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Old 08-25-2013, 07:12 AM
 
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Question Grew up in 'badlands' of north Philadelphia, thinking of buying in Detroit

I'm in my late 40's and grew up in the West Kensington section of north Philly's badlands and was wondering if any of the neighborhoods in Detroit would be comparable. I have no problem with a rough neighborhood and think people should start trying to revitalize the inner cities. I don't scare easily and know how to handle myself in these types of neighborhoods. Of course I plan to visit to check things out in person...

I heard about the bargain home prices there and as I'm looking these homes up I'm noticing that I don't see any rowhomes. Most of the houses are smallish singles, which appeals to me anyway, and seem to be sitting on huge lots with detached garages and nice big backyards and front lawns. I know whatever I buy will need work but I'm really thinking seriously about this. I see so much potential in so many of the houses I've looked at.

My plans are for growing and producing as much of my own food as possible during the growing season(s) and most of the properties I'm seeing could suit my purposes very well. I've been reading about the urban farming going on there and think it's an excellent use of vacant lots.

I'm also interested in bicycle repair as a small biz idea, I ride a bike exclusively for transportation and am thinking about running a small repair shop out of a garage.

Just a few ideas, anyone living in Detroit have any input or suggestions for me?
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Old 08-25-2013, 09:27 AM
 
Location: Your computer screen.
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Thank you for providing your present location. Most people don't do that and we all end up providing advice on potentially false assumptions.

After virtually touring West Kensington, I believe you will find many comparable areas in Detroit. True, no townhouses. Not only will you have a big yard, but you will likely be able to find a home with an adjacent vacant lot if you desire more garden space.

The bicycle repair also sounds like a good idea. There seems to be a trend toward biking. Detroit even has two bicycle manufacturers (Shinola and Detroit Bikes).
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:45 AM
 
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Default Thanks Retroit

I appreciate the input.
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Old 08-25-2013, 01:00 PM
 
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Philly El ride to Bad Land's - Kensington Street Corner in December 2009. - YouTube

This is video that was taken less than mile from where I lived just 6 years ago. I walked this neighborhood at all hours of the day and night, cautiously...

I'm hoping to find a dirt cheap house in an area on an upswing. I can do a tremendous amount of the work myself because I'm handy and not some fragile little girl who's afraid to break a nail. I grew up around roofers, general contractors, plumbers, electricians, etc. so I know how to talk to these people to get the best prices for any work I can't do myself. I just need a house that's structurally sound with a good roof, anything more would be gravy.

I just can't believe some of the lot sizes these places are sitting on! Most of them with intact garages, just waiting to be converted into a bike repair area... I guess I'm weird that way, seeing the potential beyond what's right there in front of me!
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:09 PM
 
Location: west mich
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I would do some research on Detroit's "urban pioneers", people with the urban renewal and reinvention mentality, and throw in with them or contact them. In other words, people who are already doing it have probably done a lot of homework and can save you some time and grief. I haven't seen such people on C-D, though you might find some expertise here. Just an idea.
One Year In Detroit
urban pioneers - I need help
Is Detroit the new Brooklyn? | Need to Know | PBS
http://theurbanophile.blogspot.com/2...y-and-new.html

Last edited by detwahDJ; 08-25-2013 at 03:19 PM..
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Old 08-25-2013, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Michigan
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I think you might do well in Corktown or near Woodbridge. Or maybe even just east of Dequindere and North of Gratiot. All of it is just outside of downtown and probably has the most potential for an upswing some point in the future given their proximity to downtown.

This video shows a few of the bike shops downtown which at most I think there's 2 or 3 in total around downtown Detroit in what is arguably about 40,000 residents spread out over several square miles. There's more than enough room to do whatever you want as long as your budget permits you (meaning you can get a few lots to do small scale farming as well).


Last edited by animatedmartian; 08-25-2013 at 11:05 PM..
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Old 08-26-2013, 06:22 AM
 
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Thumbs up Great video!

Thanks AnimatedMartian, I really enjoyed the video! I've been riding for many years, exclusively for over 6 years now because we've been living in Martin County, FL and there isn't really a public transportation system to speak of here. People think I'm crazy to ride in the heat of a south Florida summer but it's not really as bad as you'd think as long as you have plenty of cold water and a cloth to wipe sweat off your face!

