Anyone lived/living in Ann Arbor?

Discussion in 'General Residency Issues' started by DrRobert, Dec 21, 2005.

  1. DrRobert

    DrRobert Day or Night
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    Can anyone familiar with Ann Arbor give an assessment of the town from the perspective of a young, single person?

    Some points of interest include:

    1. Housing - cost, rent or buy, proximity to the medical center

    2. Restaurants

    3. Bars

    4. Live music

    5. Dating pool - is it necessary to hang out with the undergrads, are there "undergrad bars" and "grad student bars", etc.
     
  2. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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    I went there for medical school.

    1. Housing - not cheap. Cost of living near campus is rather high. Lots of medical students live in the med student "ghetto" (aka Island Drive Apartments). Personally, I think the quality of the apartments there kinda suck and the management could be better. But it's very close to the medical center. I think I posted about this a long time ago in some University of Michigan thread in Pre-Allo...I'll try to find it for you.

    2. Restaurants - lots of variety. Overall quality is above average. If you want Ethiopian food, you can find it. If you like sushi, there's a few sushi places too. Greek? no problem. etc.

    3. Bars - Ann Arbor is kinda funny because on each given night, people congregate at a certain bar. For instance, one night is called "Rick's night"...people gather at Scorekeepers on a Thursday night and the it seems that Conor O'Neills fills up on Friday night. The bar scene is a lot of fun. Lots of pre-professional students you'll meet...makes for a diverse dating pool.

    4. Live Music - plenty of it. Went to quite a few concerts at Blind Pig and jazz shows at some place whose name I'm blanking on now. There are free Ann Arbor magazines that get published every so often that have calendars for that kind of stuff.

    5. Dating pool - you can hang out with anyone you want. There are grad school social mixers that happen too...great way to meet grad students, dental students, law students, etc.
     
  3. AngryTesticle

    AngryTesticle Happy Gonad
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  4. Finally M3

    Finally M3 Senior Member
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    From someone who has been in Ann Arbor forever...

    1) Housing: Expensive for the Midwest. Closer you are to Central Campus, downtown, or medical campus, the more expensive it will be. Most of the residents live on the periphery of Ann Arbor in some of the newer developments. You also avoid the City of Ann Arbor property taxes that way.

    2) Restaurants: Lots of places, although there are very few 'fine dining' places within 15 minutes of Ann Arbor (Common Grill in Chelsea, Emily's in Northville, Cafe Bon Homme in Plymouth, and I don't like Chop House). Range from NY-style pizza joints to mom & pop Korean places, Cuban, sushi, etc. etc.

    3) Bars: There are three bar areas: Main Street: Generally a little older crowd (grad students, professionals), South U (Where Rick's, Touchdown, Charlies, etc., frat/sorority row hangouts), State Street/Necto/S'keepers (mix of both). And yes, there are meat-market nights, Wendesdays at Ricks, S'keepers on Thursdays, Connors on Fridays.

    4) Live Music: Also the Ann Arbor Folk fest in the summer. The SE Michigan area has a huge live music scene. If you are willing to drive 30-40 minutes to Detroit and it's suburbs, you can see just about anything/anyone play.

    5) Dating: It's a college town, with a huge undergrad, grad school population. Also, a lot of recent graduates work in some of the surrounding businesses (engineering & biotech).
     
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  5. lovemydrhubby

    lovemydrhubby Senior Member
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    Mind if I hijack your thread a bit?

    Any married residents out there in Ann Arbor? Where do most married residents/med students live? I know it seems to be a bit more expensive than other midwestern places.
     
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  6. DrRobert

    DrRobert Day or Night
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    BUMP


    and no hijacking missy ;)
     
  7. 3dtp

    3dtp Senior Member
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    We looked quite a bit before settling west of Ann Arbor in the Dexter school district. Dexter has become a bit more "Ann Arborized" but stil has one of the best school systems in the state. The prices in Dexter have equalized considerably and the community has about doubled in size since we moved here, so things have changed a bit, but it's still a very closenit community. You can find houses in Dexter that range from $160's to well over $1M, depending on what you're looking for. Freeways are far enough away that there's no noise, but close enough that except at peak school opening/closing times, traffic isn't much of an issue. Our house is about 90 years old, 2500 sqft, 3 BR 1.5 bath, formal living/dining/den/piano room big enough for a grand/full farm kitchen 2 car garage, and is assessed at $195k, taxes are around $2200. It'll probably be for sale next year.

    UM Med center is about 8 miles away and there are a couple of ways to get there. Figure about 15-20 minutes drive, and 15-20 minutes getting from the parking lot to the hospital. I ride my bike when the weather is nice, about a 40 minute ride along side the Huron River. Lots of parks, and beaches nearby, for kids to play/picnic. Baby sitters are usually pretty easy to find on Friday/Saturday nights and everything is pretty much within walking distance grocery/hardware and miscellaneous stores. It's a little lacking in restaurants, but that's supposed to change and they just decided to build a huge library in the downtown.

