The Flip Side of Gentrification

We live in a converted storefront. One that sat empty, without a store for 40+ years. One whose windows were spray painted over, in a neighborhood with an incredibly high crime rate. A bounty of drug deals and prostitutes at the next corner. Hell, that’s what it was like even when we moved into our loft apartment a block north, 10 years ago.

Then gentrification rolled in. People bought up houses at a great rate. The flipping started, the young people moved in, and conversions turned neighborhood warehouses into fancy lofts. Four years ago, we got on the bandwagon and bought into our neighborhood just as the tables were turning. As we started working on our home, the neighborhood continued chugging on. Caf├ęs, restaurants, brunch spots, and huge video game companies moved in. We have hip bars, fantastic food spots, good nightlife, easy subway access, close green space and an authentic neighborhood feel. Not to mention our property values have skyrocketed. It was rocking our socks off.

Then we came home to find for sale signs up on the front of TWO commercial buildings beside our house.

10693665_1550683841822208_697277039_nYep you heard right. In one week, both neighboring buildings to the south of us decided to list. That makes almost 80 feet of prime street frontage up for sale at the same time. Both of which are touting “Development Potential” on the listings. If this was a block or two away, I would probably think “oh that will be good for property values”. But it’s not a few blocks away. It’s in my backyard.

You know our fab ivy wall in the backyard? Well that’s one of the properties for sale. That actual wall. In our backyard. For Sale. “Development Potential”. Uh Oh.

Gentrification isn’t feeling so good when we’re on the other end. When there is a good chance a condo could end up 6″ from your house, ruining your private urban courtyard of a backyard. Our quiet serene escape…

So what do we do? We can’t afford to buy the properties. We’re at the mercy of the new buyers.

We’re hoping a small scale developer buys them. Someone who wants to build some high-end row houses. Or convert the existing buildings into lofts. Artist studios, or a brewery (seriously the building next door would be perfect for a brewery!) What we’re hoping doesn’t happen is a big condo building. Overlooking our yard. A construction pit at our foundation…

So send us your good vibes, and we will keep you posted. Oh and hey, do any of you want to be my neighbor?