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  1. #1

    Default Should we move to Lafayette Park?

    My wife and I are moving to Detroit this summer. We currently live in Chicago (Lakeview/Lincoln Park). We have looked at a few different neighborhoods and surrounding cities, but nothing is jumping off the page. My new office will be in Grosse Pointe, but would still like to live in an area that has some hustle and bustle, night life and social scene.

    We are in our early 30's and I don't think kids are too far off, so we would also like to consider some where safe for kids, i.e, parks, playgrounds, etc.

    Our concerns:

    How safe is downtown? Can I walk home alone after a night game at Comerica? Could my wife walk back to Lafayette Park after a night out with some friends downtown?

    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by SephDan View Post
    My wife and I are moving to Detroit this summer. We currently live in Chicago (Lakeview/Lincoln Park). We have looked at a few different neighborhoods and surrounding cities, but nothing is jumping off the page. My new office will be in Grosse Pointe, but would still like to live in an area that has some hustle and bustle, night life and social scene.

    We are in our early 30's and I don't think kids are too far off, so we would also like to consider some where safe for kids, i.e, parks, playgrounds, etc.

    Our concerns:

    How safe is downtown? Can I walk home alone after a night game at Comerica? Could my wife walk back to Lafayette Park after a night out with some friends downtown?

    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!
    Sounds like you have picked an excellent neighborhood to start out with! Lafayette Park is one of the safest neighborhoods in the city and has a lot of professionals as residents. As far as safety is concerned, if you have common sense you will be just fine in Lafayette Park. It's right by Jefferson too which will make getting to Grosse Pt. easy.

    For downtown, Downtown Detroit is one of the safest big-city downtowns in the nation. (http://thedetroithub.com/site/user/f...rimeReport.pdf). Again as long as you use common sense you will be fine.

    I hope you enjoy whatever neighborhood you choose however!

  3. #3

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    Yeah, it's a good area and Lafayette blvd is beautiful in the summer. There's not much nightlife in *immediate* walking distance of there, but Downtown is a short walk away, and a very short bike ride. I'd really recommend getting a bike if you live there, you'll be able to shoot up the Dequindre cut to Eastern Market on Saturdays, and biking exponentially increases the radius of bars and restaurants you can get to in >15 minutes.

    Walking back from downtown at night, your wife might want company sometimes, especially with the streetlights in disrepair as they are sometimes. But all things considered, if you're working in GP and playing Downtown, it's a perfect situation. And if your co workers in the pointes think you're living in the ghetto, just ignore them

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by j to the jeremy View Post
    Yeah, it's a good area and Lafayette blvd is beautiful in the summer. There's not much nightlife in *immediate* walking distance of there, but Downtown is a short walk away, and a very short bike ride. I'd really recommend getting a bike if you live there, you'll be able to shoot up the Dequindre cut to Eastern Market on Saturdays, and biking exponentially increases the radius of bars and restaurants you can get to in >15 minutes.

    Walking back from downtown at night, your wife might want company sometimes, especially with the streetlights in disrepair as they are sometimes. But all things considered, if you're working in GP and playing Downtown, it's a perfect situation. And if your co workers in the pointes think you're living in the ghetto, just ignore them
    I am a new bike owner, and have enjoyed riding around the city (and out of the city, too). But, I don't commute around downtown on my bike because I feel there aren't a lot of good, safe places to park it. I ride THROUGH downtown, but I am never convinced that if I go in somewhere, my bike will still be there when I get out. I have had a bike stolen in East Lansing (best bike I ever owned!), and one in Brooklyn. In all my travels, the only place I ever felt that had ample, secure-seeming, widely dispersed bike parking areas was Washington, DC. Do a lot of people here actually commute (for work or otherwise) by bike in Detroit? Currently, I only ride for the ride, not the transportation.

    PS I can bring my bike easily into my apartment. Not able to do that for work.

  5. #5

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    I grew up in GP and have lived in LP for the last 8 years and its been a great 8.
    Wow coming from lakeview i'm not sure any neighborhood in SE michigan will suffice but sounds like you have an open mind. Congrats on your new job.

