We have LOVED living downtown these last few years but the time has come to close our door at 407 for good. As we pack up our space we reflect on our time here as residents.
Personally, I've lived with 616 Lofts for nearly 4 years and have loved every minute. 616 Lofts is a wonderful company that really focuses on community and growing our city for the better. Their spaces are modern and comfortable, and their customer service is top notch. Over the years I've been asked, "Is the cost worth it?" - it's by no means considered cheap, but my answer every time is, "100% yes. For years I was a single gal living and working in downtown. I was mere steps away from bars and restaurants, never had to worry about cabs home, and walked to work each day." Living downtown is a lifestyle choice that I would recommend to any single 20-30 something who's looking to be in the center of it all. But while downtown Grand Rapids is great for singles and new couples, it has yet to accommodate family living.
And so, while there's a good amount we'll miss, there are also a few things that we won't:
1. TO THE NEIGHBORS NEXT DOOR
I'm not sure if you can hear us, but we can hear you and sometimes it's awkward. Especially when there's fighting. This has made me super self aware of how loud our TV plays, when I run our laundry, and having guests over late as to not disturb other residents. I look forward to being separated from our neighbors by more than just a wall and playing the TV as loudly as we'd like.
2. HAULING GROCERIES
This got better once Jeff moved in because then I had a teammate to help carry bags in and re-park the car. But I do look forward to never having to haul my La Croix and Bud Light further than a few steps again. America!
3. WEEKEND PARKING
Meter parking is free on the weekends which means there's usually never a place near our front door because spaces are filled with downtown visitors. Sometimes this adds to the frustration of grocery hauling. But most of the time, it would be nice to have a spot right outside your front door. I'm over walking the 3 blocks to our parking lot.
4. ONLY HAVING ONE BATHROOM
This was of course fine when I was single, but sharing a bathroom with your lifetime roommate gets old quick. We never have a problem getting ready in the morning - our schedules work out well enough that our bathroom time doesn't conflict, but after a long car trip it's a matter of who 'calls-it' first - cause we're mature like that.
5. THE VIEW
Now, I can't complain about this item too badly as I did chose the unit we live in for the sole purpose that it DIDN'T face a busy street. Our view is on the interior of the building which actually prevents a lot of the city noise - a trade-off I believe was worth having. But I am ready to actually see something other than a brick wall when I look out our windows. Maybe wave at a human? Or curse at the neighbors cat because it's on the porch again. Stuff like that. In addition, we look forward to being able to open our windows. The windows in our unit don't have windows that open which totally cuts down on bugs (we've never seen a fly in our house) but totally puts a damper on having fresh air in the space. That said, our building does have plenty of great views of the city, just not our unit.
6. NOT SEEING GRASS
Sure, there are parks scattered throughout downtown but to actually find a patch worth laying out on for a picnic and for reading a good book we'd have to ride our bikes to Reeds Lake or Riverside Park. Having a yard (even a little one) is exciting to us.
7. THE GEORGE FOREMAN
We cannot wait to get a real 'adult' grill! Cooking chicken and burgers on the Foreman just isn't the same. Plus, now we won't have to live with cooked meat smell in our house for the few days following the Foreman's use.
8. LIMITED HOSTING ABILITIES
Don't get me wrong, we LOVE hosting people at our loft downtown. The location is perfect for having small groups of friends over for happy hour before a show or concert. However, our party capacity really tops out at a comfortable 8, anything more than that and we are stuck shifting furniture against the wall to make room. We are excited to host family and friend gatherings at our new place soon.
9. UNRELIABLE INTERNET SERVICE
On this, we had a choice: Azulstar or Comcast. Because of my crappy experience with Comcast in the past we went with Azulstar. However, had we known the trouble we would go through with Azulstar I would have signed back up with Comcast. Azulstar, while extremely affordable ($25/mo.), is awful. It's slow, scattered service and very unreliable. For the past year I've had a running text conversation with our Azulstar representative letting him know each time our service went out so he could reboot the router for us.
10. SUNDAY NIGHT MUSIC AT GRBC
We've loved living over GRBC for the past few years. In fact, the noise from the bar and streets below never bothered us. When one decides to live downtown they're signing up for being in the center of it all, which isn't exactly 'silent night.' However, I don't think we'll miss the sounds of bass vibrating through our loft at 10pm each Sunday night. We look forward to some leisurely Sunday evenings without the loud tunes from below.