to corner groceries with fresh fruit to an actual supermarket. A City Target like Ha's in Seattle is a final step. Cool concept.
City Target rolls out red carpet for DTLA opening :: blogdowntown

The smart grocery corporations seem to be catching on. Their newer designs provide structured parking, which is needed to serve customers living beyond walking distance. Hospital-sized elevators or angled moving sidewalks allow a cart to be wheeled to the car. Some have a special escalator just for carts:
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Old 11-21-2012, 08:57 PM   #4
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We are considering re-shoring to the USA for 5 years (SS survivor eligibility) and wish to live in center city in a place like Pittsburgh which I am told is the easternmost city in the USA with mid western values.
Like you, I grew up in the NYC burbs. We are very happy in the Denver area, but from what I have seen you could do worse than Omaha, Denver, and perhaps Columbus.
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Old 11-22-2012, 12:11 AM   #5
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The urban supermarket is definitely a plus. It's also a sign that a redeveloping urban area has reached a point of critical mass.

To attract and retain a fair number of the former suburbanites, the area needs to be well along in a progression from food "desert" to corner groceries with fresh fruit to an actual supermarket. A City Target like Ha's in Seattle is a final step. Cool concept.
City Target rolls out red carpet for DTLA opening :: blogdowntown

The smart grocery corporations seem to be catching on. Their newer designs provide structured parking, which is needed to serve customers living beyond walking distance. Hospital-sized elevators or angled moving sidewalks allow a cart to be wheeled to the car. Some have a special escalator just for carts:
That cart escalator is what the City Target has. Whole Foods is on one level with underground parking. We also have a large Asian supermarket with excellent produce, meats and fish in the International District, just south of Pioneer Square and an easy walk from the middle of downtown. Also a Kress IGA, right in the center of downtown, a few blocks from Pike Place Market. And Pike Place Market itself has excellent produce, meats and fish. The Target completes the array with most of the things that a suburban Target sells. Prior to its opening this past summer, I got most of my "stuff" at Bed Bath and Beyond, just north of Macy's on 3rd Avenue. A very nice store I believe.

The last time I was in Cincinnati a few years ago, there was Findlay Market but little else as I remember. Welcome! | Findlay Market of Cincinnati, Ohio

Ha
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Old 11-22-2012, 07:17 AM   #6
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I wouldn't live anywhere but a city although I would restrict my choice to vibrant, relatively safe areas. I have two full service supermarkets nearby including a Harris Teeter with a cart escalator like Ha showed and underground parking. In addition I have a 100+ year old market 2 blocks away with independent vendors including 2 butchers, 2 produce, 2 poultry, 1 cheese, 1 deli, 1 fish, 1 bakery, 1 miscellaneous stuff.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:05 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by haha View Post
http://www.bizjournals.com/cincinnati/news/2012/11/21/developer-looks-to-convert-downtowns.html?ana=e_du_pub&s=article_du&ed=2012-11-21
Cincinnati is a very attractive city, but until the last 10 or 15 years few non-indigent people wanted to live in its downtown. My 70+ Dad got badly mugged waiting at a bus stop in the City Center, 6th and Vine. But I have a cousin who has lived downtown in the 8th and Walnut area for years. She does it because she does not drive, and bus and taxi service is much better from downtown. But very famous old downtown restaurants have closed or relocated to the suburbs recently, and some nightclubs have closed.

Living downtown is almost always quite a bit more expensive for rent and/or purchase, and parking if you own a car. Very nice upscale suburbs on both the Ohio and Kentucky side of the river usually offer cheaper rent or purchase price than the same space downtown.

And of course, in some cities including Cincinnati, downtown has been notoriously more violent in the very recent past and probably also today.
I grew up first in a streetcar suburb-literally, as when I was a boy the streetcars ran out from city center as spokes on a wheel. Later the tracks were torn up and buses continued the same pattern. Then we moved to a true city location, though farther from the CBD and retail core than is my situation today. I really like city living, but I have always lived very close to City Center, other than when I was raising children, so it feels like home to me.

But the there must be people moving into these newer urban developments and conversions who have never lived downtown before. Maybe worked downtown while raising kids in the suburbs, but want to move downtown as empty nesters or retirees.

