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Thread summary:

Possible relocation to Louisville area, concerned after visit because of empty downtown Louisville, downtown always empty or was it an anomaly

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Old 01-04-2009, 04:18 PM
 
22 posts, read 35,373 times
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Just got back from a trip to Louisville, and I was very surprised by how empty the downtown area was. I know I was there on a holiday weekend, but even taking that into consideration, the hotel where we were staying was incredibly empty, the streets were deserted, even on Bardstown Road, the restaurants were full--but not on wait lists--and there didn't seem to be anyone walking the streets. Or cycling. Or jogging. Friday was 50 degrees and sunny, so it wasn't the weather. We were even able to find street parking everywhere we went with ease! (I know, imagine complaining about finding accessible parking.....)

We were considering relocating to Louisville, but the general ghost town vibe has me a bit concerned. One of the reasons I want to move back to a city (I'm originally from Chicago) is that I find my current city of 100,000 a little small and sleepy. Usually, when I'm in a city, I get this big energy charge from tall buildings,the urban density, the crowds. Is Louisville always kind of deserted on the weekends, or did we encounter an anomaly?

Please, no insult intended here. I saw LOTS to like about Louisville.
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Old 01-04-2009, 04:53 PM
 
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Yeah, downtown is pretty dead...except during some type of event or middle of the work day. It's pretty common for mid-sized cities. Lack of "normal everyday" needs (retail shopping, grocery, etc) keeps a lot of people from living downtown.

You're not going to get your urban density from Louisville.
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Old 01-04-2009, 06:34 PM
 
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I know what you mean. Where I live now, a city of about 100,000, the everyday shopping downtown has been replaced by a Bardstown Road-like restaurant scene (along with touristy boutiquey art gallery shopping). But because it's a compact area, it feels quite crowded and alive, even though this isn't a big city. The Bardstown road corridor, on the other hand, didn't feel like it had much energy at all--not a lot of people on the sidewalks, etc. Maybe it's just too spread out for that? Trying to figure out if we saw Louisville on a typical Saturday night, or whether post New Year's people were staying home.
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Old 01-04-2009, 08:00 PM
 
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My wife moved to Louisville on December first renting a 2 bedroom apartment in the Highlands called the Commodore. It was the only passable place we looked at, and it was ludicrously expensive for a city that claims to have a low cost of living ($1500.00!) I will be joining her at the beginning of February, taking a leave of absence from my current job. We are going to give Louisville "a fighting chance," until July since my wife has a fantastic job which is paying her a great deal of money. We have unfortunately found Louisville not quite what was sold to us during the recruitment period. The restaurants are rather good and the "Actors" theater is an excellent venue. However, the Highlands is not all its cranked up to be , and it is spread out over several miles. Thus, it does not give you that "urbane" feel such as State Street in Madison or what Ann Arbor provides. We have found the Frankfort Avenue neighborhood more stimulating, but the housing there is rather depressing. Downtown is at least 5 to 10 years away. If we decide to stay in Louisville, we will probably buy a house rather then a condo in the area East of the city along the river. The best housing seems to be located there. We have checked out the art scene and the music scene, and both are lacking substance and creativity. I do not want to sound so incredibly negative, since this city might become home, but it has not thrilled me. Perhaps I will be able to enact some progressive change once I get there.
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:00 AM
 
