As a major metropolitan city (larger than Manhattan, Boston, and San Francisco ... combined), Detroit offers a variety of different options for urban living. Whether you prefer a quiet, family-friendly enclave surrounded by parks, or if you'd rather be surrounded by skyscrapers and the flurry of activity that city living provides, Detroit's individual neighborhoods are distinctly unique with something for every lifestyle preference.
? Lafayette Park offers the kind of urban living most desired by young families and young professionals who want a little bit of peace and quiet. Mies van der Rohe-designed townhomes and highrises are dotted around the sprawling Lafayette Plaisance, a large, well-tended park with lots of shady trees and places for kids to play. There is also an elementary school and a grocery store all located within steps of your front door, and living in Lafayette Park means you are situated with fast and easy access to Eastern Market (just walk across the park and cross Gratiot), the Detroit Riverwalk (the mid-way access point for the Dequindre Cut greenway just so happens to be at Lafayette and St. Aubin), and downtown Detroit – including Greektown, Campus Martius Park, the stadiums, the bars, and many of the theatres. You want walkability in a safe, friendly, picturesque neighborhood? Look no further than Lafayette Park. And design nerds/lovers of mid-century modern architecture will find no place more amenable to their aesthetic sensibilities.
? More quiet, idyllic neighborhoods seemingly situated far from the noise and chaos of city living, the Villages (as the waterfront communities located three miles east of downtown are referred to collectively) offer everything from huge historic homes and high-rise condos to edgy lofts and affordable apartments. Aside from the easy waterfront accessibility, the Villages offer the kind of small-town neighborhood living that isn't quite as pronounced in other Detroit neighborhoods. The communities are close-knit and residents all know and support each other. They have monthly cocktail parties and progressive dinners, neighborhood clean-ups, and community gardens, and they do it all out of their own desire to foster a sense of community. The fact that six distinct communities are collectively known as one further underscores that in the Villages, you will find the most neighborly of neighborhoods. Additionally, the Villages CDC is working hard to promote economic growth in the area, and West Village will see two new restaurants, a coffeehouse, and a spiritual tearoom open later in 2013.
? As Detroit's oldest neighborhood, Corktown is filled with historic charm. The residential homes of the Corktown Historic District are a mix of one- and two-story Victorian townhouses with Italiante, Gothic, and Queen Anne features and mid-19th
-century Federal-style detached homes and rowhouses. Corktown, originally established in the 1840s by Irish immigrants from the County Cork fleeing the Great Irish Potato Famine, has recently been the focus of many enthusiastic young professionals buying historic homes and restoring them. The neighbors are also exceptionally friendly, and at no time is this more evident than the annual Corktown parade, when roving groups of revelers bounce from house to house and homeowners/friends-of-friends-of-friends are more than happy to share their food, beer and whiskey – in the true Irish way. The housing stock here is arguably the best in the city, which is precisely why it's also now the hardest to come by. Contact O'Connor Real Estate
for leads on available rental units and houses for sale.
? If you want to be at the center of it all, look no further than Detroit's educational, medical, and cultural center. Midtown boasts the highest population density in the city of Detroit, full of students, artists, and working professionals. Midtown is the intellectual hub of Detroit, with both Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies located in the neighborhood, as well as multiple nationally-regarded hospitals and research facilities. Midtown is also home to the city's most extraordinary cultural institutions – including the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Max F. Fisher Music Center, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Michigan Science Center, and the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History. There is an ever-growing number of art studios and galleries, a burgeoning shopping and design district at Cass and Canfield, and a full-fledged arts district currently developing around the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit. From sprawling multi-bedroom historic homes to luxury condos, student apartments, and designer lofts, Midtown offers a wide range of housing options for those who want to live in the heart of Detroit.
? If it's downtown city life you seek, then downtown is where you must go. A recent flurry of skyscraper developments (including the Broderick Tower) have significantly increased the number of apartments, condos and lofts available, with more on the way
as the David Whitney Building is renovated over the next year and rumors abound regarding other vacant properties. Living downtown puts you right in the center of it all: the historic skyscrapers and daily hustle of the business district, the liveliness of game days at Comerica Park and Ford Field, almost-nightly performances at the Fox Theatre and the Fillmore, the exceptional urban park Campus Martius and urban garden Lafayette Greens, innumerable bars and restaurants and lounges, the retail development of Woodward Avenue, and so much more. This is big city action, and nowhere else in Detroit will life feel as flashy and fast-paced.
It would be a lie to say that New Center is currently on par with more heavily-developed neighborhoods like Midtown, downtown and Corktown, and New Center certainly has a long way to go before that comparison can really be made. But the fact is, if development continues to happen along Woodward at the rate at which it has been over the last 15 years (and especially in the last five), that development will continue to spread down the corridor – especially as Transform Woodward plans are implemented
and the M-1 Rail is constructed. New Center is now what Midtown and Corktown were 10 years ago – prime real estate for the picking for those who want to, quite literally, get in on the ground floor.