It will bear watching. Living downtown makes physical demands since you walk much more. It makes demands on your street awareness. And daily living is different- often no true supermarkets, though any more there are usually year around farmers' markets, some excellent meat markets that survive from the prewar era, and fish markets in coastal cities. As the residential population grows, so do the retail services. Often more expensive, but nevertheless present. Seattle has Whole Foods in So Lake Union, Metropolitan Market in Uptown at the base of Queen Ann, and even a newly opened City Target right center of downtown. As far as I know, there are few or none of these things in Cincinnati, but if the people come, they will build.

I know we are mostly a suburban or even country group, but do any of you plan or know others who plan to live in more urban surroundings in retirement?

Ha
I've lived in the KY near-burbs of Cincy almost my entire life (Can see the skyline from our BR.). It is a visually attractive place with the hills & river(s). I find it and Pittsburgh - which is quite nice to me - similar. From living with the hills, I find flat places boring. The Mountain West is my ideal - Denver/COS/SLC/Santa Fe. But not going anywhere due to grandkids.

Yes, there is a lot of redevelopment going on in Cincy & it is perking up downtown a lot. It is cheap flyover country living & not bad traffic. I don't find it at all dangerous if you stay away from the drug business. I love the concept of city living, but wouldn't live in any where I consider the local government spending wasteful. Cincy is included in that. Additionally, DW is not interested. Likes being around her tennis buddies.
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Old 11-22-2012, 09:21 AM   #8
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I have 5 large supermarkets within about 10 square blocks of my apartment. Multi-story Supermarkets (like the one pictured, a block away)are all equipped large elevators and cart escalators and underground car parks.

Super markets here have concierge service where you come and sit in the cafe, in 30 mins they have washed your car, collected everything on your list and checked you out and loaded your groceries in the car and then they collect you at the cafe and swipe your card.

I enjoy the shopping experience so I do it myself and as I do not have a car, Uniformed porters will carry your groceries (for free) to your apartment within 5 blocks.

Yesterday morning I was at the central market (farmers market) to pick up fresh fish for breakfast. It is all displayed and they do not use ice, because it is all gone within a few hours of being caught. It is a cultural thing that Peruvians only eat fish for breakfast or lunch. Fresh shrimp goes for $5.24 a pound here and also picked up a rack of center cut pork chops for less than half that.
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Old 11-22-2012, 05:39 PM   #9
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I grew up N of NYC, and enjoyed the proximity of the Big Apple for school and summer camp field trips. Would I live there back then, or now ?

I had to travel quite a bit for my j*b to large US cities, and always felt unsafe if I walked outside, even in broad daylight in "decent areas". Women by themselves are always considered an easy mark. I used cabs to go from Point A to Point B.

I am 54 years young now, living out in the country in East Nowhere, so maybe my perspective is different because I can still drive. If that were not the case, I would go immediately to Plan B.

Not sure what Plan B would be, but it would have to be close to a VA hospital for Mr B's sake.

For now it is not broken, so...
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:52 AM   #10
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We are considering re-shoring to the USA for 5 years (SS survivor eligibility) and wish to live in center city in a place like Pittsburgh which I am told is the easternmost city in the USA with mid western values.
Interesting. I'm also an expat, my wife is 20 years younger and we have a young daughter who is a usa dual citizen. Are there other requirements for (SS survivor eligibility) such a needing to be married for 10 years or others?
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Old 11-23-2012, 07:32 AM   #11
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We've never lived anywhere but suburbia our entire lives. We would like to move to an urban environment and we plan to rent for 6-12 months in an medium-large city urban area when we move to try it out. But as the OP mentions, costs are net higher (despite some offsetting costs), so it's a tough choice IMO. But it's a topic of interest to me, three good books on the topic that I've read (who knows if any of their projections will prove correct).

THE NEXT HUNDRED MILLION: America in 2050 | Joel Kotkin

The Great Reset by Richard Florida | Creative Class Group

$20 Per Gallon: How the Inevitable Rise in the Price of Gasoline Will Change Our Lives for the Better: Christopher Steiner: Amazon.com: Books
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:14 AM   #12
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I spent Thanksgiving at the very nicer home of a relative. It is in a development of about 300 houses. As far as I can tell he is a minimum of a 15 minute round trip by car to get to any retail or professional service. Without a car a simple trip to the store to buy a quart of milk or loaf of bread has to be a minimum of a 45 minute walk at a quick pace. And there are no sidewalks. There are a few bus stops on the main arterial, (again quite a walk just to get there) but the service is about one bus an hour - not very practical.

