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Old 03-22-2011, 08:35 AM
 
3 posts, read 7,563 times
Reputation: 11

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Hi everyone! My boyfriend and I are currently students enrolled at FSCJ and UNF, living right down the street from UNF. We're looking for our first home but being college students with my boyfriend's heart set on having a house, we've primarily been looking at cheap foreclosures. We love the old homes from the early 1900's in Springfield but we've heard a lot of negative things about the area. I know it's an area in the middle of a restoration period so that some areas are definitely improving but some aren't. I've also heard that specifically the historic district is OK but its borders are sketchy and pretty rough. Safety is a HUGE concern since I'm a 5'2" girl, already a creeper magnet, and I don't want to have to worry about being alone in our home. My boss who's been living in Jacksonville for years said that she wouldn't even take a jog down the street in Springfield. What's everyone's opinion on the area? And also how close are the stores?

I've also heard a lot of good things about Riverside and my boyfriend drives through it occasionally and says he loves it. I don't know anything about the area or even where exactly it's located, and I haven't looked at any homes for sale in the area (or at least knowingly :P). Is it a lot farther from UNF/FSCJ than Springfield? Can anyone provide some more information and opinions?

I've been doing a bit of research, especially on these forums, and have seen a lot of mixed answers so I figured I'd just ask my own question. We understand that there is crime everywhere but we would also like to feel okay leaving our house empty for a weekend if we go away.

We're relatively new to Jacksonville, having just moved up in August, so any and all info and tips are GREATLY appreciated. Please feel free to suggest any other areas too. We really appreciate being so close to school and shops where we are now, and we love the Beaches and are fans of the Southside/Tinseltown area. Thanks!!

Last edited by unf_gina; 03-22-2011 at 09:39 AM..
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Old 03-22-2011, 11:53 AM
 
274 posts, read 584,256 times
Reputation: 138
Riverside is a pretty big area with different neighborhoods - but I love the place. It isn't super convenient to UNF but the homes have a ton of character and the neighborhood is really cool.

Springfield - well, you're gonna get a crowd of cheerleaders here telling you it's the best neighborhood on earth, and for many people, it is. But my wife and I (in our late 20s / early 30s) bought a house last year and specifically did not buy in Springfield. It requires a lot of money and a lot of time, and the desire to work on your home and meet the exacting specifications required of a Historic District - and you still risk the house next door being demolished. On top of that, the "Historic Springfield" is an oasis of several blocks in the middle of what can best be described as a ghetto. My wife - who is about your size - didn't feel safe walking around at night. I'm a lifelong Jacksonville resident by the way, and that area has periodically had its ups and downs (mainly downs).

So I'd check out Riverside. Convenient to grocery shopping, very walkable, well-lit, affordable. Not terribly far from UNF. But... your mileage may vary. You should at least spend time driving and walking both areas to see how you feel.

Last word of advice: tread carefully regarding foreclosures. Sometimes they are more trouble than they're worth. That and a good home inspector is worth their weight in gold.
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Old 03-22-2011, 04:35 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,530 posts, read 7,415,879 times
Reputation: 904
We love the old homes from the early 1900's in Springfield but we've heard a lot of negative things about the area.

Yup. it used to be THE worst neighborhood in the entire city.

Thankully, about 10 years ago it started to change....and in the last 5 years it's been turned around. Don't take my word for it:
Springfield

In fact, last year it was named the #1 upcoming & neighborhood in the south:
The South's Best Neighborhoods - Southern Living

And this magazine article came out a couple months ago, highlighting all of the young, active people attracted to the area:
Stats about all US cities - real estate, relocation info, house prices, home value estimator, recent sales, cost of living, crime, race, income, photos, education, maps, weather, houses, schools, neighborhoods, and more (just sign in to read it)


I know it's an area in the middle of a restoration period so that some areas are definitely improving but some aren't.

Well, the historic district is pretty much fine. Liberty b/t 8th & 9th Street is the "worst" spot now, but nothing has ever happened there. The "normal" middle-class+ residents don't really hang out with the sketchy looking passer-bys, so just generally being aware and using commonsense does the trick.

I've also heard that specifically the historic district is OK but its borders are sketchy and pretty rough.

Yes, the historic district is the area associated with the drastic gentrification. The areas North, East & West are not so nice, and your average SPR homeowner doesn't spend anytime in them (there's really no reason to). The area just South is Downtown, which is generally ok.


