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Old 07-27-2012, 03:35 PM
 
Location: USA
371 posts, read 301,584 times
Reputation: 92

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I am looking at a possible job in the Fort Collins area, being I would be coming from Ft. Lauderdale it's going to be a shock to the system but I am originally from the Northeast US and lived there longer than here, so I'm not really concerned but wondering how it compares? More so worried about my wife who is a Florida native adjusting to the climate and lifestyle.

Personally, I experienced the worst of winter as it gets in the Northeast and I am curious what winters are like in Fort Collins? I read a lot of opinions that it's not as bad as other places in the US? Is that at true statement? The wind is what gets me, wind and cold is hard to take.

If any Northeast transplants can chime in on this that would be appreciated.

Can one expect a lot of gray sky days and heavy cloud cover as well during winters, example November Rain type days?

How is the economy, is the job market for professionals good? Or is it retail driven? Is there a lot of jobs coming into the area, I heard from California mainly?

Is there enough conveniences within the Fort Collins area to sustain not driving to Denver or is it lacking some stores and restaurants? Not talking the typical Chilis or Applebees, but more good private places, mom and pop places, good ethnic food, Greek, Italian and Mediterranean? What is the local cuisine?

I read that there is no Costco in the area and I looked online to see what was there, BJ's Wholesale is a East Coast thing only, no Trader Joe's either.

Is there a good deal of car dealers, VW, Subaru and etc in Fort Collins or do you have to drive to Denver?

What is the predominate grocery store chain there?

Housing? I looked around a little, but not sure on the average price of a rental home or townhome in a nice part of town.

Another question for someone from the Northeast US, do you feel isolated there? Does Denver fill the void?

Traffic, is it easy to get to Denver or not worth the hassle with the traffic.

I'm not into Wintersports, use to be but mainly into fishing, mountain biking all of which appear to be good there.

Thanks

Last edited by high_plains_drifter; 07-27-2012 at 03:45 PM..
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Old 07-27-2012, 05:28 PM
 
11,281 posts, read 46,151,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by high_plains_drifter View Post
I am looking at a possible job in the Fort Collins area, being I would be coming from Ft. Lauderdale it's going to be a shock to the system but I am originally from the Northeast US and lived there longer than here, so I'm not really concerned but wondering how it compares? More so worried about my wife who is a Florida native adjusting to the climate and lifestyle.

Personally, I experienced the worst of winter as it gets in the Northeast and I am curious what winters are like in Fort Collins? I read a lot of opinions that it's not as bad as other places in the US? Is that at true statement? The wind is what gets me, wind and cold is hard to take.

Winter at altitude in FC is drier, windier, longer, and sunnier than typical NE USA winters. With sustained colder temperatures, it's a different winter than riparian areas where snow builds up through a winter; ie, the sunshine at altitude and dry climate dissapates a lot of the snow that falls through a winter. Deep snow on city streets is uncommon, but slick streets and black ice aren't. There can be days of strong winds and gusts in cold temps here.

If any Northeast transplants can chime in on this that would be appreciated.

Can one expect a lot of gray sky days and heavy cloud cover as well during winters, example November Rain type days?

FC averages somewhere around 300+ sunny days per year. Storm fronts can move through with a cloud layer, but it's rare for them to last more than a couple of days as they move through fairly quickly to yield to bright sunshine. Typically, if moisture is falling in November, it's very white looking stuff.

How is the economy, is the job market for professionals good? Or is it retail driven? Is there a lot of jobs coming into the area, I heard from California mainly?

It's a pretty active economy, with new construction going on. The jobs market has a lot of local labor available due to this being a college (now university) town, with many students not wanting to leave the area. Your perspective on whether or not it's a good jobs economy will be very dependent upon what you do for a living; IMO, there's a lot of professionals in every possible discipline there.

Is there enough conveniences within the Fort Collins area to sustain not driving to Denver or is it lacking some stores and restaurants? Not talking the typical Chilis or Applebees, but more good private places, mom and pop places, good ethnic food, Greek, Italian and Mediterranean? What is the local cuisine?

The area has a lot of independent restaurants, you'll most likely be able to find what you are seeking. I recall a restaurant study indicating FC had one of the highest per-capita counts of restaurants in the USA. The "local cuisine" is whatever you make of it, there is no signature FC dining ... even if you include the brew-pubs. I ate lunch today at JeJu's and was happy with their lunch specials sushi ... but they may not be up to the stuff you're acclimated to on the Coast. Seafood, in general, is very lacking compared to what I've experienced in the major markets back East.

I've no doubt that you can find FC lacking in some aspects of retail (clothing, furniture, high end items) compared to the larger Denver marketplace, but for the most part ... FC's does OK.


I read that there is no Costco in the area and I looked online to see what was there, BJ's Wholesale is a East Coast thing only, no Trader Joe's either.

