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Thread: Apartments in your region: what form do they take?

  1. #1
    Cyburbia Administrator Dan's avatar
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    Apartments in your region: what form do they take?

    Doing virtual apartment hunting in the Austin, Texas area, it seems the vast majority of rental units are in large low-rise complexes; the kinds of amenity-laden places with 200 or more units, community rooms, large fitness centers, "three sparkling pools", promises of "resort-like living", and so on. It seems like half of them have names that follow a theme of "The Something at Something Else"; for example, "The Legacy at Tuscan Oaks" or "The Mansions at Vista Ranch".

    Back "home home" in Buffalo, such complexes are virtually unknown, and the few that are out there don't have the amenities of the suburban complexes in the Sunbelt. In the city, most rental units are in two-flats or divided mansions, above pre-WWII storefronts, or far less commonly, in mid-rise apartment buildings. Garden apartments are present, but also uncommon. In the 'burbs, rental units are usually in small, individually owned buildings with four to 16 units. Most such buildings were built in the 1950s and 1960s, and have a standard colonial or mansard roof design theme. In the burbs, apartments typically aren't the domain of young adults or corporate transferees, but rather the elderly, who stay in the same unit for years or decades.

    Here in Cleveland, it's a bit different, with the addition of large Toronto-like high-rise buildings in some suburbs (parts of Mayfield Heights can remind me of Mississauga), and eight- to 16- unit two- to four-story pre-war walkups in the inner ring suburbs; places with names like "The Argosy", "The Standard" and "The Blanche" carved in stone above the front entrance. (What is an "argosy," anyhow?). Prewar garden apartments are also common in the inner ring 'burbs.

    Toronro? Huge commieblocks everywhere. Lots and lots of commieblocks. There's also the infamous basement apartment.

    What about your city?
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  2. #2
    Cyburbian Veloise's avatar
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    In the older part of the city, we have historic mansions made into efficiencies, and a few built-as-duplexes, either side by side or up and down. Many feature on-street parking.

    The 'burbs have the schmancy complexes with their little balconies and fresh paint. Nickname for Kentwood: Rentwood.

    Dan, try craigslist. Also might be a local property owners site (that's where I've found all my rental units).

  3. #3
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Being one of America's largest cities means apartment living is quite common here.

    A few types:

    Courtyard - These were largely built in the inter-war period and from the name have a central "courtyard" though they are most commonly U-shaped.



    Two-flat - Self explanatory, again. These will commonly have a garden unit as well.



    Four-Plus-One - Post-war form that dot many lakefront neighborhoods. Parking at the garden level and then three to four stories above. Units tend to be quite small, usually studios or one bedrooms.

    Highrise - Usually located along the lake. Density decreases dramatically within blocks from the lake.


  4. #4
    Cyburbian Seabishop's avatar
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    Triple deckers! Rowhouses are few and far between in southern New England until you get to NY.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Here's a few more I've photographed.


    In Berwyn, 2.5 flat I suppose.


    In Chicago's Ravenswood neighborhood.


    In clearing neighborhood, past Midway airport


    Near Altgeld Gardens, where Obama did his community organizing. Obviously these are abandoned.


    Mid-century two-flat

  6. #6
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    I'll reiterate jsk.

    Courtyard:


    2-flat:


    3-flat:
    (Really just a 2-flat with a 3rd floor)


    Those are the really ubiquitous work-a-day multi-family housing in Chicagoland (at least for the vintage housing). My favorite is the 4-flat. They are basically two 2-flats attached and have a great scale and usually still allow for sufficient yard area.

    Now with modern building and fire codes we get pretty much the standard double loaded corridor box.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

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  7. #7
    Cyburbian
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    In Albuquerque it's almost all low- to mid-rise complexes of varying footprint sizes. Just a few high-rises and subdivided houses.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Teofilo - Do you have any pix of some of those cool little garden apartment complexes in the downtown area (south of Central btw about 8th and 12th?)? Seems I recall you live near there. Some of those have been fairly nicely maintained/restored.
    The purpose of life is a life of purpose

  9. #9
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by wahday View post
    Teofilo - Do you have any pix of some of those cool little garden apartment complexes in the downtown area (south of Central btw about 8th and 12th?)? Seems I recall you live near there. Some of those have been fairly nicely maintained/restored.
    Why yes, yes I do. You can see a lot of them in this thread.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by Dan View post
    Doing virtual apartment hunting in the Austin, Texas area, it seems the vast majority of rental units are in large low-rise complexes; the kinds of amenity-laden places with 200 or more units, community rooms, large fitness centers, "three sparkling pools", promises of "resort-like living", and so on. It seems like half of them have names that follow a theme of "The Something at Something Else"; for example, "The Legacy at Tuscan Oaks" or "The Mansions at Vista Ranch".
    In the suburban South that seems to be the norm, 3-4 story buildings, lots of units, pool, fitness center, movie/game room that no one ever uses! The newer the complex, the more the amenities it has usually means higher rent...

  11. #11
    Cyburbian WSU MUP Student's avatar
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    I've always loved the older apartments that are all over Chicago. Because of the relative wealth in the Detroit area in the pre-war/pre-depression era, single-family housing was, and still pretty much is, the norm. There are a few pockets within the city itself that have a few 4 to 6 story courtyard apartment buildings like you might see in Chicago and then there are some random ones in some of the older suburbs.

    Then in the 1960s through the 1980s, there was a push to build some taller, newer apartment buildings including the Lafayette Park Towers designed by Miles van der Rohe.

