Downtown Demographics

Downtown - North Loop - Mill District - Elliot Park - Loring Park
Viktor Vaughn
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Downtown Demographics

Postby Viktor Vaughn » March 15th, 2013, 11:01 am

That's a good point, TWA. I think most people who *think* they'd like to live downtown would be better off renting before buying. Even just renting an apartment for a year could really give you an idea of what to look for in a downtown condo. Which neighborhood do you want to live in? What building amenities will you actually use? Can you get away with only one car for a couple or do you need to buy two parking spots? Renting downtown could really help someone make a better long term choice about a real estate purchase. Some may decide downtown living is not for them or get bored with it quick, but generally I'd think it'd be a good stepping stone to buy a condo.

Buying a house should really be a long term proposition. If someone buys $300K condo and wants to sell after a year because downtown is not for them, the commissions and brokerage costs on just the sale could be $21,000, or $1,750 dollars a month on top of principal, interest, real estate taxes, insurance, & association dues. So with 20% down that may be a $1,200 mortgage, $375 in taxes, $175 for insurance, $400 in association dues, and $1,750 for closing costs pro-rated over one year. With a housing cost of $3,900/month you could rent quite a nice place and not gamble on the housing market with a downpayment. Principal reduction the first year would be less than $4,000, not nearly enough to offset selling costs.

Renting downtown is just going to make more sense for many people. Transplants that come to MSP to work for a short period of time, boomers who want to downsize after the kids move out, and recent graduates who haven’t started a family yet are all prime candidates to benefit from the flexibility of renting.

And living downtown won’t be for everyone, but the more people who try it, the more who will buy condos because they wouldn’t want to live anywhere else.

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby TWA » March 18th, 2013, 7:52 am

Viktor- you got it exactly. I see why the rental market is booming- it's by far the most economical option for anyone who is new to the market- boomers relocating from a single family, young people just starting out, relo's etc. But especially the younger generations- let's say you are in your late 20's and rent downtown for several years. I bet a lot of them will want to eventually buy, and stay in their same neighborhood. Plus all the boomers who already have equity in their single family homes- most of them would prefer to trade for another place they can own. I just get worried about the out-of-whack rental ratio of downtown and think that a more sustainable neighborhood would include more ownership units eventually. Fingers crossed...

min-chi-cbus
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 18th, 2013, 8:47 am

As a dude in his early 30's, I can tell you that despite my best efforts, if we had started in downtown before we had kids it would not have mattered one iota to the wife who prefers that our kids grow up with (some) green space a few steps away and obviously, the best schools we can afford to live near. I'm not suggesting that you are wrong, however, just that it's never as simple or black/white as people can sometimes be lead to believe. My wife and I are both urbanists (me much more so) but it'd be a very hard sell to live in a smaller downtown unit with especially more than one young child and then INVEST into theirs and our future further by laying a stake in the ground and putting all of our faith in the school district and neighborhood that we're in. It'd be unconventional to say the least, and there is no precedent for it in either of our families, including mine from inner-city Chicago a generation ago (they never lived in a downtown setting either).

I realize there will be exceptions to my personal example (we aren't trendsetters by any stretch of the imagination either), but I'm trying to make a valid counter point to yours. I think where your point is MOST valid is for empty-nesters, who again probably never lived in a downtown setting before (or even in the inner-city in many cases) and want to try it out first before making an investment.

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Nick
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Nick » March 18th, 2013, 8:57 am

This is an interesting conversation. A lot of it seems to be focusing on an imaginary couple in their late 20s with a toddler. Out of curiosity, can anyone imagine a downtown where a family with, say, three teenagers could live? Just as a thought exercise. For some reason, that seems harder than tunneling the LRT under 5th Street.

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Didier » March 18th, 2013, 9:27 am

I agree that the link between 20-somethings renting in downtown to 30-somethings raising families in owned properties downtown is probably overstated.

One of the myths perpetuated on this forum is that Minneapolis is way out of wack by having urban neighborhoods that cater mostly to younger (or older) childless crowds. The reality is that downtowns, and neighborhoods such as Uptown, will always be better suited for this demographic. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I understand the desire to make downtown more appealing to families, and it is a good goal especially for the Mill City and other neighborhoods on the downtown periphery. However, we've gotten to the point of complaining that the Plymouth Building won't be a suitable place to raise a family, as if any family would ever chose the Plymouth Building to raise a family in the first place.