Safety is a HUGE concern since I'm a 5'2" girl, already a creeper magnet, and I don't want to have to worry about being alone in our home.

This is most people's concern at first. But, the more people to talk to residents and spend time there, the more people don't feel it's a big issue. Check out all of the New/Old Resident interviews on www.myspringfield.org , and you'll get a great feel for the neighborhood.

But if these people feel ok:

































then i'd imagine you'll probably feel ok, too. (all from www.myspringfield.org)


My boss who's been living in Jacksonville for years said that she wouldn't even take a jog down the street in Springfield.

That's pretty out of touch with reality. This couple moved in not too long ago, from the very posh San Jose area, both active joggers:

"Q: Do you have any advice for someone thinking about moving to the Springfield Historic Distinct?
Darin: Just that there’s a misconception about crime here. It’s not what some people think it is. Old stereotypes.
Regina: Yeah, I think that’s important to know. I mean, I go jogging at night by myself for what it’s worth.
But speaking as a realtor: there are great values in the area, so do your research. Join us at a First Friday neighborhood party to see who lives here, and the lifestyle. You might be surprised!"





from: Springfield Residents Darin Bickle & Regina Sooey and Ms. Flo | mySpringfield

Oh, the husband is a police officer too. Maybe he knows what he's doing? =)



What's everyone's opinion on the area? And also how close are the stores?

Note sure what stores you are referring to. The commerical revitalization of the area is far behind the residential. So there are are cool places scattered throughout the neighborhood, but no successful main commerical corridor as yet. That's the plan, though. The Downtown amenties are 2 miles away (a quick bike ride), Riverside's shops & stores are 4 miles away, San Marco's shops & stores are 5 miles away,



I've also heard a lot of good things about Riverside and my boyfriend drives through it occasionally and says he loves it.

Yes, Riverside & Avondale historic district is many people's favorite in Jacksonville, including my own. It was just named a Top 10 neighborhood in the US:
Great Places in America: Neighborhoods

&

Residents already know how great Jacksonville's Riverside-Avondale area is | jacksonville.com

and has even received international acclaim:
FT.com / House & Home - Perfectly preserved

www.riverside-avondale.org for more info.

I don't know anything about the area or even where exactly it's located, and I haven't looked at any homes for sale in the area (or at least knowingly :P). Is it a lot farther from UNF/FSCJ than Springfield? Can anyone provide some more information and opinions?

It's located just Southwest of Downtown. About 4 miles from SPR, since you seem to know where that is. Riverside & Avondale historic district and Springfield histopric distirct are close to one another, as they both broder Downtown, so SPR maybe be 5-10 minutes closer to UNF, depending what part you live in.

I've been doing a bit of research, especially on these forums, and have seen a lot of mixed answers so I figured I'd just ask my own question.

City-Data is great resource. But for more accurate info about Riverside & Avondale and Springfield historic districts, i'd advise using the forums at www.metrojacksonville.com & www.myspringfield.org .

Both are great forums as well, that specialize in the areas you are interested in.

We understand that there is crime everywhere but we would also like to feel okay leaving our house empty for a weekend if we go away.

Yup.

We're relatively new to Jacksonville, having just moved up in August, so any and all info and tips are GREATLY appreciated. Please feel free to suggest any other areas too. We really appreciate being so close to school and shops where we are now, and we love the Beaches and are fans of the Southside/Tinseltown area. Thanks!!

San Marco may be another area you are interested in. It's relatively similar to Riverside & Avondale and Springfield in terms of layout and architecture, but a bit more posh.

More info here: www.mysanmarco.com & www.smpsjax.com

TinselTown area is nothing like the neighborhoods we've talked about here. It's full of generic chain stores and restuarants, you have to drive everywhere, it's not walking/bikeing friendly, doesn't have any character, etc. You'll find the residents are different too.

The neighborhoods that we've talked about here are generally very creative, artsy, independent, social, active, progessive, gay-friendly, and eclectic.

The TinselTown area isn't known for these things.


Word of advice: Use a realtor that is very familar with these areas. The older, electic, unique, neighborhoods that we've talked about here have become trendy relatively recently, so your average realtor won't have a clue about them besides what they happen to read in the newspaper.


These people specialize in these neighborhoods, and very familar with all thier ends and outs:

www.dwellingsjax.com & www.intownjacksonville.com

Also, fyi, though all are older neighborhoods, there are new construction homes, recently renovated homes, and homes that still need full renovation. Something for everyone.