    But other than that, it seems like most of the apartment complexes are the cooke cutter garden style 25 acres with 2 or 3 floor buildings with pools and tennis clubs and blah blah blah. Metro Detroit is definitely not a hot bed of rental options for the aesthically inclined shopper.
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  12. #12
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by beach_bum View post
    In the suburban South that seems to be the norm, 3-4 story buildings, lots of units, pool, fitness center, movie/game room that no one ever uses! The newer the complex, the more the amenities it has usually means higher rent...
    Yeah, here too. What amazes me is that people will actually buy units in the cheaply constructed buildings if the developer labels them condos! I bet you can hear the toilet flush upstairs (and downstairs).

    Back in southern New England, there are entire neighborhoods of triple-deckers (three-story, three-flat, flat-roofed tenements) that stretch for miles at a time. The units are very large (1000+SF) and have high ceilings and tons of windows as well as front and back porches.

    There are also many 4- to 5-story brick apartment buildings with formerly grand lobbies and old elevators. The units usually have a few windows facing an interior airshaft and the building shares one heating system (regulated by radiator valves and open windows).

  13. #13
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    jsk's examples are typical in older parts of Milwaukee, with the exception of our version of the "Gold Coast" on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. There, 20-30 story high rises are common. Out in the western burbs, Dan's examples are more common.

  14. #14
    Cyburbian DetroitPlanner's avatar
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    What are these apartments of which everyone speaks? Are they like the projects?

  15. #15
    Unfrozen Caveman Planner mendelman's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by WSU MUP Student View post
    I've always loved the older apartments that are all over Chicago. Because of the relative wealth in the Detroit area in the pre-war/pre-depression era, single-family housing was, and still pretty much is, the norm.
    I don't know about that for the pre-1940 portions of the City. There were miles and miles of 2, 3, & 4 dwelling houses in the City. Many have disappeared due to disinvestment, but they were everywhere.
    I'm sorry. Is my bias showing?

    Every day is today. Yesterday is a myth and tomorrow an illusion.

    You know...for kids.

  16. #16
    Cyburbian JNL's avatar
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    Lotsa different kinds! But none of the sprawling complexes, or 2-flat or 3-flats shown here. Our central city has undergone a major period of intensification in recent years, with the result that a lot of apartments are conversions: from factories, warehouses, offices, and wharf buildings.

    I could take some pics to show a downunder perspective if people are interested?

  17. #17
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by JNL View post
    .....I could take some pics to show a downunder perspective if people are interested?
    I'd be interested. I'll do the same thing here on the panhandle.

    Most of the things I've seen look more like flats rather than apartments. I guess it depends on the definition of "apartment" and "flat."

    But I could be wrong.

  18. #18
    I live in the east end of London, which has a wide variety of apartment types. I think the early slum clearances, then the bombing of ww2 then followed by post war construction has left a hug variety of different types and styles of units.

    There are a few intact streets with a huge variety of old housing on them, some I bet Jack the ripper must have walked down. Then there are the Victorian early social housing and then lastly the largest quantity are twentieth century council housing. Most of the older houses have been converted into apartments now, but personally Iíve found them small and poorly laid out.

    http://media.primelocation.com/SPACEGR/SPCE/Images/SPCE949333A.JPG

    http://www.realestate.com.au/i/docs/churchConversion2.jpg
    This church is just down the street and has been converted into expensive apartments.

    http://media.rightmove.co.uk/5k/4606/4606_50402038_IMG_00_0000.JPG

    http://img.findaproperty.com/webres/Thornwood/p12625416.jpg

    http://images.halfapercent.com/Exterior30.jpg
    I think this building is amazingly ugly, but for an example of Brutalism its pretty good.

    http://img.findaproperty.com/ellis/Bethnal-Green/p11785100.jpg

    http://img.findaproperty.com/ellis/Bethnal-Green/p11932047.jpg

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  19. #19
    Cyburbian jmello's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by RichmondJake View post
    Most of the things I've seen look more like flats rather than apartments. I guess it depends on the definition of "apartment" and "flat."
    IMO, "flat" is a type of residential unit, which refers to the floor plan.

    An "apartment" is a rental unit in a multi-family structure.

    Apartments and condos can have a variety of floor plans: flat, up and down, side by side, floor through, basement, split, etc.

  20. #20
    Cyburbian jsk1983's avatar
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    Here's a few more from Chicago:







    The last one is a 4+1 with parking on the ground floor. These are fairly common around the northside lake front neighbrohoods.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    Here are some from my area. I'll take and post more later.

    This might be a Section 8 project.










  22. #22
    Cyburbian Richmond Jake's avatar
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    I was out this morning...

    ...and took a few more apartment pictures.













    Habitual Offender

  23. #23
    Cyburbian Masswich's avatar
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    In New England, its solid triple deckers from Quebec to Stamford...

  24. #24
    Cyburbian cellophane's avatar
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    downtown louisville has quite a few condos in old buildings, as you move farther out east it is more converted houses and small shotguns rented as an entire unit, camel backs may be split into two units. once you get outside of 264 there are a lot more of the boring low-rise complexes but i try to avoid going that far out of town

    http://www.oldlouisville.com/
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Highlands_(Louisville) - 'the highlands' is a fashionable title to live under, most people that live anywhere along bardstown road say the live in the highlands, even though 'the highlands' is technically only a few blocks long

  25. #25
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    Big fan of triple deckers here. I lived in one during grad school and liked it. Much preferable to faceless apartment buildings - they feel like an actual home inside, and the thick plaster walls offer lots of sound insulation. They do not exist in the NY area until you hit CT. I'd gladly take one over the apartment buildings that dominate this area.

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