Not too long ago, I was in a condo here in Salem Oregon and was thinking about whether or not I was an urban dweller. When I lived in Portland, the Pearl District was a mess of abandoned and broken down warehouses. You could hear a rat scurry across the street as no cars were around for what seemed like miles. Fast forward to today where the Pearl District is a bustling, thriving area of Portland.
Salem has never been a cosmopolitan city, and when the downtown condos went in, I had to go an take a look. The layout of the condos on Church Street is quite nice, and they are nicely done. As I walked around the condo, I longed for my backyard and my space. Now, compared to this little New York gem, the condos at Church Street are mammoth.
So, do any of you think that you could live in a place that small?
Wow, 90 SF is small, but I like the idea. As a prospective Salem resident, I wish there were more high-density housing in the core area. The existing condo options are mammoth indeed, not to mention ridiculously priced for people who embrace simple, efficient, and walkable central living. Maybe those projects would stand a chance if they subdivided their units into 350-500 SF each and got real on their prices. Until then, those of us who are not interested in buying single-family homes will have to settle for renting downtown. Not a bad option, but still. Come on, Salem developers.
John the condo prices of the Meridian and the Rivers need to be about 1/2 of what they are for Salem incomes. I think there is a lot of demand for walkable living around downtown as long as it is inline with Salem incomes. I think they would sell out fast if they were affordable. There are quite a few 800 sq feet condos in the Meridian and I think there are many people like yourself that want a more simple living style. You aren’t alone in thinking they are really overpriced for Salem.
I prospectively welcome you to Salem 🙂
Thanks, Melina. Above 200K, I won’t even look, regardless of square footage. But it’s not just the prices. Even the smaller units are oversized. I’d rather pay 100K for a well-designed 500 SF than spend more for unneeded space. At 150K, I might look, but I’ll probably lose interest if 800 SF is the smallest option. The 90 SF in the New York video might seem extreme, but it does speak to an important shift in values. People who want to live simply and centrally want their communities, rather than their homes or other possessions, to be the focus of their lives. While Salem might need time to catch up to this notion, the town does have potential in its existing complexes — if only the developers were willing to change course now, while those behemoths sit mostly empty and can still be re-envisioned. They built, and no one came. Time to try again.
I know in Portland they are building exactly what you are talking about. They are called micro homes. The problem with Salem is that downtown living is such a new concept here AND our downtown infrastructure and bus system really isn’t up to the task for car less owners yet. I do think that if they could get these condos more affordable and get people living downtown, what you are talking about is the next step. Salem has functioned more as suburbia rather than a city with a core.