Generally speaking, San Marco & Avondale will be the most expensive, Riverside in the middle, and Springfield the least expensive (as it hasn't hit it's ceiling yet, still unfinished).

I grew up In Riverside, when it was NOT a "trendy" or "nice" area, and watched it blossom. My wife & I live in the Springfield historic district now, partially because it's widely considered to be the next Riverside & Avondale.

http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v4662/137/64/5213820/n5213820_52230066_8040244.jpg (broken link)

(Hey, that's me and her!)


It's kinda where the "smart" money is, per se (ask me to name drop, and I just might).


Anyways, the historic neighborhoods are a hobby of mine, and I have tons of other info, photos, maps, advice about them ALL if you are interested or have a question. Just let me know. All of them are great, imo. Just depends on what you're looking for.

Cheers!


P.S. - The Springfield historic district hosts a neighborhood "First Friday" party every first Friday of the month, organized and hosted by a resident. Sometimes it's in thier home, sometimes it's a block party, alley party, etc. This is probably THE BEST way to talk to a bazillion residents to get thier take on things. If you and your better half are intersted in stopping by, it's a great time and you'll get a ton of useful feedback. Just let me know and i'll PM you the specific location. Usually 40-100 people show up, depending. Visitors are always welcome!

Last edited by fsu813; 03-22-2011 at 04:45 PM..
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Old 03-22-2011, 07:19 PM
 
Location: JAX
705 posts, read 1,370,107 times
Reputation: 299
If you want cheap, safe, close to UNF/FSCJ and closer to the beach, how 'bout southside. We just moved there ourselves. We moved into Coachman Lakes, right across Huffman from FSCJ.
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Old 03-23-2011, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 18,782,788 times
Reputation: 6733
Regardless of the area - can you afford a house? Do the math. You'll have a mortgage - property taxes - homeowners' insurance - utility bills and repairs and maintenance. The last is especially important if you're looking at houses that are older and/or in foreclosure. Note that repairs and maintenance will usually be more expensive or a lot more expensive in areas that have lots of rules (like designated historic districts and homeowners' associations). Robyn
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Old 03-27-2011, 10:36 PM
 
25 posts, read 48,926 times
Reputation: 13
Thought I would share my recent attempt to purchase a home in Springfield and my observations as a newbie to the area in general.

I was in the process of purchasing a home on 9th St. in Springfield. There were many nay sayers telling me to stay away and that it just wasnt worth the risks. Heck I had lived in transitional neighborhoods in the past in other cities! I therefore pretty much just blocked the bad stuff out listened to all the postive stuff and moved forward with the deal. I just kept telling myself I was getting a fantastic deal on a great 5 year old home. In the end however while having the home inspected I started to second guess things. As I sat around just for a few hours there was just way too much foot traffic. Im not talking just homeless people minding their own business we are talking about some really rough looking Gansta types. The final kicker was a police helicoptor circling just a few hundred feet about the back yard. At that time I just said OK, this is enough, lifes too short to deal with all these distractions. I dont want to constantly have to be on guard as to my surroundings, I just want to live and relax a bit.

Another observation I have about the neighborhood is this. You essentially have (3) types of properties. Very old cool homes in need of restoration, very old homes already lovingly restored and last you have many-many of the new SRG homes. The way I look at it is the restored homes and these new homes are the anchor for the neighborhood. You build off that base and keep moving forward. The home I looked at was an SRG and I was shocked as to the poor condition of that 5 year old home. I looked at all the adjacent homes that were also SRG and found them to have many of the same exterior deficiencies. Sure these things could be fixed, but you should have to do these things 5 years into it. The neighborhood doesnt need new houses that need major work, just another step back.. I wont go into details on this, this is simply my observation.

I think Springfield can continue to move in the right direction if new people have the stomach for it. Believe me I would like nothing more that to someday look at that neighborhood and say, Wow, wished I would have stayed there.

I think however with today's economy and there being so many short sales and forclosures in very nice neighborhoods, the very transitional neighborhoods like Springfield will be last in line. The time line for gentrification is going to simply be way to long. I hope I am wrong...
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Old 03-27-2011, 11:00 PM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
2,739 posts, read 4,899,088 times
Reputation: 744
The smart money is in Springfield. Not a bad investment.
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Old 03-28-2011, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Jacksonville, FL
3,530 posts, read 7,415,879 times
Reputation: 904
That's too bad.

