Tuesday, December 6, 2005

Condo Gap?

The nice Seattle woman who was asking me about real estate in Greensboro copied me on this e-mail to N&R writer Jim Schlosser (and gave me permission to post it):

I have been back and forth to Greensboro looking for luxury condos in downtown/urban area. The only ones were actually townhouses on Southeast/MLK with windows and rooms right on the street with cars driving by! I called the developers about the proposed Belleneade condos and 411 condos and none of them will have fireplaces! The porches/balconys are postage stamps. I looked at a Govenors Court unit and they had cement floors, no fireplaces, and the entry/front door is into the kitchen!

It seems that GSO has starter urban condos only, just a pile of stacked bricks after the surrounding trees and grass are razed. When boomers like me who have raised children move back to be near parents, we want all the luxuries of a home without the headaches. Seattle is full of lovely, spacious condos with views of the lake, mountains, etc. All luxury condos have elegant lobbys, fireplaces, views, terraces, varied floorplans, landscaped yards, formal entrances, etc.

I would gladly pay $400-500,000 for a Greensboro condo that met that standard. I was shocked to find such a charming downtown area bursting with potential growth and no place I would want to live! When I come back next month I will have to look for a house instead.


Darkmoon said...

one word: figures.

Jim Rosenberg said...

I have the same problem finding a suitable Manservant. I don't know what I'd do if it weren't for David Wharton. By the way DW -- the car is looking dirty, Chief.

Anonymous said...

Similar but not the same, a recent N&R featured a builder designing houses for the empty nesters. Higher end amenities just less space. It's exactly, I mean EXACTLY, what I want. The price in W-S (figures) is $200-$400. That's a do-able range. Isn't this similar to what your emailer wants?

When we saw the initial Bellemeade Village plans at ActionGSO, one close-to-my-age mucky-muck in GSO agreed with me. There was nothing like a patio home for us empty nesters. And there still isn't save for the $500K Lake Jeanette things.

It IS a market. It needs to be filled.

Anonymous said...

Is there a local market for this in GSO? The person looking/griping is from Seattle, and seems to be VERY particular. One of the big benefits of the Triad in general is cheap housing.

From what I've seen, compared to the Triangle, the number of high-end subdivisions in the Triad is significantly smaller.

It may be there, I'd just want to see more evidence before I took the risk, if I were a builder.

Diane Grey Davis said...

Lowell and I have shopped for a suitable condo close to downtown. We were looking for something on one floor (for old people with tired knees) and an outside deck or patio, and of course, a nice view.
Like the person from Wash., did not like the kitchen placement at Gov. Ct..
I think that we may have given up and will just stay here. We do love Westerwood, except for the trouble-makers in the WNA.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the housing market in GSO is fairly "uppity" anyway. Our prices are higher than most similar sized cities. I often find myself looking at the homes that sell for $300K and up and wonder where the HELL these people are working. Look at many of the newer subdivisions (execpt those located on the south and east side of town)and most middle-class HARD WORKING individuals could never afford them. My wife and I combined couldn't pay for those types of mortgages.

I think we have a real problem with trying to overprice new developments to "keep the riffraff out". Too often, I see neighborhoods opposing developments unless it "ups their property values" or at least maintains them. Take British Woods for example. They recently went before City Council and the Planning Board to oppose a new development which would contain a mix of uses including single-family residential, multi-family and commercial space. They claimed they wanted to "preserve the quality" of their neighborhood and were "concerned about increased traffic". Rubbish. They stuck their noses in the air because they simply didn't want the possiblity of lower income residents who might have been attracted to the multi-family units (townhomes, condos or apartments).

I think we need to get people to realize that there are advantages to having a healthy mix of housing types and prices. Having a mix of people with different incomes and backgrounds is what makes up a community. That is where our focus should be. As long as everyone has a stake in the NEIGHBOORHOOD, I think we would see that it is easy to mix housing types, incomes, etc. and STILL retain a nice looking community in which everyone would want to live.

Just my thoughts.