    The pluses of LP: peaceful area, walkable, close to downtown, the river, the dequindre cut, eastern market and some nearby convenience shopping right in LP or at nearby harbortown/jefferson. there are also a couple schools and unique architecture in places.

    The minuses of LP:martin luther king apartments and chene liquor store.

    if you want to lease feel free to pm me for some leads.

  6. #6

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    ^^^^ Yeah that Chene liquor store is grim. I would not go in there for a pepsi pop. Bad clientele hang around outside too much for me, which mean I will not stop to go in - ever. What's up with the MLK apartments? I think I know where that is... east side of Lafayette off of?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by SephDan View Post
    My wife and I are moving to Detroit this summer. We currently live in Chicago (Lakeview/Lincoln Park). We have looked at a few different neighborhoods and surrounding cities, but nothing is jumping off the page. My new office will be in Grosse Pointe, but would still like to live in an area that has some hustle and bustle, night life and social scene.

    We are in our early 30's and I don't think kids are too far off, so we would also like to consider some where safe for kids, i.e, parks, playgrounds, etc.

    Our concerns:

    How safe is downtown? Can I walk home alone after a night game at Comerica? Could my wife walk back to Lafayette Park after a night out with some friends downtown?

    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!
    I live Downtown with my wife and 14-year-old son. In terms of safety, I feel very safe and comfortable Downtown. We usually do not walk around in the wee hours of the night – but we didn’t do that when we lived in West Bloomfield either. Walking around at night (Downtown) requires some common sense. That said...I feel completely comfortable at night in my immediate area (i.e. Broadway Historic District – Grand Circus Park Area – Campus Martius – Greektown – Paradise Valley - South Woodward). I typically do not walk around West of Woodward in the late hours (Capitol Park Area and surrounding areas North / West). That said, there are big plans being discussed for the Capitol Park area that would dramatically improve that area. Personally I would avoid walking from Downtown to Lafayette Park alone late at night - you could probably catch a cab for $4-$5 dollars. Otherwise, the walk or bike ride from Downtown to Lafayette during the day is fine. In terms of Lafayette Park, I’ve been there several times during the day taking pictures and walking around and it seems very nice – very peaceful. Also, everyone that I’ve talked to that lives there (or has lived there) absolutely loves it. Also, you can’t beat the price for what you get in return!

    I will say this – you’ll probably come across numerous people that will tell you to stay away from the city. Take everything they say with a grain of salt. The city has problems, no doubt, probably more so than any other large city. That said the experience of living Downtown has been amazing and my family is closer than we’ve ever been. Good Luck and welcome to the Motor City!

    Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by SephDan View Post
    My wife and I are moving to Detroit this summer. We currently live in Chicago (Lakeview/Lincoln Park). We have looked at a few different neighborhoods and surrounding cities, but nothing is jumping off the page. My new office will be in Grosse Pointe, but would still like to live in an area that has some hustle and bustle, night life and social scene.

    We are in our early 30's and I don't think kids are too far off, so we would also like to consider some where safe for kids, i.e, parks, playgrounds, etc.

    Our concerns:

    How safe is downtown? Can I walk home alone after a night game at Comerica? Could my wife walk back to Lafayette Park after a night out with some friends downtown?

    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!
    I lived four years at the Pavilion apartment building in Lafayette Park, and loved it. I moved to a house just north of 8 Mile only recently for convenience reasons and the need for more space. Otherwise, I would have stayed downtown.

    We easily and safely walked to Greektown (the casino, Plaka's, Five Guys, and now it'll have a BW3s), to Tigers games, and to plenty of other places downtown.

    Of course, you have to have common sense -- watch your back, stay out of dark areas, etc. I've seen street-parked cars broken into during busy events, and had my radar detector taken from my car (I failed to lock it) and my bike stolen. Those are facts of life. But I never felt particularly unsafe -- but I'm also a big guy trained to deal with unsafe situations.