You could have been apart of this awesome group: 9th Street Charities

which include these babes =)

http://9thstreetcharities.org/images/2010_Cal_Back-Page_291x225.jpg (broken link)

who all live in the neighborhood and obviously feel pretty comfortable, i'd say (part of a charity calander shoot last year).

The "gangsta" typish people are almost completely gone from the neighborhood. However, there are still some properties that rent to them on Liberty b/t 8th & 9th. This is probably where that foot traffic was coming from. That being said, there haven't been any incidents involving homeowners in that area in a long time. Years?

If I were you, i'd come to the neighborhood First Friday party this Friday, April 1st @ 7pm-12am, being held at the Community Garden (1425 Laura Street). These are alway the best, hands down, way to meet 100+ or so neighbors and ask all sorts of questions.

This one is kid friendly, dog friendly, and will have an open mic as well.

Swing by...

or, if digital is your thing, say hello at www.myspringfield.org. Very helpful people and info.

Last edited by fsu813; 03-28-2011 at 09:28 AM..
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:33 AM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 18,782,788 times
Reputation: 6733
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaymanbikes View Post
Thought I would share my recent attempt to purchase a home in Springfield and my observations as a newbie to the area in general.

I was in the process of purchasing a home on 9th St. in Springfield. There were many nay sayers telling me to stay away and that it just wasnt worth the risks. Heck I had lived in transitional neighborhoods in the past in other cities! I therefore pretty much just blocked the bad stuff out listened to all the postive stuff and moved forward with the deal. I just kept telling myself I was getting a fantastic deal on a great 5 year old home. In the end however while having the home inspected I started to second guess things. As I sat around just for a few hours there was just way too much foot traffic. Im not talking just homeless people minding their own business we are talking about some really rough looking Gansta types. The final kicker was a police helicoptor circling just a few hundred feet about the back yard. At that time I just said OK, this is enough, lifes too short to deal with all these distractions. I dont want to constantly have to be on guard as to my surroundings, I just want to live and relax a bit.

Another observation I have about the neighborhood is this. You essentially have (3) types of properties. Very old cool homes in need of restoration, very old homes already lovingly restored and last you have many-many of the new SRG homes. The way I look at it is the restored homes and these new homes are the anchor for the neighborhood. You build off that base and keep moving forward. The home I looked at was an SRG and I was shocked as to the poor condition of that 5 year old home. I looked at all the adjacent homes that were also SRG and found them to have many of the same exterior deficiencies. Sure these things could be fixed, but you should have to do these things 5 years into it. The neighborhood doesnt need new houses that need major work, just another step back.. I wont go into details on this, this is simply my observation.

I think Springfield can continue to move in the right direction if new people have the stomach for it. Believe me I would like nothing more that to someday look at that neighborhood and say, Wow, wished I would have stayed there.

I think however with today's economy and there being so many short sales and forclosures in very nice neighborhoods, the very transitional neighborhoods like Springfield will be last in line. The time line for gentrification is going to simply be way to long. I hope I am wrong...
So where did you decide to go (I recall that you were looking at JAX and some other places too)?

FWIW - when we first moved to the metro area from south Florida in 1995 - we thought that - overall - the quality of construction ranged from fair to poor (even at the higher end). I have my theories why - but no sense getting into details here. Took us a long time to find a builder we trusted. I think that the quality of construction deteriorated more during the "boom years" in the mid-2000's - when both skilled workers and materials were in short supply (those were the days when you had to make an appointment with an electrician 3 weeks in advance).

In any event - I'd be very careful about buying any house here - in any neighborhood. New - used - renovated - whatever. Get very thorough inspections. And get answers to important questions from the seller in writing (like have you ever had problems with termites). A lot of sellers and agents aren't particularly forthcoming when it comes to telling you about the problems in a house.

BTW - I did find this about SRG Homes:

home is 5 years old, have roof leaks, flooring problems, septic system failure, water comming down walls when it rains. etc. And this is the builders model

Srg Homes & Neighborhood's, 126 E 7th St, Jacksonville, FL 32206 - Kudzu.com Profile (note that I don't know where this house is). Robyn
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Old 03-28-2011, 11:44 AM
 
25 posts, read 48,926 times
Reputation: 13
Ponte Vedra Beach
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