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Old 07-10-2006, 12:15 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
8 posts, read 30,251 times
Reputation: 13

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My wife, 3-yr old and 1-yr old will be moving to the Denver area within the next two months. We are ecstatic about moving there, but we will miss one aspect of our current home in Alexandria, VA (across the Potomac from Washington, DC): it is a supremely walkable neighborhood.

Got any advice on where to find such a neighborhood in the Denver area?

Our current neighborhood (one of the top 10 in this month's Cottage Living magazine for "cottage charm, civic pride, and close-knit feeling") has, within an 8-minute walk, about 10 (non-chain) restaurants, an elementary school and branch public library, farmer's market, bank, post office, dry cleaners, yoga, churches, and daycares.

I've searched on-line for walkable neighborhoods (AKA traditional neighborhood design and new urbanism) in the Denver area but haven't found a great deal that would fit the bill. Stapleton is too far east (I will be working close to the Golden-Lakewood border). Village of Five Parks in Arvada seems a bit too isolated and it seems unclear whether it will continue to attract housing and amenities of the same type. Boulder is a bit far and would be a stretch cost-wise. Wash Park seems nice, but I'm not sure about the schools and crime (plus I don't really like the bungalow styles). Geographically, Golden seems like an ideal spot, but I don't know much about walkable neighborhoods, culture, schools, crime, etc.


Another issue: we're willing to spend in the 500-700k range, and it seems like unless you live in Wash Park and other areas very close to downtown Denver, you're going to get a 5,000 sf behemoth house in the suburbs. We honestly don't know how to live in such an enormous space. We think our current house in Alexandria is too small (1,700 sf), and would be happy with something in the 3,000-3,500 sf range. We'd gladly trade-off a 5,000 sf home for a smaller one with more charm, a porch, and one that isn't dominated by the garage. Any ideas on where to look?

Maybe I'm asking for the moon!?
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Old 07-10-2006, 03:21 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ/Silver City, NM
6 posts, read 24,487 times
Reputation: 22
Question Please un-confuse me...

I don't mean to sound dumb (it comes naturally sometimes), but I'm a little confused by your last paragraph. I'm not clear as to why you just can't find a smaller house, rather than the 5,000 sf house you mentioned? Are you finding that they are not available in the outer Denver areas at all? Of course, a house of 3,000-3,500 sf probably would not cost as much as the $500K-$700K you are willing to spend, but you aren't in a position in which you MUST spend that much, are you? Why don't you just pocket the difference (or send it to me...that would be ok, too ).
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:00 PM
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,920 posts, read 29,435,354 times
Reputation: 7153
Golden is a supremely walkable place. Charming, mix of old and new. Very friendly, and the brewery has free tours and samples.

I grew up on the other side of the Potomac.

And you can spen $400 just as easily and keep the rest.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:25 PM
 
1,088 posts, read 5,830,209 times
Reputation: 470
My vote is for Golden also. Very walkable, good schools, low crime etc. You are probably going to have a tough time spending all of your money but Golden is the closet thing to what you are looking for. You could spend that much money in Denver on smaller house but the community won't be as walkable. The schools really are pretty good in some parts of Denver except at the high school level, but crime will be a little higher. Another area you might consider checking out is the Highlands Garden Village. It is very walkable but will have higher crime and not very good schools. I agree you might be shooting for the moon but hopefully you will find something that will work.
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Old 07-10-2006, 06:40 PM
 
1,088 posts, read 5,830,209 times
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P.S. my sister lives in D.C. and safe neighborhood in D.C. equals not safe neighborhood in Denver. I think you would be pleasantly surprised at how nice in town Denver neighborhoods are.
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Old 07-10-2006, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Golden, CO
8 posts, read 30,251 times
Reputation: 13
Default How about Arvada?

Thanks for all the tips.

Any thoughts on Village of Five Parks in Arvada?

Sounds like my initial interest in Golden is warranted, based on your comments.

glieberman: If I can find my ideal house for $100, Iím all over it! I certainly donít feel like I must spend a ton of money, but I given the amenities that I (and many others) want, I sort of expect that itís going to be pricey. As for simply buying a smaller and less expensive house, I would only be interested if it has the amenities I am looking for. One of the underlying concerns I have is that so much emphasis is put on square footage of a house as the critical metric of value. If you want a great house outside of the downtown Denver area, it often means a huge house. I am sort of influenced by Sarah Susankaís book, ďThe Not So Big House,Ē which makes the point that what makes a house a great and comfortable home is not simply square footage, but one that has good proportions, useable and livable spaces, and the hard to define quality of charm.

2bindenver: You canít hold my Virginia connection against me, you Marylander! I actually grew up in Wyoming.

xxman777: I first thought it might be related to Highlands Ranch. I just looked at the Highlands Garden Village website and breathed a sigh of relief. It sounds like an interesting place, a possibility, though the concerns you noted would be an obstacle for us.
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Old 07-10-2006, 08:20 PM
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,920 posts, read 29,435,354 times
Reputation: 7153
I was born in DC. Grew up in Monkey County, graduated St. Mary's College, worked at the Folger Theatre, drove west to work the Shakespeare Festival in CA, got married, he got transfered to Denver, been here for 17 years.

First beer is on me.
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Old 07-11-2006, 12:44 AM
 
827 posts, read 4,641,851 times
Reputation: 510
My vote is for Golden too. It is a nice small city. Also since you have a chunk to spend, Littleton, Cherry Hills Village and Westminster are some nice areas. My brother-in-law's family lives in Westminster and loves it. Their last two kids at home walk to school. They walk to the grocery store and to some local stores among other walks. They also all ride bikes in the evening. For charm, Lakewood has some older nice homes, so does Arvada. I know someone in Arvada and they can look down out from their home and see Denver's skyscrapers from where they live and they like it there too and they do a lot of walking.

Last edited by Crackerjack; 07-11-2006 at 01:16 AM..
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Old 07-11-2006, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Golden, CO
8 posts, read 30,251 times
Reputation: 13
Crackerjack: Thanks. Do you know the names of the specific areas of Westminster and Arvada? Many of the nicer houses Iíve seen online in those two cities appear to be located around golf courses, which hold no special appeal to me. Both Arvada and Westminster seem to provide a reasonable commute for me to Golden/Lakewood, as well as being within striking distance of the Boulder area. I think Littleton and Cherry Hills Village are probably located too far south for me.
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Old 07-11-2006, 01:35 PM
 
Location: Just south of Denver since 1989
10,920 posts, read 29,435,354 times
Reputation: 7153
You won't touch Cherry Hills Village for less than $800,000.

Green Mountain in Lakewood, 5 points is a newer Village Homes community, Broadlands in Broomfield.

Golf is an industry here. With 300+ days of sunshine, people love being outdoors. Golf courses can make for nice neighbors, and great views. I don't play anything more than putt-putt with the kidlets. Then again, my sport of choice is bowling.
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