Costco in Thornton, not very far away. Trader Joe's hasn't been very interested in the Colorado market ... and I'm not a big fan of theirs, can't say that I'd be disappointed if they still didn't come out this way.

Is there a good deal of car dealers, VW, Subaru and etc in Fort Collins or do you have to drive to Denver?

VW & Subie have good FC dealers and a number of excellent independent shops that work on these cars. A drive to Denver is not needed, although you might want to do some comparison shopping there ... but if you are into that level of shopping for a car, you'll want to check out Colorado Springs, too, for Subies (and other brands).

What is the predominate grocery store chain there?

King Sooper's, Albertson's, Whole Paycheck (er, Foods) all have a good presence in this market.

Housing? I looked around a little, but not sure on the average price of a rental home or townhome in a nice part of town.

Hard to find a "not nice" part of FC, depending upon what your requirements are. Do you have a price range? Size of house/bedrooms/bathrooms, lot size?

Another question for someone from the Northeast US, do you feel isolated there? Does Denver fill the void?

Traffic, is it easy to get to Denver or not worth the hassle with the traffic.

In fair weather, the I-25 derby to/from Denver is active everyday. Are you asking about commuting or simply the desire to head to Denver for special events? "Easy" in commuting is a relative term ... it's not the distance, it's the traffic and seasonal inclement road conditions that will be the bigger factor. If you are considering heading to Denver for discretionary activities ... shopping, dining, events ... it's not too daunting if you can choose your times to do so.

I'm not into Wintersports, use to be but mainly into fishing, mountain biking all of which appear to be good there.

Thanks
Fishing in the area can be very good, mountain biking has good access in the area. Winter can start as early as the end of September and last through May some years ....

Last edited by sunsprit; 07-27-2012 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 07-27-2012, 07:48 PM
 
Location: USA
371 posts, read 301,584 times
Reputation: 92
Thanks for the info.

So the term long cold winter still applies I take it?

The hardest thing will be making it work for my wife, originally we planned to go to Phoenix but the job opportunity did not work out.

Looking to probably rent a 2/2 town home with a garage would be a bonus, or a 3/2 with a 2 car garage. Budget $1500 to $2000 per month. If it all works out, we plan on buying a house down the road.

Another question, does Fort Collins have that worn out rust belt look with the buildings and roads? Pot hole central?

Thanks!
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:07 PM
 
434 posts, read 743,315 times
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I agree with what the previous poster said. He gave a good summary of FC.

We came from SoCal so were very spoliled by 50 years of great weather. Has taken me years to adjust to CO. Weather here is typical of high-altitude living. Lots of bright sunshine, cold nights in winter, hot days in summer (but no humidity) and wind. Windy season starts in fall and goes into spring. Can be windy for days at a time. But strangely wind in winter is usually accompanied by warmer weather. But it's still aggrivating. Summer days are hot and with frequent storms, but not throughtout the city. Different parts of town will get wet at a time.

Once I adjusted I sort of enjoy some of the weather. There are fabulous days between the weather events. Can see for 50 miles in the thin and smog-free air. It's not the lay back weather in SoCal but it's also not humid Florida weather. I could not handle Florida summers. Point of interest: The most common out of state license plate here is Wyoming (FC is close to the border) followed by California and then Florida.

Plenty of shopping here but not too much for high end. Macy's is the top of the retail food chain here. Got to go to Denver for high end. All major car dealers are in town except Mercedes and exotics. We were used to lots of big city shopping but have found pretty much everything here in FC or nearby Loveland. Markets especially are very nice here. Nevertheless we do feel a little isolated at times. Especailly when driving from Denver of the airport and seeing the miles of open land. But those mile keep FC a nice place not spoiled like so many American cities.

Rumors abound that Costco will be building a store by I25 soon. That would be great. We love Costco but seldom undertake the drive to Thornton (40 minutes).
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Old 07-27-2012, 08:36 PM
 
11,281 posts, read 46,151,961 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by high_plains_drifter View Post
Thanks for the info.

So the term long cold winter still applies I take it?

First hard frosts can be in September and extend through May, so the winters can be long. Temps can stay into sub-freezing ranges for days on end in the coldest months; the combination with the winds/gusts can be rather daunting unless/until you get acclimated (if you do). The first breaths you take on a low teens to single digit evening will be startling; the air is 15% thinner at this altitude than sea level and you may find the cold temps giving you a searing your throat sensation.

The lack of humidity unless there's active moisture present is totally different than riparian climates. The "chinook" winds ("snow eater", IIRC) are so dry that even at sub-freezing temps, the snow accumulation sublimates and the snow literally just disappears. With some strong sunshine, the effect is startling because even ice will disappear off of the ground or cars or roofs.


The hardest thing will be making it work for my wife, originally we planned to go to Phoenix but the job opportunity did not work out.