    Just use your head and always be aware of your surroundings. Any downtown has troublemakers and thieves.

    LP itself is very nice. The townhomes are beautiful and the greenery is one of the true gems in downtown Detroit. The park itself is massive and wide open. I would take my son (he's now 5 1/2) to the new-ish playground equipment at Chrysler Elementary, which is at one end of the park. He lives with me part-time, so I'm not sure how I would feel about having him downtown all the time at that age. Part of the reason I moved was to have a backyard I could turn him loose in. I wouldn't let him go to the LP on his own.

    If you've look at apartments, the Pavilion is light years ahead of the Lafayette Towers. U.S. Sen. Carl Levin lives in the Pavilion, as do other "notable" figures from the Detroit scene. It's a lot of WSU medical students and UD Mercy law students -- not a party building. The rent is one of the best deals in town -- I had a 2-bedroom (1,000K square feet) for about $1K a month. And it's a historic Mies building.

  9. #9

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    YES, move to Lafayette Park. Nice homes, more security, not an instant ghettohood, but its beautiful with lots of trees and greenspace. I wish all of Detroit ghettohoods are like that.

  10. #10

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    posted elsewhere,
    i own a town square co-op with a back yard on st. aubin.
    i love it. garage, 3 bedroom & basement. real cheap to buy.
    as others said everything is in walking distance. i even walk to old miami, jumbo's and the like. 50 min walk.
    eastern market 10 min.
    greektown 15 min.
    all nice walks and oh yeah...riverwalk via the dequindre cut out my back door 15 min.
    very quiet and safe.
    i have been considering selling though. bad economic times. need to lower monthly nut.
    let me know if you would like to view my co-op.

  11. #11

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    I can only echo what everyone else is saying here. It seems like a fine place for you.

    What is interesting is that the Lafayette Park development was urban renewal. Mies van der Rohe has long since left this earth so we certainly can't duplicate it. However, Lafeyette Park continues to be one of the most desirable areas of the city. It would be great if the city could reuse this plan of gracious urban living with sophisticated architecture to fill in the gaps at least near downtown. LP has had a lot more staying power than the ticky-tack section 8 shit they throw up when they actually do replace something that's torn down. Europe is full of ultra-modern stuff outside of their historic city centers.
    I guess that would require DEGC to do something besides destroy, and stringing together complete sentences to pitch to developers seems out of the realm of George Jackson and cohort.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by j to the jeremy View Post
    And if your co workers in the pointes think you're living in the ghetto, just ignore them
    Interestingly Grosse Pointers will probably know about Lafayette Park, since so many of them work downtown or go for things like the Symphony, Opera, and DAC, and find it at least intriguing. Paradoxically, you'll catch more hell about living downtown from Joe Sixpack living in a two bedroom shitbox in Warren or Downriver. Happens to me all the time. Grosse Pointers don't usually bat an eye when I tell them where I live.

  13. #13

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    Hello,

    My wife and I live in the MvdR co-ops and we find it a very safe place to live. There is no more quiete and bucolic place to live and stil be walking distance from pretty much everything. You will know the joy of walking to places like Cliff Bell's to dine with your friends (who just drove all the way from birmingham, MI) and then stopping at Astoria for ice cram on the way home. There is really no place else in Metro-Detroit where you can have the best of a suburban experience right across the road from major stadiums and theaters, the river, etc.

    The caveat would be that you have to come to Detroit and try to walk from LP to Comerica Park. There is a path I would recommend and one I think would not be as safe. You really have to experience some things, know your own comfort level and ask your neighbors the best ways to do what you're looking to do. The best part of LP is that you'lll have scores of helpful folks with years of perspective to give you counsel.

    Good luck!

    Quote Originally Posted by SephDan View Post
    My wife and I are moving to Detroit this summer. We currently live in Chicago (Lakeview/Lincoln Park). We have looked at a few different neighborhoods and surrounding cities, but nothing is jumping off the page. My new office will be in Grosse Pointe, but would still like to live in an area that has some hustle and bustle, night life and social scene.