6,299 posts, read 13,194,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by enofile View Post
My wife moved to Louisville on December first renting a 2 bedroom apartment in the Highlands called the Commodore. It was the only passable place we looked at, and it was ludicrously expensive for a city that claims to have a low cost of living ($1500.00!) I will be joining her at the beginning of February, taking a leave of absence from my current job. We are going to give Louisville "a fighting chance," until July since my wife has a fantastic job which is paying her a great deal of money. We have unfortunately found Louisville not quite what was sold to us during the recruitment period. The restaurants are rather good and the "Actors" theater is an excellent venue. However, the Highlands is not all its cranked up to be , and it is spread out over several miles. Thus, it does not give you that "urbane" feel such as State Street in Madison or what Ann Arbor provides. We have found the Frankfort Avenue neighborhood more stimulating, but the housing there is rather depressing. Downtown is at least 5 to 10 years away. If we decide to stay in Louisville, we will probably buy a house rather then a condo in the area East of the city along the river. The best housing seems to be located there. We have checked out the art scene and the music scene, and both are lacking substance and creativity. I do not want to sound so incredibly negative, since this city might become home, but it has not thrilled me. Perhaps I will be able to enact some progressive change once I get there.
thats weird, you copy and pasted this comment from another thread... also, are you judging entire neighborhoods with thousands of condos and houses based on a few places you looked at? The Commodore is expensive for good reason. It is a luxury historic high rise overlooking a Frederick Law Olmstead designed park (of Central Park Manhattan fame). As the weather warms, the place is beautiful and swarming with activity.

Last edited by Peter1948; 01-05-2009 at 02:35 AM..
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:23 AM
 
6,299 posts, read 13,194,213 times
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Originally Posted by lauramcr View Post
I know what you mean. Where I live now, a city of about 100,000, the everyday shopping downtown has been replaced by a Bardstown Road-like restaurant scene (along with touristy boutiquey art gallery shopping). But because it's a compact area, it feels quite crowded and alive, even though this isn't a big city. The Bardstown road corridor, on the other hand, didn't feel like it had much energy at all--not a lot of people on the sidewalks, etc. Maybe it's just too spread out for that? Trying to figure out if we saw Louisville on a typical Saturday night, or whether post New Year's people were staying home.

It was an anomaly, plus you are judging a much further south city on a rainy post new years saturday. I came here from Chicago and found people in KY think 50 is cold. You come from Livonia, MI, and based on my travels there, Louisville's Highlands is much more active and urbane than anywhere in Detroit metro. That's right, thats my opinion Also, it was the day before the UK UL game. The game is so big around here there is a SIX PAGE PULLOUT section in the daily paper! So people may have been staying in because of that. Furthermore, you are judging an entire metro area based on one drive down a street and a few streets downtown (how do you know you were in the happening parts of downtown?) I live downtown and can tell you it is far from dead, although I do agree parts give that feel because there is an overabundace of surface parking which creates a sense of "emptiness." Even with that, downtown has over 1 billion in current construction and probably nearly 2 billion more of huge construction projects on hold like the 61 story museum plaza:

http://www.museumplaza.net/

At nearly 12,000 people per square mile in several contigious tracs, I can assure you the Highlands is extremely dense and walkable. Driving by doesn't do it justice, especially if you come from an older red brick city where you are used to seeing taller red brick commercial corridors flush with the street. Louisville has southern architecture in that regard.

Ann Arbor does have a great vibe, and I think Louisville has that feel on a larger scale, especially as it gets warmer. There are also tons of special events that bring people out in all urban corridors from fourth street downtown to frankfort avenue and market street gallery hops to the derby festival, etc. Be very very careful judging any city, unless it is tiny, on a few trips. For example, had you driven Bardstown Road just a few weeks earlier, during the Bardstown Bound festival, you would have been given the false impression that the corridor is much more busy than it is. That day in early december (and it was cold) drew thousands of pedestrians to the sidewalk to shop at boutiques, galleries, eat at restaurants, etc. The street looked like Clark Street in Chicago after a Cubs game that day.

Also, Louisville is a VERY hard city to get a feel for because it is not laid out on a grid except for downtown and the west and. Streets change names and there are so many nooks and crannies in the place. That's sort of why I like it here. Also, like many mid sized cities, you kind of have to know what is going on. Coming from a place like Chicago, it definitely does feel dead. But coming from Milwaukee or the Detroit suburbs it definitely has a much more progressive, happening feel. I think you get a little Madison feel, a little Ann Arbor feel, but mostly, its a much lager city version of those. It is a metro area of 1.3 million after all, and to be honest, its vibe is completely unique. The best comparison I have seen for it so far is a gritty, less yuppie, slower growing Austin that is more real, especially with its people.
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:06 AM
 
153 posts, read 477,304 times
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Stx, don't take offense.

