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Old 04-01-2008, 07:46 AM
 
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My husband and I are both from NC but we've been in Baltimore for the past 10 years. After having children, though, our families are about to hijack us if we don't move back home ... so we're planning to relocate to Charlotte this summer. I absolutely love the more urban lifestyle, and, although I realize it's not as urban in Charlotte, I find the inner neighborhoods (Dilworth, Elizabeth, etc.) charming. If nothing else, I want something with character, a bit more walkable, and a very short commute downtown. I personally do not like Cotswold. I really don't like the architecture and don't want to spend $500K on a 50's rancher. I'd much prefer a Craftsman style bungalow. But Elizabeth and Myers Park, etc. are largely out of our price range (unless we want a 1700 sq. ft. place that needs to be redone). [Price range is no more than $550, preferrably under $500.] Chantilly is topping my list at the moment. I'm wondering if there are many children though. Is it mostly young professionals? We have some fantastic urban neighborhoods here with lots of young kids but everyone moves once the kids get school age. Is that by any chance the situation with Chantilly? Are there playgrounds or parks there? We didn't see any.

The other thing we keep wondering is how much the railroad impacts Chantilly? It really cuts the neighborhood off.

We're coming to check out houses shortly. Any thoughts much appreciated!
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:27 AM
 
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Your kids are making you move back to Charlotte?????
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:31 AM
 
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No. We're in our 30's. All of our family is in NC and they've been bugging us to move back to NC ever since we moved up here ten years ago. Once we had a baby, it got worse. We'd like our kids to be raised around their grandparents, cousins, etc. That's why we're moving back.

Now we're just trying to find the best neighborhood we can afford that will let us have some semblence of the urban lifestyle we're used to but that still is a good place to raise children.
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Old 04-01-2008, 08:58 AM
 
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Default Looked at Plaza Midwood?

We looked at basically the same neighborhoods you did - starting with Myers Park, Dilworth, and Elizabeth, realized we couldn't afford it for anything reasonably nice with space for kids (same budget as yours), and then started looking at other areas like Chantilly. We settled on Plaza Midwood and love it. Chantilly was nice, but it does seem like the railroad cuts it off (and can be loud), and we didn't like the houses or the look of the neighborhood as a whole quite as much there. Smaller brick houses, and not really the sort of more urban feel you mention, quite woodsy, actually.

Plaza Midwood has a broader mix of housing, and more of the older houses we were looking for. Not really urban, except for along Central, but a nice, walkable neighborhood with sidewalks everywhere, local park, coffee shop, etc. More retail, food, etc. within walking distance than Chantilly. Lots of nice older bungalows & mix of other houses. Some new houses (tear-downs) mixed in, but they're mostly not too bad.

I also felt like we got a lot more for our money there. Wouldn't necessarily have expected this -- Chantilly and PM are right next door to each other, and neither of them is in the Myers Park/Eastover school district -- but seemed to be true. Might be surprised what you could get after looking at the other close-in neighborhoods on your budget--very roughly, could probably get an older house with nice yard around 3,000sf that is livable but could use some work, or smaller place (say 2,500sf) that's nicely renovated & has a smaller yard.

There is also lots of development happening in both areas now, but especially along Central and with the new Morningside Heights development. Also, if you do look in PM, be sure you're actually looking in the neighborhood, realtors will call anything within 5 minutes of the area Plaza Midwood if they can get away with it.

Last edited by Plan R; 04-01-2008 at 08:59 AM.. Reason: fix error
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Old 04-01-2008, 09:47 AM
 
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Thanks for the response. It's funny because we have considered Plaza Midwood. I think I'm a bit more open to it than my husband. I wholeheartedly agree that the houses are better and the prices more reasonable. We just felt as though it was closer to some sketchier areas. We keep batting the idea around from time to time and were planning to visit it again though. I think five years ago that would have been where we concentrated. Our absolutely biggest concern at this point is children though. PM seemed like more of a place where young couples, singles, artsy folks etc. lived. I think that's fantastic but I need a neighborhood where I'd feel really comfortable raising kids. I realize both PM and Chantilly have awful schools so it's not an issue because we're likely to do private. But my concern is that there would only be a handful of children in PM and I'd always worry a little. And those may move at school age. Do you have kids? If so, I'd be interested in hearing if my impression is wrong.
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Up above the world so high!
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Originally Posted by nutmeg13 View Post
Thanks for the response. It's funny because we have considered Plaza Midwood. I think I'm a bit more open to it than my husband. I wholeheartedly agree that the houses are better and the prices more reasonable. We just felt as though it was closer to some sketchier areas. We keep batting the idea around from time to time and were planning to visit it again though. I think five years ago that would have been where we concentrated. Our absolutely biggest concern at this point is children though. PM seemed like more of a place where young couples, singles, artsy folks etc. lived. I think that's fantastic but I need a neighborhood where I'd feel really comfortable raising kids. I realize both PM and Chantilly have awful schools so it's not an issue because we're likely to do private. But my concern is that there would only be a handful of children in PM and I'd always worry a little. And those may move at school age. Do you have kids? If so, I'd be interested in hearing if my impression is wrong.
Just my 2 cents...while I love some of the beautiful homes in Plaza Midwood, Chantilly would still be my first choice if I were looking to buy. There are several reasons for this, one of which is just personal preference to the actual location. I am not sure that I could live in Plaza Midwood on the end closest to NoDa and/Shamrock. Another reason is because in Chantilly there are many original homeowners, and they tend to really look out for each other and their properties. Both neighborhoods have their share of yuppies and DINKS but I do like the continuity of those long time homeowners being in Chantilly. The railroad track doesn't really divide the neighborhood either, as at least 90% of it is on one side. From people I know who live there they claim they don't even notice the trains anymore - you get so used to the horn and a train coming thru a couple times a day that after a while it's really no big deal. I also think that since Chantilly sits side by side to Elizabeth, which is almost completely regentrified now, that Chantilly is poised to be just exactly like Elizabeth in the next decade (and it's not too shabby now). You asked about parks - there are 2 little ones I know of - one just outside Chantilly on 7th St. at Hawthorne and the other in the back of Chantilly all the way down Laburnam to Chantilly Lane. Best of luck with your decision!
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Old 04-01-2008, 10:22 AM
 