I believe that cycling is a great alternative, or addition to, a city public transit system. From what I saw in the video it's an even better alternative because there is so much less automobile traffic in Detroit because of the low population density. I've also heard that the public transit system leaves something to be desired there...

I was already leaning toward buying as close to the downtown area as possible because of experiencing the gentrification in Philly, which is still going on, from downtown out to its surrounding areas. Even now, the video I posted above would look very different.

I have a book by Brett Markham, Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre, that shows you how to grow/produce most of the food for a family of four, so I could use less land to produce the food I'd need for myself and my 16 year old if they're still living with me. If we move there before graduation my kiddo will be enrolled in virtual school until the needed credits are completed.

Thanks for the input, keep it coming!!
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Old 08-26-2013, 07:05 AM
 
Location: Your computer screen.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
Would it be racist of me to ask "Why so few black people?" [If so, please disregard this post.]

I am sincerely curious to know though. I know a lot of white people have moved in but...
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Old 08-26-2013, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Michigan
2,788 posts, read 2,199,414 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by journeygirl65 View Post
Thanks AnimatedMartian, I really enjoyed the video! I've been riding for many years, exclusively for over 6 years now because we've been living in Martin County, FL and there isn't really a public transportation system to speak of here. People think I'm crazy to ride in the heat of a south Florida summer but it's not really as bad as you'd think as long as you have plenty of cold water and a cloth to wipe sweat off your face!

I believe that cycling is a great alternative, or addition to, a city public transit system. From what I saw in the video it's an even better alternative because there is so much less automobile traffic in Detroit because of the low population density. I've also heard that the public transit system leaves something to be desired there...

I was already leaning toward buying as close to the downtown area as possible because of experiencing the gentrification in Philly, which is still going on, from downtown out to its surrounding areas. Even now, the video I posted above would look very different.

I have a book by Brett Markham, Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre, that shows you how to grow/produce most of the food for a family of four, so I could use less land to produce the food I'd need for myself and my 16 year old if they're still living with me. If we move there before graduation my kiddo will be enrolled in virtual school until the needed credits are completed.

Thanks for the input, keep it coming!!
It's like, you can get around using the buses here. But the question is whether you'll get to where you want to go on time. City buses are scheduled to run every 15 minutes while suburban buses are scheduled every hour and 45 minutes. Suburban buses also only go into the city during peak hours. Plus either system has been cutting routes because of budget constraints, and in the city that has caused the effect of overcrowded buses for quite a few routes. A lot of times, people have to wait more than 15 minutes for a bus if they're on a heavily used route.

It's more frustrating than anything.
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Old 08-26-2013, 03:02 PM
 
9 posts, read 10,216 times
Reputation: 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Retroit View Post
Would it be racist of me to ask "Why so few black people?" [If so, please disregard this post.]

I am sincerely curious to know though. I know a lot of white people have moved in but...

I was thinking that same thing, but I don't care what ethnicity my neighbors are as long as they show me the same courtesy and respect that I show them... I've actually been treated better by my sisters and brothers from mothers of different colors than a lot of 'white' people!! Plus they're generally not as uptight about what color you choose to paint your house.

Quote:
Originally Posted by animatedmartian View Post
It's like, you can get around using the buses here. But the question is whether you'll get to where you want to go on time. City buses are scheduled to run every 15 minutes while suburban buses are scheduled every hour and 45 minutes. Suburban buses also only go into the city during peak hours. Plus either system has been cutting routes because of budget constraints, and in the city that has caused the effect of overcrowded buses for quite a few routes. A lot of times, people have to wait more than 15 minutes for a bus if they're on a heavily used route.

It's more frustrating than anything.
Sounds like I'll be biking about the same amount as I do now.

Quote:
Originally Posted by detwahDJ View Post
I would do some research on Detroit's "urban pioneers", people with the urban renewal and reinvention mentality, and throw in with them or contact them. In other words, people who are already doing it have probably done a lot of homework and can save you some time and grief. I haven't seen such people on C-D, though you might find some expertise here. Just an idea.
One Year In Detroit
urban pioneers - I need help
Is Detroit the new Brooklyn? | Need to Know | PBS
The Urbanophile: Detroit: Urban Laboratory and the New American Frontier
I appreciate the chance to network with folks like you!! It makes things so much easier to navigate.

Last edited by Yac; 08-27-2013 at 02:38 AM.. Reason: 3 posts in a row merged
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