A much more realistic goal — and more important, in my opinion — is not attracting families to downtown but attracting middle-class families to Minneapolis in general. There are plenty of great areas just outside downtown that would by most objective standards be better places to raise children anyway. We need these neighborhoods to start filling up with families who a generation ago would have moved to Minnetonka or Golden Valley upon popping one out.

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Jez » March 18th, 2013, 9:38 am

Didier wrote:I agree that the link between 20-somethings renting in downtown to 30-somethings raising families in owned properties downtown is probably overstated.

One of the myths perpetuated on this forum is that Minneapolis is way out of wack by having urban neighborhoods that cater mostly to younger (or older) childless crowds. The reality is that downtowns, and neighborhoods such as Uptown, will always be better suited for this demographic. And there is nothing wrong with that.

I understand the desire to make downtown more appealing to families, and it is a good goal especially for the Mill City and other neighborhoods on the downtown periphery. However, we've gotten to the point of complaining that the Plymouth Building won't be a suitable place to raise a family, as if any family would ever chose the Plymouth Building to raise a family in the first place.

A much more realistic goal — and more important, in my opinion — is not attracting families to downtown but attracting middle-class families to Minneapolis in general. There are plenty of great areas just outside downtown that would by most objective standards be better places to raise children anyway. We need these neighborhoods to start filling up with families who a generation ago would have moved to Minnetonka or Golden Valley upon popping one out.
Maybe we should create another thread as this is a great conversation.

min-chi-cbus
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 18th, 2013, 9:51 am

Nick wrote:This is an interesting conversation. A lot of it seems to be focusing on an imaginary couple in their late 20s with a toddler. Out of curiosity, can anyone imagine a downtown where a family with, say, three teenagers could live? Just as a thought exercise. For some reason, that seems harder than tunneling the LRT under 5th Street.
I can see something like Hell's Kitchen in NYC or the even the Upper East Side, but nothing in a skyscraper-type setting. Families living in downtown TEND TO generally be either quite rich and exclusive, or blue-collar and borderline poor. I realize both segments of the population are expanding though. Maybe the best place to start looking for good examples to try to incorporate into American cities are cities in other countries (mainly European or Asian countries).

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby John » March 18th, 2013, 10:05 am

To attract families with children downtown, you need to have good and accessible schools, especially at the elementary level where there is currently a growing demographic. There has been some talk of opening up a public elementary school, and if that happened, I think it would be helpful in attracting even more young families. But then the issue would be to retain these families living downtown as the children move into junior high and beyond. In my crystal ball, I see the very affluent parents with children staying put and sending their kids to private schools. For more middle class families, there may be a out migration to the suburbs for better high schools, unless the future Mpls public school system is flexible (and financially able) enough to address their needs.

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby MNdible » March 18th, 2013, 10:17 am

Nick wrote:Out of curiosity, can anyone imagine a downtown where a family with, say, three teenagers could live?
Three teenagers living under the same roof?

[shudder]

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Andy » March 18th, 2013, 11:40 am

Nick wrote:Out of curiosity, can anyone imagine a downtown where a family with, say, three teenagers could live? Just as a thought exercise. For some reason, that seems harder than tunneling the LRT under 5th Street.
I’m new to this board, but have been lurking for a few weeks and appreciate the discussion. I thought I’d briefly share that my family, which includes two teenagers, are planning to move to Stonebridge from a near western Minneapolis suburb. We actually moved out of MPLS 10 years ago driven in part by elementary school options, and are excited about returning to the city. The Mill District is appealing for a number of reasons, e.g., green space, bike paths, farmers’ market, ice cream, etc., while still being part of the urban core.

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Viktor Vaughn » March 18th, 2013, 12:03 pm

min-chi-cbus wrote:As a dude in his early 30's, I can tell you that despite my best efforts, if we had started in downtown before we had kids it would not have mattered one iota to the wife who prefers that our kids grow up with (some) green space a few steps away and obviously, the best schools we can afford to live near. I'm not suggesting that you are wrong, however, just that it's never as simple or black/white as people can sometimes be lead to believe. My wife and I are both urbanists (me much more so) but it'd be a very hard sell to live in a smaller downtown unit with especially more than one young child and then INVEST into theirs and our future further by laying a stake in the ground and putting all of our faith in the school district and neighborhood that we're in. It'd be unconventional to say the least, and there is no precedent for it in either of our families, including mine from inner-city Chicago a generation ago (they never lived in a downtown setting either).
It's funny how similar our situations are. We're the same age (as noted from a prior post), married with one young child and another on the way.