    We are in our early 30's and I don't think kids are too far off, so we would also like to consider some where safe for kids, i.e, parks, playgrounds, etc.

    Our concerns:

    How safe is downtown? Can I walk home alone after a night game at Comerica? Could my wife walk back to Lafayette Park after a night out with some friends downtown?

    Any feedback would be appreciated! Thanks!

  14. #14

    Default

    @j to the jeremy

    If things were any more "immediate", LP wouldn't be the place it is. Having the bars, restaurants and casinos three blocks away is just about perfect. Any closer and I'd pack it in and look elsewhere.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by poobert View Post
    Interestingly Grosse Pointers will probably know about Lafayette Park, since so many of them work downtown or go for things like the Symphony, Opera, and DAC, and find it at least intriguing. Paradoxically, you'll catch more hell about living downtown from Joe Sixpack living in a two bedroom shitbox in Warren or Downriver. Happens to me all the time. Grosse Pointers don't usually bat an eye when I tell them where I live.
    I completely agree. I grew-up Downriver and many of my old friends just can’t get their heads around the fact that I live Downtown. Most of my friends at work who live in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills (and the like) are completely fascinated (in a good way) about living in the city. Why is that?

  16. #16

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    Thank you all for the great responses, this is beginning to make our decision much easier. Furthermore, my wife and I have been discussing our living arrangements. We are debating between buying right off the bat or renting for a year or so to get a feel for the area. Also, we are just now beginning research on Co-op's, can anyone put this into laymans terms? What are some of the pro/cons of Co-ops?

  17. #17

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    @sephdan about CO-OPs

    as a co-op memeber you own a share in a corporation that owns a residential property and your share entitles you to occupy a certain home for a monthly fee.

    Pros:
    you have a higher pedigree neighbor thanks to the restrictive application process.
    Most of the ones downtown (except parc lafayette) are doing ok but still review the co-ops financials before you buy to make sure they have generous reserves so you won't get hit with an assessment.
    the co-op does almost all of the maintenance inside your home in addition to the outside, could be a pro to some people.

    Cons:
    restrictive application process limits your resale market.
    limited financing options
    higher monthly fees since they maintain interiors there are more costs.


    If the downtown real estate market gets stronger i see many co-ops going condo, if they can afford to. so ideally you would buy in a well maintained co-op at a lower than market price because of its limited resale appeal and then it goes condo and you get some decent equity going.

  18. #18

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    I live in Elmwood Park, (just east of LP.) The only things I would change about it are 1. could be closer to downtown (LP is just that!) & 2. I wish it was more of a walkable community, as it is just a sea of condos.

    If these are the greatest complaints you can make, it's an area to recommend!

  19. #19

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    Basically, what s/he said. In the MvdR co-ops, there are varying policies. Expect to have a minimum down-payment of 15% and pay $600 - 700+/month in dues on top of your mortgage (higher in a co-op with geothermal). That sounds high but in our co-op it covers taxes, water, basic cable, trash removal from your back door to the curb, grounds-keeping, window washing, interior repairs (plumbing, electrical, plaster, etc.)...

    There is only one bank in the region--that I know of--that is even remotely interested in doing loans on Co-op's (and familiar with LP) and that is National Co-Op Bank. Other banks claim to do co-op loans but--in my experience--will quote you a rate that says otherwise.

    As for going condo, not the Mies co-ops. There are people who have been here since the development opened and even if the youngins lost their minds and tried it, there would be serious ugliness. Also, co-ops have a high level of control over the property and that can be helpful in maintaining architecturally significant buildings.

    Chateaufort co-ops are great too.


    Quote Originally Posted by michigansheik View Post
    @sephdan about CO-OPs

    as a co-op memeber you own a share in a corporation that owns a residential property and your share entitles you to occupy a certain home for a monthly fee.

