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Old 05-07-2019, 10:30 AM
 
4,213 posts, read 3,935,189 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yalls_ View Post
However, I haven't heard much in general about the neighborhoods North of Michigan and 196. Belknap Lookout and Highland Park? Nor have I heard much about West of the river, between the neighborhoods of Swan and West Grand (forgive me as Google maps doesn't show as much neighborhood naming conventions as the Eastern side).
Belknap has gone through some massive transformations over the last 20 years. Entire blocks have been demolished and big apartment developments have been constructed. GVSU has purchased several blocks and is slowly developing it into part of it's medical campus. There are also some bad ass condo's that have bad ass views that are being built on the bluff. There are a lot of good things about belknap, and it's just across the freeway from the massive medical campus. The downside is that the bluff and the freeways make it feel relatively isolated from walkable areas. Belknap itself doesn't have a lot neighborhood amenities, and the neighborhoods it's connected to are still on the slower side of transition.

If you're looking to be North of the Ford Freeway (I-196) a better alternative to Belknap would be the North Monroe neighborhood which is just down the hill (between the river and the west side of Division Ave.) North Monroe has several bars and restaurants, and has have flurry of new construction, along with several old factories being converted into offices and lofts. Its position along the river gives it a pretty cool vibe and immediate access to trail networks for running/walking. It also has easy direct access to downtown and feels less isolated.

Highland Park has not had the investment seen in many other neighborhoods, it exists largely as it did in the 1990's. While it isn't particularly blighted, it does have pockets of crime and unpredictability, and virtually no neighborhood amenities (shopping, restaurants, ect) I would not recommend Highland Park if walkability is important to you.

A better alternative to both Highland Park and Belknap would be Creston. Creston has one of my favorite built environments of all city neighborhoods as it's more in tact than most. It has some good breweries and bars as well. It's just north of North Monroe, (North of Leonard) and along Plainfield Ave. The housing stock in Creston is older and there are less renovated properties, so it's a bit cheaper than the neighborhoods that are on the forefront of the gentrification the city has gone through. Creston has seen some development, and there is interest for further investments. I would expect to see more changes in Creston over the next 5 years.

As you pointed out the neighborhoods west of the river are a bit more broad and harder to define. There are two main corridors that you can associate with them.

For West Grand it would be Bridge St/West Village(look near the intersection of US-131 and Bridge St. and continue west). The Bridge St corridor has by far gone through the most dramatic transformation over the last 10 years. It also contains the most practical and walkable neighborhood in the city along Bridge. the Bridge St. market(corner of Bridge and Seward) is phenomenal, in addition to a proliferating number of breweries and restaurants. Investments in this area are spreading in all directions. Outside of downtown it's the most expensive neighborhood in the city. The trade off are the neighborhood amenities, and immediate access to downtown and the freeways. There are still questionable pockets near Bridge St, though they tend to be north of I-196 near Leonard which is another emerging corridor.

The anchor for SWAN would be the corridor along Fulton St. There has been some investment in this area, and it is equally as accessible to downtown and freeways. It's not as polished as Bridge St, but during the cities decline these neighborhoods remained largely working class and intact. GVSU's main downtown campus is at the base of Fulton St(where it crosses 131) so quite a bit of the housing options and businesses are geared toward the college crowd. The further west you travel on Fulton the more family oriented it becomes. Good neighborhoods around John Ball park, and before the ridge leading up into the hills. If you go south of Fulton the neighborhoods become a bit more sketchy, but nothing I would classify as scary.

I would probably recommend the Bridge St. neighborhood before the trendy neighborhoods on the east side from a practicality stand point. Keep in mind Grand Rapids is still pretty small so even neighborhoods that feel a bit more isolated are still pretty accessible to everything else. I hope this helps. Please feel free to ask more questions.
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Old 05-07-2019, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,870,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yalls_ View Post
Thank you all for the information!

It seems like most of the housing recommendations in this thread, and elsewhere online, are focused around East Hills and Eastown. Pretty much within the borders of Michigan St to the North, Wealthy to the South, Lafayette and Plymouth from East to West.

However, I haven't heard much in general about the neighborhoods North of Michigan and 196. Belknap Lookout and Highland Park? Nor have I heard much about West of the river, between the neighborhoods of Swan and West Grand (forgive me as Google maps doesn't show as much neighborhood naming conventions as the Eastern side).

Would anyone be able to share some insight on those areas?
The housing stock is pretty beaten up in those areas, and was never really that nice to begin with. It was all "working class" housing built for furniture factory workers back in the early 1900's, and much of it hasn't stood the test of time. In fact, in Belknap they're slowly tearing down a lot of it to build apartments, townhouses and condos due to its proximity (walking distance) to Medical Mile. There are a few gems mixed in but few and far between.

Frankly I think the East Hills/Eastown/Midtown/Wealthy area is so hot that it might be a bit overvalued, and it's really hard to find homes. But it has a high "walk score" and everything that people looking for a walkable car-less neighborhood has to offer. I personally would check out the West Side, particularly along the Covell or Richmond corridors.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:33 AM
 
Location: Wyoming Michigan
52 posts, read 32,693 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yalls_ View Post
Thank you all for the information!

