During the 1960s, many Atlantans abandoned their city homes for sprawling spaces in the suburbs. They felt that the promise of good schools, safe neighborhoods and less traffic was just too good to pass up.
Yet now, with the crash of the real estate market and the drop in home prices, combined with rising gas costs, Atlantans are reassessing their priorities and moving back to the city once again. Their stop? High-rise condominium buildings with easy walking access to the best that the city has to offer.
Here are three Atlantans’ takes on where and why they moved to a condo in the city.
Stephanie Armistead, Ansley Above the Park
Stephanie Armistead, owner of GreenBusiness Works, has lived in Ansley Above the Park (http://aatpcondos.com) on and off since 1988. She most recently moved back in a couple years ago and plans to stay put for a while as she’s on a mission to reduce her carbon footprint by “going AWAOC” (Atlanta WithOut A Car) for a full year starting on Earth Day. “I could not do this if I didn’t live in Midtown,” she says.
Armistead used to live in Cobb County, but she loves living in what she considers the epicenter of Atlanta: Midtown, especially being right on Piedmont Park. “I believe in the work, live and play aspect of life,” she says. “I love living on the Park – taking advantage of all it has to offer. I frequent the Green Market there, the restaurants on the fringe and walk to almost every amenity I can.” Armistead also rides her bike to tennis matches at the Park, walks to the symphony, the High and the Alliance theatre and attends events in Botanical Gardens. “I love the development density, the diversity and the community connectivity. It’s all good!” she says.
David and Kelly Jensen moved into the Gallery Condominiums (www.gallerybuckhead.com) on Peachtree Street in South Buckhead in mid-Februrary. After moving from the suburbs a few years ago, the Jensens saw the mid-rise building featured on TV and decided to take a closer look. “Once I saw the inside, the views, and met the staff, I was hooked,” David says. “The location is great, and the pool and tennis areas have nice views of downtown.”
Another advantage of living at the Gallery is the walkability. “I’ve become more of a pedestrian since moving intown,” he says. “There are numerous small parks throughout the city limits. It is fun to walk or run and explore these hidden gems.” The Jensens enjoy parking their cars after work on Friday and walking in one direction, checking out nearby restaurants like Willy’s and Fellini’s, then walking in the other direction the next day, and not getting back into their cars until Monday comes around. David says downsizing helped him to simplify his life, too, by forcing him to examine what he had and what he needed. ‘The transition was fun,” he says.
A Jonesboro High School teacher, Jeffrey Cox, 42, may work in the suburbs, but he loves high-rise living in Midtown. Previously a resident of the Old Fourth Ward, Cox rented a unit in Spire Midtown (www.spiremidtown.com) for three years before the drop in the market and the $6,500 long-time buyer tax credit convinced him to buy. Why Spire? “Having been there over the last few years, it really grew on me. I also find the gym facilities too convenient. No excuses – I’m in the weight and cardio rooms every day,” he says.
While the 20-plus-mile commute can make getting to and from work a challenge – especially on Fridays – Cox says it’s worth it to be able to park his car on weekends and not move it again until Monday mornings. Plus, he likes the neighborly feel of Cypress Pint and Plate nearby, as he says it’s perfect for kicking back with friends.
“Even with the lull in the market, most units are going to be priced higher than the OTP competitors, of course,” he says. “But for me, there are few negative aspects involving my move, my location. I’m quite happy.”