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Yes, we have a two-year old boy. I'd say that the area is extremely child friendly, more than I was expecting. There are a number of kids our son's age on our street, including a number of familes also new to the neighborhood, and we've become friendly with the parents since moving. They're always up & down the sidewalk in various wheeled vehicles. We also recently got the list of other parents in our son's preschool program, and I was quite surprised to see how many were in our neighborhood.

I think that the artsier aspect of Plaza Midwood is still there somewhat, but probably more in places like NoDa, especially as PM has gentrified. I would be surprised if there was a significant difference between PM and Chantilly in terms of children living there at this point. If anything, maybe more in PM. Drive by the outdoor patio at Zada Janes on Central on a weekend -- swarming with kids. I think your impression of PM was probably more true a few years ago than now. Whether the gentrification is a good thing is a whole separate debate, but it's definitely pretty far along now.

Some parents probably do move when kids reach school age, not sure about that. We're hoping to do magnet schools, with private as a backup. Because the local school in Plaza Midwood isn't good (Shamrock Gardens), the No Child Left Behind Act means that kids from PM get high priority for placement in magnet schools. Our neighbors with slightly older kids have theirs in Villa Heights elementary, which is in one of the less-nice neighborhoods around PM, but has great test scores, some of the best in the county. Elizabeth Traditional is also not far away, and we'll probably choose between those two. I've also seen private school buses that drive through the neighborhood. (Charlotte Country Day, I think.)

If you come on a weekend, just take a drive around and see. I'd look in the area north of Central, east of Thomas, and west of the Charlotte Country Club. On the north side, wouldn't go much past Mecklenburg Ave.
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Old 04-01-2008, 11:26 AM
 
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I'm really happy to hear that. Thanks again. We'll definitely take another look at Midwood. I guess we'll just have to be judicious in where we look. I was a little unsure of the best boundaries to stay within so that's helpful also.

I still am interested to know of anyone's knowledge or experience with kids in Chantilly. Very glad to know there are two small parks. We obviously missed those on our last visit.
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Old 04-01-2008, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nutmeg13 View Post
I'm really happy to hear that. Thanks again. We'll definitely take another look at Midwood. I guess we'll just have to be judicious in where we look. I was a little unsure of the best boundaries to stay within so that's helpful also.

I still am interested to know of anyone's knowledge or experience with kids in Chantilly. Very glad to know there are two small parks. We obviously missed those on our last visit.
I am a resident of Chantilly and there are many kids here. It use to be a neighborhood for mainly just young professionals but a big change happened about a year ago. Our neighborhood fought to change Chantilly Elementary to a Montessouri school. I do not have kids, but from what I remember if you live in certain designated areas of the neighborhood your kids get an automatic ticket into the school. Might want to check with a Realtor to see how that works.
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Old 04-01-2008, 06:35 PM
 
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Wow. Chantilly. Memory come back to me. I am suppose to clean the house right now before my girlfriend get home. But I can't help it since it is chantilly. Let's say how long ago I went to chantilly...hmm 20 years ago starting 1st grade then came back for 5th grade. I don't know if I could give advice here.

But here you go, Chantilly and MW are going fast and fast. Houses of different classes are built up to compensate and make the neighborhood looks preferable.

Why don't you take a look at Arboretum and Sardis area. the housing there is not so high but not so low. It is a middle class. My sister who just got marry bought a house near there. They have great public school. Sardis area is where I stay. They have a lot of private school if you plan to put your kid there. All the neighborhood are friendly folks. We always put kids in first. There are always signs for driver to slow down. I think in my neighborhood, they are fighting to put a speed limit.
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