It seems like most of the housing recommendations in this thread, and elsewhere online, are focused around East Hills and Eastown. Pretty much within the borders of Michigan St to the North, Wealthy to the South, Lafayette and Plymouth from East to West.

However, I haven't heard much in general about the neighborhoods North of Michigan and 196. Belknap Lookout and Highland Park? Nor have I heard much about West of the river, between the neighborhoods of Swan and West Grand (forgive me as Google maps doesn't show as much neighborhood naming conventions as the Eastern side).

Would anyone be able to share some insight on those areas?
All the areas which you mention you would like more information on are growing rapidly. The area of Belknap lookout are being bought up by GVSU and investors looking to rent to the medical employees and students. The homes are also being purchased and renovated by investors to update and resell. Blocks of homes have been purchased their recently also and replaced with mixed use retail and residential buildings.
The SWAN area has been the focus of large investment for the past 10 years. Blocks of homes have been purchased and demolished to make way for larger, newer mixed used buildings along with remodeling other single family homes to also take advantage of the growing student population there as well.

Dont get me wrong. These areas are not all being purchased by investors. It is not 100% all rentals either. There are many nice single family home owners scattered throughout both areas that you mention above. The best thing this developments have brought to the west side are the great restaurants, shopping and breweries. Those are found more to the north part of SWAN on bridge street.

As a cyclist i do not know how much I would want to live on Belknap hill especially in the winter. Might be a tough climb which is fantastic if you are into that. But if you are routinely coming into
Downtown Grand Rapids via Michigan street hill, be prepared to have some impressive stats on your Strava account. If I was a commuter cyclist who wishes to bike to downtown frequently and was looking to move to Grand Rapids, I would would also consider the Creston area or west side along with the Eastown area. Easttown is probably more pricey both in rents and purchase due to its large growth in restaurants and night life.
in both the Creston area and the west side I feel there is a bit better value to the rents and purchase still.
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Old 05-08-2019, 02:08 PM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,522 posts, read 17,078,455 times
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Once you get west of Covell/Walker on the West Side, the landscape gets really suburban. There are still a few people who have horses inside the city limits there. It's got some nice neighborhoods if you want a little space between yourself and your neighbors (just watch out for the deer wandering out from the Blandford Nature Center and Indian Mill Creek watershed) and I grew up riding my bike all over that part of the city, but the lighter population density means mass transit stops are few and far between.

We still get donuts from Sandy's when I'm in town.

My parents' first house was in between Highland Park and St. Alphonsus church back in the day. The park itself has issues because it's something of a pocket of isolation wedged amid steep hills and freeways, but the neighborhoods to the north tend to be relatively stable working class areas.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:37 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,870,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
Once you get west of Covell/Walker on the West Side, the landscape gets really suburban. There are still a few people who have horses inside the city limits there. It's got some nice neighborhoods if you want a little space between yourself and your neighbors (just watch out for the deer wandering out from the Blandford Nature Center and Indian Mill Creek watershed) and I grew up riding my bike all over that part of the city, but the lighter population density means mass transit stops are few and far between.

We still get donuts from Sandy's when I'm in town.

My parents' first house was in between Highland Park and St. Alphonsus church back in the day. The park itself has issues because it's something of a pocket of isolation wedged amid steep hills and freeways, but the neighborhoods to the north tend to be relatively stable working class areas.
I don't know about that. Route 7 on West Leonard has like 40 stops on it. (literally) Too many.

https://www.ridetherapid.org/ride/routes/7

The 50 also has several stops on LMD:

https://www.ridetherapid.org/ride/routes/50

The newly expanded route 19 that services the West Side and Medical Mile is now free to ride as well.
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Old 05-09-2019, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,870,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GrandRapidsNative View Post
All the areas which you mention you would like more information on are growing rapidly. The area of Belknap lookout are being bought up by GVSU and investors looking to rent to the medical employees and students. The homes are also being purchased and renovated by investors to update and resell. Blocks of homes have been purchased their recently also and replaced with mixed use retail and residential buildings.
The SWAN area has been the focus of large investment for the past 10 years. Blocks of homes have been purchased and demolished to make way for larger, newer mixed used buildings along with remodeling other single family homes to also take advantage of the growing student population there as well.

Dont get me wrong. These areas are not all being purchased by investors. It is not 100% all rentals either. There are many nice single family home owners scattered throughout both areas that you mention above. The best thing this developments have brought to the west side are the great restaurants, shopping and breweries. Those are found more to the north part of SWAN on bridge street.