    Pros:
    you have a higher pedigree neighbor thanks to the restrictive application process.
    Most of the ones downtown (except parc lafayette) are doing ok but still review the co-ops financials before you buy to make sure they have generous reserves so you won't get hit with an assessment.
    the co-op does almost all of the maintenance inside your home in addition to the outside, could be a pro to some people.

    Cons:
    restrictive application process limits your resale market.
    limited financing options
    higher monthly fees since they maintain interiors there are more costs.


    If the downtown real estate market gets stronger i see many co-ops going condo, if they can afford to. so ideally you would buy in a well maintained co-op at a lower than market price because of its limited resale appeal and then it goes condo and you get some decent equity going.

  20. #20

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    Shirley Vasileff explains the differences on her Real Estate Firm's web site.
    http://www.vasileffrealtydetroit.com/condo_vs_coop.htm It's worth reading. However, if the question is of major concern to you, speak to a real estate lawyer.

    +20 years ago, when I bought my coop, I was like "coop, condo, whatever." At the time the differences did not really matter to me. I just wanted to live in a Mies van der Rohe TH in Lafayette Park.

    However, in my opinion as a coop owner, I believe that in the real estate meltdown in recent years, coops have fared significantly better than similar condos. Some of the reasons might be a closer vetting of prospective owners' financials and a large required down payment.. People are not allowed to move in with $299 down and no closing costs. The prospective purchaser must have a minimum of 10% to put down. That gives them instant equity so that if the market declines, the buyer is still not underwater, I'm not aware of any fore closures in the Mies coops. But if there were, the coop would get any of their arrears on the maintenance before the bank got a dime.

    Another advantage to a coop is that your neighbor can't just rent out his unit to whomever he wants. Any prospective tenant would also have to pass board approval. Coops also set rules as to the number of units that can be rented at a time and for how long they can be rented. This policy ensures that the coop is a community of owners rather than a collection of tenants who have no interest in the long term health of the area.

    In conclusion, buying a home is a major step. Understand the differences between coops and condos. Also, be well aware that there are four distinct coops within the Mies van der Rohe townhouses. Each coop has different monthly fees, and features. For example, the Lafayette Coop installed, at great expense, a geothermal heating and cooling system.

    Quote Originally Posted by michigansheik View Post
    @sephdan about CO-OPs


    ... Most of the ones downtown (except parc lafayette) are doing ok but still review the co-ops financials before you buy to make sure they have generous reserves so you won't get hit with an assessment ...
    Parc Lafayette (originally Regency Square) has many serious issues. It is NOT a coop; but rather it's a condo, which is one of the many factors that has contributed to its decline.
    Last edited by Neilr; April-23-12 at 10:17 PM.

  21. #21

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    Not sure if it was mentioned but there is a wonderful family run grocery store off of Lafayette with organic veggies/fruits and locally produced food stuff (milk, taco chips, bread, etc).

    http://detroit.cbslocal.com/2011/06/...ns-in-detroit/

  22. #22

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    hi,
    as i mentioned before, i have a co-op in town-square which is just east of LP. i don't know if other co-ops offer free appliace replacement too, but our's does.
    i love the fact that i do not have to do maintenance/repairs even though i am capable.
    think of it this way, it is like you are the renter and the landlord.
    and again, if you would like to see my co-op, please contact me for a showing.
    i am considering selling if the economy does not pick up in my biz.

  23. #23

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    just a heads up, the bank you have to go through for the co-op is a pain. im in the process of closing on one of the townhomes there and the bank has been unresponsive and slow in completing the process. it has been rather frustrating, so know that going in, but the place is beautiful and everyone that i have met there so far has been great. the wait has been agonizing but i cant wait to move in.

  24. #24

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    Should you move to Lafayette Park?
    Yes! I've lived there for 25 years, I'm raising my family there. It is a good place for kids, lots of places to play without streets, everyone keeps an eye out for each other which is easier because of the glass houses. Lots of good information here:

    http://miesdetroit.org/

  25. #25

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    I lived in the Jean Rivard apartments from 1970-1972. With the exception of the Lafayette Shopping Center the area hasn't changed that much.

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