There are no central gathering points in the neighborhood. No pubs, no cafe's, no coffee houses, not even a sleazy bar. The nearest park is a long walk, much to long for children, and remember, no sidewalks for the children to walk on.

I can't imagine living in such a sterile place. But, obviously some people must like it.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:27 AM   #13
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It seems like a *lot* of the high rise buildings in our Central Business District (downtown) are being converted to condominiums, and many of these appear to be empty.

We don't know of any New Orleanians that are buying into them, for a number of reasons ranging from cultural disdain of condos, to lack of parking, to higher cost than local real estate can generally demand. Even more puzzling, is why there are so many places to live being added, but almost no places to work.

My hypothesis/explanation is that the target buyers are those from other states who want a pied a terre in New Orleans for their yearly week of debauchery around Mardi Gras or JazzFest. Another hypothesis that I have heard is that these are being built as a tax write-off.
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Old 11-23-2012, 04:45 PM   #14
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Interesting. I'm also an expat, my wife is 20 years younger and we have a young daughter who is a usa dual citizen. Are there other requirements for (SS survivor eligibility) such a needing to be married for 10 years or others?
Gotcha beat by 8 years! I have a dual citizen Son of 7 years and we are planning on having a new baby when I turn 61.

I do not want to steer you wrong with the 10 year married rule. My belief is any couple must be married for at least 10 years in order to collect on the others record ( not only for survivor benefits), YMMV!

I believe your wife can collect 50% of your FRA, until your child is 16 as long as you lived as a couple for 5 years in the USA and some other countries( ie. Chile).
I could be wrong but I think this is the only case where the 10 year rule does not apply.

We are looking at Pittsburgh as they have top rated public high schools in the area and I have heard (not verified) that the Univ. of Pittsburgh, would be tuition free.
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Old 11-23-2012, 05:18 PM   #15
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I worked in Downtown Chicago, lived in the suburbs from 79 to 86. After the first year of bringing the family into the city for the attractions, just went back and forth on the train to work. To tell the truth, I was afraid of the city. Haven't been back since I retired, though we live less than 100 miles away.
On the other hand, some young friends, early thirties,who had been born an brought up in rural Illinois, decided to move in to the city proper after 'his' job moved there.
Both very smart, very modern (my term). From a standard 2000s.f. house, they moved to a walk-up, small apartment... had two children... sold car... he carries bike up the stairs to the hallway.... she, the baby...

They are ultimately happy. Do the full culture thing, (Chicago is fantastic for that)... shop farmer's market, go to concerts, museums, eat ethnic and will never go back to the old homestead.

Not for me, but after seeing them being so happy... can understand.
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Old 11-23-2012, 06:54 PM   #16
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When married, I lived in the suburbs, but now I live very near downtown -- ride my bike 2.5 miles to work each way (mostly on off-road trail) and I could probably live happily carfree, though I'm not ready yet to take that step.

My 66 year old friend and his wife have lived in the area for 30+ years, and my 64 year old friend and his wife bought a condo here after retirement, partly to take advantage of closer attractions and partly so they could go down to one car more easily than in the suburbs.

I definitely see more interest among my older friends of living near (but not in) downtown. I don't know how other cities are, but here, there are a lot of nice condo and single family home options within a few miles of the actual downtown.

While there are more physical demands of walking, that can also be a plus, to be somewhat forced to be active (in the use it or lose it vein.) After my grandmother was forced to give up driving, she was much more isolated than she would have been had she lived in a more walkable area.
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Old 11-23-2012, 09:13 PM   #17
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The target nearest to us has a cart escalator and the nearest Harris Teeter (high-ish end grocery store) has an elevator. Both are a couple miles away (and located near each other) but not in downtown proper at all, but instead a few miles outside of downtown in an area that has started densifying greatly the last 10 years. I'm waiting for the densification to work its way over to my neighborhood because our neighborhood and the low rent commercial and industrial land uses around it would be prime spaces for more dense development. And it wouldn't hurt property values either! (land values just a couple miles away are 3-5x what they are in my neighborhood)

Most new neighbors seem to be 20-, 30-, or 40-something professionals, some with kids, that like low property values and living "in the city" but in a traditional suburban neighborhood.
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