As a cyclist i do not know how much I would want to live on Belknap hill especially in the winter. Might be a tough climb which is fantastic if you are into that. But if you are routinely coming into
Downtown Grand Rapids via Michigan street hill, be prepared to have some impressive stats on your Strava account. If I was a commuter cyclist who wishes to bike to downtown frequently and was looking to move to Grand Rapids, I would would also consider the Creston area or west side along with the Eastown area. Easttown is probably more pricey both in rents and purchase due to its large growth in restaurants and night life.
in both the Creston area and the west side I feel there is a bit better value to the rents and purchase still.
The ride down Walker Avenue from the Westsider Cafe is a lot of fun.
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Old 05-09-2019, 07:12 AM
 
Location: Niceville, FL
8,522 posts, read 17,078,455 times
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There are a lot of homes ‘up the hill’ that are far enough from either Leonard or Lake Michigan Drive that it would be no fun trying to get to a bus stop during a light snowstorm and sidewalks in that area can be hit or miss.
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Old 05-09-2019, 03:07 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,870,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beachmouse View Post
There are a lot of homes ‘up the hill’ that are far enough from either Leonard or Lake Michigan Drive that it would be no fun trying to get to a bus stop during a light snowstorm and sidewalks in that area can be hit or miss.
That could be said for much of Midtown too.
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Old 05-23-2019, 08:55 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Mi
12 posts, read 6,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yalls_ View Post
Thank you all for the information!

It seems like most of the housing recommendations in this thread, and elsewhere online, are focused around East Hills and Eastown. Pretty much within the borders of Michigan St to the North, Wealthy to the South, Lafayette and Plymouth from East to West.

However, I haven't heard much in general about the neighborhoods North of Michigan and 196. Belknap Lookout and Highland Park? Nor have I heard much about West of the river, between the neighborhoods of Swan and West Grand (forgive me as Google maps doesn't show as much neighborhood naming conventions as the Eastern side).

Would anyone be able to share some insight on those areas?
I live in Swan about a half of a block from John Ball Zoo. We bought our home there about 10 years now and we really like it. Over the time we have been there, there has been a lot of renovating of houses and overall cleaning up. It's close to downtown, close to expressways, close to Millennium Park and Kent Trails with dozens of miles of biking and walking trails. Safe neighborhoods for the most part but there can be some questionable ones, especially east of Valley that boarder Butterworth.

The West Side has the best vibe, lots of working class neighborhoods, Polish Halls and great mix of people. Over by where we live there are lots of college (GVSU) students who rent that really help make it feel alive. The park in the summer is always filled people, kids and dogs.

With that being said, my wife and I are planning on moving to the Southwest in the next several months. To be frank, the weather sucks here. Lake Michigan not only produces snow but clouds. Cold air going over the warmer lake from the west produces one of the most cloudy places on Earth from November-April. The lake also keeps us a bit warmer than Wisconsin and Illinois but I'd take sunshine over a few degrees any day. The snow can range from 60 inches to well over 100. I would say to be prepared to drive on snow packed/covered roads and highways about 30-40 days per year. Summers can be hot and humid but summer tends to take a while to get here. Cold weather (highs in the 50's) can continue well into May and you don't see 70's regularly until June. By the middle of October things change quickly with temps in the 70's early in the month and snow on the ground by the end of the month in some years.

Another reason we plan on moving are the politics of the place but I won't get into that. Lets just say a certain group of people have a stranglehold on who represents us.

The people of Grand Rapids are not the friendliest. They are of the typical mid-west mindset, fairly insular.

If you are moving to Grand Rapids I would suggest the west side. It's the most diverse and lively neighborhood in the city.
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Old 05-25-2019, 06:17 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids Metro
8,885 posts, read 17,870,582 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by redcrow48 View Post
I live in Swan about a half of a block from John Ball Zoo. We bought our home there about 10 years now and we really like it. Over the time we have been there, there has been a lot of renovating of houses and overall cleaning up. It's close to downtown, close to expressways, close to Millennium Park and Kent Trails with dozens of miles of biking and walking trails. Safe neighborhoods for the most part but there can be some questionable ones, especially east of Valley that boarder Butterworth.

The West Side has the best vibe, lots of working class neighborhoods, Polish Halls and great mix of people. Over by where we live there are lots of college (GVSU) students who rent that really help make it feel alive. The park in the summer is always filled people, kids and dogs.

With that being said, my wife and I are planning on moving to the Southwest in the next several months. To be frank, the weather sucks here. Lake Michigan not only produces snow but clouds. Cold air going over the warmer lake from the west produces one of the most cloudy places on Earth from November-April. The lake also keeps us a bit warmer than Wisconsin and Illinois but I'd take sunshine over a few degrees any day. The snow can range from 60 inches to well over 100. I would say to be prepared to drive on snow packed/covered roads and highways about 30-40 days per year. Summers can be hot and humid but summer tends to take a while to get here. Cold weather (highs in the 50's) can continue well into May and you don't see 70's regularly until June. By the middle of October things change quickly with temps in the 70's early in the month and snow on the ground by the end of the month in some years.

Another reason we plan on moving are the politics of the place but I won't get into that. Lets just say a certain group of people have a stranglehold on who represents us.

The people of Grand Rapids are not the friendliest. They are of the typical mid-west mindset, fairly insular.

If you are moving to Grand Rapids I would suggest the west side. It's the most diverse and lively neighborhood in the city.
Wow, that's harsh. I happen to like Midwesterners.
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