The problem is really one of crowding out. 10-15 years ago, Bardstown Road was all alone and bustling. Now, we've added the Market and East Main districts as well as Frankfort Avenue and now you can add parts of Preston Highway in the Audubon Park district. Louisville only has 1.something million people to fill these districts with energy and I believe we've reached a short term peak. It'll take NEW transplants to fill some of the void! I hope more people find the time to critique these problems. I hope more Northeasterners transplant so I have more interesting and diverse people to talk with.
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Old 01-05-2009, 02:21 PM
 
Location: New Albany, Indiana (Greater Louisville)
9,590 posts, read 20,484,505 times
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Having lived in Louisville on and off for 6 years I can tell you that if Bardstown Rd was really quite with no people walking around:

1. There was a U of L or UK basketball game on (The only people out and about then are those dad gun Hoosier fans )

2. The weather really stunk

3. A lot of people were out of town on a holiday

Any other time that place is hopping
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:08 PM
 
Location: Kentucky
6,749 posts, read 19,569,326 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stx12499 View Post
It was an anomaly, plus you are judging a much further south city on a rainy post new years saturday. I came here from Chicago and found people in KY think 50 is cold. You come from Livonia, MI, and based on my travels there, Louisville's Highlands is much more active and urbane than anywhere in Detroit metro. That's right, thats my opinion Also, it was the day before the UK UL game. The game is so big around here there is a SIX PAGE PULLOUT section in the daily paper! So people may have been staying in because of that. Furthermore, you are judging an entire metro area based on one drive down a street and a few streets downtown (how do you know you were in the happening parts of downtown?) I live downtown and can tell you it is far from dead, although I do agree parts give that feel because there is an overabundace of surface parking which creates a sense of "emptiness." Even with that, downtown has over 1 billion in current construction and probably nearly 2 billion more of huge construction projects on hold like the 61 story museum plaza:

Museum Plaza

At nearly 12,000 people per square mile in several contigious tracs, I can assure you the Highlands is extremely dense and walkable. Driving by doesn't do it justice, especially if you come from an older red brick city where you are used to seeing taller red brick commercial corridors flush with the street. Louisville has southern architecture in that regard.

Ann Arbor does have a great vibe, and I think Louisville has that feel on a larger scale, especially as it gets warmer. There are also tons of special events that bring people out in all urban corridors from fourth street downtown to frankfort avenue and market street gallery hops to the derby festival, etc. Be very very careful judging any city, unless it is tiny, on a few trips. For example, had you driven Bardstown Road just a few weeks earlier, during the Bardstown Bound festival, you would have been given the false impression that the corridor is much more busy than it is. That day in early december (and it was cold) drew thousands of pedestrians to the sidewalk to shop at boutiques, galleries, eat at restaurants, etc. The street looked like Clark Street in Chicago after a Cubs game that day.

Also, Louisville is a VERY hard city to get a feel for because it is not laid out on a grid except for downtown and the west and. Streets change names and there are so many nooks and crannies in the place. That's sort of why I like it here. Also, like many mid sized cities, you kind of have to know what is going on. Coming from a place like Chicago, it definitely does feel dead. But coming from Milwaukee or the Detroit suburbs it definitely has a much more progressive, happening feel. I think you get a little Madison feel, a little Ann Arbor feel, but mostly, its a much lager city version of those. It is a metro area of 1.3 million after all, and to be honest, its vibe is completely unique. The best comparison I have seen for it so far is a gritty, less yuppie, slower growing Austin that is more real, especially with its people.
By the way, 50 IS cold, especially if it's cloudy
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Old 01-05-2009, 07:19 PM
 
6,299 posts, read 13,194,213 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missymomof3 View Post
By the way, 50 IS cold, especially if it's cloudy
Oh come on Missy! Actually, I have started to feel the same way...
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