urban (2007-48)

The New Big

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Urban Renewal

Downsize your lifestyle while still living large

by Matt Edens

Small, itâ’s been said, is â“The New Big.â” From Appleâ’s ubiquitous iPod to the pint-sized and pricey Mini Cooper, our fascination with cramming more and more into less and less has radically altered the bigger is better ethos of American commerce. And the trend toward downsizing has certainly had its impact on downtown revitalization as more and more people learn that, while a loft condo may be small, the lifestyle is large. The shift, surprisingly, started even before oil hit $100 a barrel and the meltdown in the mortgage industry made it smart to think small.

Nowhere is downsizingâ’s impact on downtown more apparent than in its increasing number of empty nesters. Although typically touted as housing for younger hipsters, climbing condo prices mean that affluent boomers may now make up the biggest chunk of new downtown dwellers. Some are confirmed singles. Some are couples who never had kids. But a surprising number are couples who realized that, with the kids grown, they not only donâ’t need that big, rambling rancher out in the â‘burbs, theyâ’re free to go out more: dinner and a movie, drinks, maybe a show?

Loft living, however, isnâ’t for everyone. Some folks prefer a little patch of dirt for gardening and suchâ"one thing that, other than the odd balcony or roof deck, is hard to come by downtown. Others appreciate being close to their neighbors but balk at the idea of sharing a hallway, lobby, or even a wall. And while there are a smattering of freestanding houses downtown, most have long been converted to uses other than housing (Museums, Masonic Temples, the occasional dance clubâ)

So if youâ’re intrigued by the downsized downtown lifestyle but are unwilling to part with a patch of dirt to call your own, might I suggest a compromise? Consider this bungalow conveniently located just a block off Broadway in Old North Knoxville. At 1,800 square feet, itâ’s bigger than lots of lofts. And, while its 50â’ x 100â’ lot is a postage stamp by suburban standards, it still offers an opportunity to indulge your green thumb (thereâ’s off-street parking, too).

This Arts and Crafts style home comes with similar features youâ’ll find in downtown condosâ"original hardwood floors, high ceilingsâ"plus others you often donâ’t, like the pocket doors and tiled fireplace. And, despite being remodeled and updated to include all new electrical and plumbing, plus a new kitchen and baths, the cost per square foot is a fraction of the downtown price.

1237 Armstrong Ave.

1,881 sq. ft.

3 bdrm, 2 bath

$154,900

Contact: Jennifer Montgomery

Coldwell Banker: 693-1111

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All content © 2007 Metropulse .

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