I'll give the same advice here that I give on other forums: Come visit before making any decision about relocating here. Preferably, during the depths of the winter months ... Jan/Feb/March. What you need to experience is the cold temps/storms/winds in the coldest months as well as the later months of the winter season that typically have more moisture. The coldest months can sometimes be so cold that it doesn't snow very much at all, if at all.

Looking to probably rent a 2/2 town home with a garage would be a bonus, or a 3/2 with a 2 car garage. Budget $1500 to $2000 per month. If it all works out, we plan on buying a house down the road.

Other posters on this forum are real estate agents ... we'll look for them to know the marketplace. Mike?

Another question, does Fort Collins have that worn out rust belt look with the buildings and roads? Pot hole central?

Thanks!
Sorry, no "worn out rust belt look with the buildings and roads" here. Very little manufacturing history here, so not that type of town. Historically, agriculture/ranching/mining were the big draws of the area, and the college was relatively small and low key until more recent decades. The roads are in fairly decent condition, and they're redoing North College and Harmony road right now.
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Old 07-28-2012, 10:50 AM
 
Location: Nutmeg State
1,171 posts, read 2,297,612 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by high_plains_drifter View Post
Thanks for the info.

So the term long cold winter still applies I take it?

Another question, does Fort Collins have that worn out rust belt look with the buildings and roads? Pot hole central?

Thanks!
Not even close. More than half of FoCo didn't exist 30 years ago. There are very few places that look "worn out" in town.

I grew up in Ohio, and FoCo definitely had milder winters. Yes there will be the storms and weeks where you get a ton of snow and the temps dip below zero. But there are also plenty of sunny warmer days sprinkled in through out the winter. It's really not like an east-coast type winter, where snow sticks around for months on end, and it's below 30 for entire months in a row.
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Old 07-28-2012, 12:22 PM
 
Location: Northern Colorado
711 posts, read 1,783,971 times
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The weather here is really interesting. Last October 24, we set a record temperature of 80 degrees followed by a day of 70 degrees and sunny and then a day with a foot of snow the following day. (See photo from Colorado State University that I uploaded in this discussion.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post
The roads are in fairly decent condition, and they're redoing North College and Harmony road right now.
As I try to get around town, it feels like they are re-doing every major street in town this summer. Many of the main streets, especially on the west side of town, have been getting a makeover in recent weeks. Prospect, Drake, Taft Hill, etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by high_plains_drifter View Post
Looking to probably rent a 2/2 town home with a garage would be a bonus, or a 3/2 with a 2 car garage. Budget $1500 to $2000 per month. If it all works out, we plan on buying a house down the road.
Vacancies are at near all time low levels in this area, which has driven rents up in recent months. However, your budget should still allow you to get most of what you are looking for. Town homes with 2 car garages are not really common here, but there are a few. To get the garage, you may end up having to go single family instead of town home. A 5 bedroom / 4 bath / 2 car garage single-family home in my neighborhood just leased for $1950.

Resources for finding rentals in our area include a fairly active craigslist, Padmapper.com, and property management companies (which you can find using Google).

Good luck with the move!
Mike Weber
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Old 07-28-2012, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
89,898 posts, read 107,917,177 times
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According to google maps, the Thornton Costco (Washington St) is 46 miles and about an hour's drive from Ft. Fun.

Google Maps
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Old 07-28-2012, 04:22 PM
 
Location: USA
371 posts, read 301,584 times
Reputation: 92
Thanks for the info everyone, so it appears winters are different than what I am use to along with the scenery and worn out look which is good to hear. It will be a big change from South Florida living to here if the job materializes.

Would like to have a Costco closer, and looked at the Mall there "Foothills", not really what we are use to but we are not big mall people but my wife might not be too happy about the selection, just like having the conveniences and variety nearby. Target is our main shopping place aside from the typical Grocery, Whole Foods er Paycheck or Wallet is nice for specialty items and I love their 365 brand which is economical.

Aside from my worries about my wife adjusting, I am also concerned about her career opportunities there, she works in Business Administration so it is not totally clear on whether or not she can land something with ease? Google say's the unemployment rate there is 6.2%, roughly the same as Ft. Lauderdale which is slightly higher.

So what are the main drags in town? I looked at Google Maps, saw most of the chain stores are on College Ave. Another thing, what is life like when CSU is in session? Can one find it detracting?

Last edited by high_plains_drifter; 07-28-2012 at 05:09 PM..
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Old 07-29-2012, 08:22 AM
 
Location: Northern Colorado
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College Avenue is main street and Harmony Road is the other main road for shopping and dining.

New investors just bought the Foothills Mall about 3 weeks ago, with the intent to re-vitalize it. Until that happens, there are still other shopping options here in town, or a short drive away in Loveland at Centerra. We have 2 Target stores, one "super" and one regular. Our Whole Foods is on College, and we also have a Sprouts and a Sunflower Market for other healthy grocery shopping options. I think we have 10 regular grocery stores between Albertsons (3), Safeway (3), and King Soopers (4).
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