My wife and I rented a small downtown condo in a fourth floor walk-up for two years prior to our first child. It was a good time. I work downtown and she did for a while too. We walked everywhere and both were in the best shape of our lives. We moved to a larger place in Northeast when the condo owner decided to sell. (She sold the unit in a shortsale for less than half the price she purchased it for at the height of the market. She moved to Lakeville after getting married and having kids. I can guarantee renting would have been a much better choice for her than buying a downtown condo).

Since we had our first child, it's hard to imagine how we would have lived there with one baby, much less two kids. These days I have a basement full of strollers, bike trailers, swings, walkers, car seats and all types of other toddler paraphernalia we would have had no place to put in our downtown apartment.

Once you have kids the downtown cost-benefit calculation changes drastically. By exchanging an eight minute walking commute with a twenty minute bike ride, we doubled our square footage and went from one bedroom to two (plus an office) and we pay the exact same price. Plus we can still walk to the store, elementary school, & park, bike to the library, and my wife is much more comfortable walking alone at night in our neighborhood then she was in Downtown East.

Short of discovering I have a trust fund (0% chance), it's hard to see how we could afford to live downtown with kids. But still, that chance to live downtown will always be romanticized in our minds, and having done so will likely increase our chance of doing so again when the kids have gone to college. So I agree with your point, but also think living downtown in your twenties could increase the chance of doing so again when you’re old and more adverse to trying new things.
Didier wrote:A much more realistic goal — and more important, in my opinion — is not attracting families to downtown but attracting middle-class families to Minneapolis in general. There are plenty of great areas just outside downtown that would by most objective standards be better places to raise children anyway. We need these neighborhoods to start filling up with families who a generation ago would have moved to Minnetonka or Golden Valley upon popping one out.
I completely agree. There are so many close-in neighborhoods that are much more affordable than downtown. Do you think there is a correlation between renting in downtown/uptown in your twenties and buying within easy biking/transit distance of those neighborhoods when you have kids?

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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby twincitizen » March 18th, 2013, 3:25 pm

^That would be some interesting data to look at.

I'm willing to bet there is a positive correlation between those who "try" the city by renting somewhere like Uptown, and those who wind up eventually buying a home inside city limits, versus moving out to the burbs. For the purposes of this, I wouldn't count living on/near campus during college as "trying out the city" because those folks aren't really making a choice to live in the city, it's more out of necessity/proximity.

Someone who grew up in the burbs and returned to the burbs right after college (or never went to college in the first place) is probably unlikely to choose an in-city neighborhood when they purchase a home, because they are oblivious to many of the benefits that city living offers (walkability, neighborhood-scale businesses, transit/bike options for commuting, etc). Someone who has lived in suburbs exclusively might be more likely to associate urban living with only the negatives (crime rate, noise, traffic, smaller living spaces, etc)

min-chi-cbus
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 18th, 2013, 3:54 pm

Viktor Vaughn wrote:It's funny how similar our situations are. We're the same age (as noted from a prior post), married with one young child and another on the way.

My wife and I rented a small downtown condo in a fourth floor walk-up for two years prior to our first child. It was a good time. I work downtown and she did for a while too. We walked everywhere and both were in the best shape of our lives. We moved to a larger place in Northeast when the condo owner decided to sell. (She sold the unit in a shortsale for less than half the price she purchased it for at the height of the market. She moved to Lakeville after getting married and having kids. I can guarantee renting would have been a much better choice for her than buying a downtown condo).

Since we had our first child, it's hard to imagine how we would have lived there with one baby, much less two kids. These days I have a basement full of strollers, bike trailers, swings, walkers, car seats and all types of other toddler paraphernalia we would have had no place to put in our downtown apartment.

Once you have kids the downtown cost-benefit calculation changes drastically. By exchanging an eight minute walking commute with a twenty minute bike ride, we doubled our square footage and went from one bedroom to two (plus an office) and we pay the exact same price. Plus we can still walk to the store, elementary school, & park, bike to the library, and my wife is much more comfortable walking alone at night in our neighborhood then she was in Downtown East.

