by: Joanie Amato Spain
stored in: General

I heard an interesting story on NPR earlier this week. In Phoenix, Arizona “a small developer is buying up foreclosed houses near mass transit lines in the city, renovating them to green building standards, and marketing them to young professionals who may be tired of commuting.”

The story went on to say that this developer believes that young professionals, tiring of a hectic suburban lifestyle which includes long commutes, will want to simplify and explore sustainability and greener living options. Designer Amy Bobier commented for the piece, “I do see a change happening…People are more [interested in] spaces that function well, that are well priced, that meet their budget.”

I wonder if we might start to notice a similar trend in cities like Dayton?

In many large metropolitan areas [like Washington DC, Boston, and Baltimore] property values are sky high near downtown commerce centers and on the mass transit lines. Real estate is cheaper in the outer suburbs, but the commute time and hassle is significantly greater.

In cities like Dayton however, square footage is a bargain, commute time is minimal, and fine dining, arts, and entertainment can be a short walk away. Historic city neighborhoods like Huffman offer Victorian charm at an unbelievable price and while there are a few rules governing exterior renovations and restoration, interior spaces may be modernized, upgraded, and remodeled to owners’ specifications and preferences. It is possible to “upsize” into a large Victorian beauty and still have a lower mortgage payment, less yard to mow, and old fashioned block parties with great neighbors.

Young professionals, empty-nesters, and growing families alike are rediscovering the joys and rewards of City living—not just in Phoenix, but right here in Huffman!


3 Responses to “A New Kind of Urban Renewal”

  1. Jamie Bailey Oliver Says:

    I, too, love living in Dayton. Dan and I travel in opposite directions to our respective workplaces, yet we are both within 8-10 minutes of getting there. Great shopping is within 20 minutes or LESS in just about any direction too. My favorite grocery store, Dorothy Lane Market, may not be Whole Foods–which would be fun to have here–but it’s inventory is close enough so I can live with it!

  2. Joel Michael Says:

    I’ve read several accounts of similar development plans. They definitely influenced the Tiny Town post (http://historichuffman.org/?p=201) on this site.

    Even though upsizing to a big old Victorian is very cheap in Dayton, I can understand the small living movement. As we renovate more and more of our house, I wonder what we’ll do with all the space. It seems like a silly concern until you consider the cost of heating and cooling rooms you never use.

    Though, I suppose that is another benefit of the mix of houses in Huffman. We have at least as many smaller Victorians as we have very large homes. I wonder if people like us will renovate a large house first only to downsize later.

  3. Joanie Amato Spain Says:

    You’re right Joel. The original NPR story talked quite a bit about downsizing. It seems to me that the mix of houses in Historic Huffman [including quite a few of those wonderful signature Dayton cottages] could make downsizing an easy and affordable option for many interested in the small living movement.

    A couple of weeks ago, I met a couple exploring a move to Huffman from the suburbs. They have 4 or 5 children and are attracted, in part, by the availability and affordability of larger homes in our neighborhood, too.

    Historic Huffman, and neighborhoods like ours, are certainly not cookie-cutter. Location + character + price = interesting and exciting options!

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