Over the past weekend Sarah (my fiancee) and I continued our search for a place to live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Sarah told me that one of her accounting intern friends from Crowe Chizek rented an apartment in an old Victorian house off Cherry St near downtown GR, and that it was quite amazing inside.
We went down to the area she was talking about and fount that it was actually in the corner of the Heritage Hill historical district. Some of the houses were quite nice, but some were also more towards the dilapidated end of the spectrum. Overall it did not look like a bad part of town, however the lack of shopping facilities (for groceries etc), a well documented phenomenon in GR, is a bit of a turn off. We did grab one of the info sheets off of one of the homes that were for sale, and found that they are probably outside of our price range. This one was something like $295,000. These homes are all quite large, so that was not too shocking.
While driving around we also came across the Hillmount Condominiums, which happened to be having an open house that day, so we decided to take a look. These condos were quite interesting. The building had always been apartments, but was recently purchased by a developer to be upgraded and appeal to the young crowd. The building has 1 and 2 bedroom units for sale starting at right around $100,000, and features a weight room and a really nice rooftop deck with an amazing view of downtown GR.
We found that the building was quite nice overall but there are a few things I do not like at all about the building:
- The origional windows were kept – these windows are single pane and while they do look nice, I am sure they are energy efficiency nightmares. I can not understand why a condo re-development would do this. I suppose they mask this inefficiency by having heating bill be part of the “association dues”, however this is not quite the kind of “new urban” development that I like to see.
The units do not have built in air conditioning. Granted that I try to avoid using AC as much as I can, but there are some nights in Michigan where I would not sleep without it. That being said, the worst part about choosing not to install AC in the units is that now at least half of the condos in the building have the usual ugly window mounted air conditioners hanging out of them. Yuck.
- The building has cell phone tower electronics mounted on its roof. I don’t necessarily think that this is going to give me cancer or anything, and this is not really a deal breaker, however I am not too fond of it. Additionally, WoodTV 8 is located next door, and with their array of satellite dishes, perhaps there is grounds for concern.
It was quite interesting to see anyway. I am pretty sure that I do not want to live there, however it did seems appealing on some levels. On the other hand, their website is quite nice but unfortunately done in flash.