Short of discovering I have a trust fund (0% chance), it's hard to see how we could afford to live downtown with kids. But still, that chance to live downtown will always be romanticized in our minds, and having done so will likely increase our chance of doing so again when the kids have gone to college. So I agree with your point, but also think living downtown in your twenties could increase the chance of doing so again when you’re old and more adverse to trying new things.
You're not my wife, are you? :o

I think people can and do live very comfortably in urban environments in and around downtown areas, but those environments are rarely squat mid-rises like 222 or high-rises like 1368 LaSalle.....instead, they're the rowhomes or townhouses you see a lot in places like Lincoln Park in Chicago (a few blocks West of the Lake), or even single-family detached homes built very close together (I believe this is what my mother grew up with through highschool). I'd personally LOVE to see a DTE block or small section be dedicated to this kind of housing targeting this kind of demographic: young middle-income families. I don't care if it's the 2-4 least desirable blocks within the downtown "loop" (interstates), but any area where the middle class can build a sense of community within downtown would be an awesome plus in my opinion.

I don't have a genius idea of where this could go though, as DTE is probably already too pricey for this kind of lower-intensity development.......perhaps somewhere in Nordeast?

Viktor Vaughn
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Viktor Vaughn » March 18th, 2013, 4:27 pm

twincitizen wrote:I'm willing to bet there is a positive correlation between those who "try" the city by renting somewhere like Uptown, and those who wind up eventually buying a home inside city limits, versus moving out to the burbs. For the purposes of this, I wouldn't count living on/near campus during college as "trying out the city" because those folks aren't really making a choice to live in the city, it's more out of necessity/proximity.
Without disagreeing with your point about living on campus, I just want to share this Bill Lindeke post on TC Sidewalks. It was posted over two years ago, but somehow I remembered it like I read it last week... I guess good writing stays with you like that. I'm also responsible for the only (anonymous) comment on the post.

A University Campus is Urban Training Wheels
min-chi-cbus wrote:You're not my wife, are you? :o
That's not what I meant when I said, " We're {...} married with one young child and another on the way. I should have said "We're BOTH married..."

But don't forget to pick up milk on the way home... ;)

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Re: Downtown Demographics

Postby Tyler » March 18th, 2013, 4:40 pm

It's obviously not the local mindset, but I personally don't see the need for all the space. I don't have kids yet, but we're going to stay in our 1100 sq ft downtown condo as long as possible (I'll go ahead and put the over/under on my oldest child's age when we move at 9). But my wife did grow up in a ~400 sq ft one bedroom apartment with her parents and sister and I like to pretend I'm mad urban so we aren't exactly typical.
Towns!

min-chi-cbus
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Re: Downtown Demographics

Postby min-chi-cbus » March 18th, 2013, 6:27 pm

Tyler wrote:It's obviously not the local mindset, but I personally don't see the need for all the space. I don't have kids yet, but we're going to stay in our 1100 sq ft downtown condo as long as possible (I'll go ahead and put the over/under on my oldest child's age when we move at 9). But my wife did grow up in a ~400 sq ft one bedroom apartment with her parents and sister and I like to pretend I'm mad urban so we aren't exactly typical.
I agree 100%, in fact, I'm very AGAINST having to maintain a large lawn or living right next to a forest (filled with all kinds of creatures and insects!). It's a pain in the ass and incredibly time consuming and these days I savor every minute of free time I get!!

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Re: Downtown Demographics

Postby Andy » March 18th, 2013, 8:01 pm

Yes! I can’t wait to end the snow shoveling, ice dam preventing, lawn mowing, weed pulling, fertilizing, and endless maintenance required by 50’s rambler that consumes too much of my free time. Of course, our “stuff” has expanded to fill our present accommodations, and we’re going to have to substantially down size to move downtown. But once we began to assess in earnest the “things” we really valued and stopped trying to think in terms of transplanting a sprawling suburban lifestyle, it’s been rather freeing.
Last edited by Andy on March 19th, 2013, 7:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

Tyler
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Re: StoneBridge (2nd Street South & 11th Avenue South)

Postby Tyler » March 18th, 2013, 8:24 pm

Andy wrote: I’m new to this board, but have been lurking for a few weeks and appreciate the discussion. I thought I’d briefly share that my family, which includes two teenagers, are planning to move to Stonebridge from a near western Minneapolis suburb. We actually moved out of MPLS 10 years ago driven in part by elementary school options, and are excited about returning to the city. The Mill District is appealing for a number of reasons, e.g., green space, bike paths, farmers’ market, ice cream, etc., while still being part of the urban core.
This is awesome, by the way.
Towns!

twincitizen
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Re: Downtown Demographics

Postby twincitizen » March 18th, 2013, 8:24 pm

Dudes: Please do not use the quote feature if you are responding to the post directly above yours. It is redundant and unnecessarily makes the page longer. Thank you.

Tyler
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Re: Downtown Demographics

Postby Tyler » March 18th, 2013, 8:37 pm

what
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