    Before that we lived in Ypsilanti, on the east side, also about 8 miles away. Condos run from around $100k, houses run about $160-180k. The Willow Run school system is improving, and I don't know its present state. People in Ann Arbor can be very snooty about Ypsilanti (Ypsitucky is their favorite term for it), but I thought it was a great place to live. It's a little more industrial than AA, but Eastern Michigan is a great university for those not headed for the Michigan's of this world. Saint Joseph hospital is there, but UM does not encourage its graduates to do residency there and some residents who did their TY years there really don't say much nice about the place. To the south is Pittsfield Township and Lincoln Schools. They are very middle class relatively conservative schools, with a broad mix of factory and professionals. Saline is also an option, about 20 minutes from UM, but the area is building up pretty quickly and traffic is starting to be a bit of a headache. Check the neighborhoods.

    As for AA itself, the schools are good, the housing prices are very high and the property taxes are quite high. It is a very liberal community with lots to do. The old west side has older houses, some in a designated historic district. The U has lots of free concerts, or minimal cost concerts, there's a great natural history museum that'll keep kids occupied for hours. There are beaches within half an hour, lots of recreation fields, and most Saturdays you can find me at the open skating at Vets park with the kids.

    If you're in the market for cheap, there's UM's Northwood housing, mostly grad students and their families. I don't know much about them since we never looked at them. Its on the UM's North Engineering campus and there are 24 hour buses that run to the Med center. Close to shopping.

    If you want lake property, bring your millions. Lake property around here is astonishing. We looked at a place on Portage Lake and choked. The asking price for a summer cottage 2 BR, no garage, minimal heat, bad septic and 45 minutes to UM was $655k. The taxes were $11,000 alone. I think Whitmore Lake about 10 miles north is a little better with prices running about $225k but the commute down 23 can be brutal in the morning.
     
  8. Fermi

    Fermi Senior Member
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    I'm strongly considering Michigan for the top spot on my rank list. I have a family, so I'd want to buy a house or townhome, but I always heard that Ann Arbor is disproportionately expensive for a small Midwestern city. However, I did some searching online here and found a bunch of houses and newer townhomes for around $200K, mostly due west about 2-3 miles from the medical center (just inside I-94), and several cheaper ones a couple miles due east on a little lake. Are these good areas? I didn't have time to drive around AA during my visit so I only saw the campus.
     
  9. 3dtp

    3dtp Senior Member
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    Hey, that's a nice site. These are reasonably nice areas. Geddes Rd as a commute to/from the hospital is a pain, but at the times you'll most likely be driving, it won't be a big one. Rush hours tend to be shorter, but Geddes is the only east/west artery, a two laner, with lots of traffic between UM and US 23.

    The houses you identified on the west side are older, smaller, 900-1200 sqft, usually without garages, pretty typical for AA's west side. They're close to Mack Pool. The southwest side is closer to Michigan Stadium. Also not bad.

    All of these are fairly close to UM (15-30 minutes depending on time of day) and all easy biking distance. AA is a very bike friendly town.

    Get a copy of the Ann Arbor Observer and check out several months of the crime maps. There's usually not a lot of crime, but there is some, mostly larcenies and such, but a few car thefts and more serious crimes too. Check the uni for on-campus stuff.

    The ones a couple of miles east would be Geddes Lakes? They're older and a lot of grad students live there. Not a bad place. Lakeview/Oakbrook are further east, cheaper still but not as nice.

    Check a couple of things.
    1. Property Taxes. Ann Arbor luuuves its taxes. The state has two tax structures. The tax the present owner pays called the Taxable Value and is relatively fixed and the tax you'll pay when you buy, which is the State Equalized Value (SEV). To find out what you'll pay, multiply the SEV by the City, County and School Millage rate less 6 mill Homestead Exemption.

    2. Association fees and what they cover. They can be reasonable or outrageous.

    3. School system. Most schools are very good in the region. Ann Arbor's schools lie somewhat to the left of Marx and Lenin, actually quite a bit to the left of Marx, so beware.
     
  10. Finally M3

    Finally M3 Senior Member
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    I almost spit my diet Coke onto my computer screen. Oh wait, Coke is now banned at the Unversity of Michigan. Am I allowed to drink it at home? :laugh:

    Ann Arbor is the 'bluest' part of this blue state.
     
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  11. GoodMonkey

    GoodMonkey sproutmobile
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    and that's one reason i've loved living here. :D
     
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  12. Fermi

    Fermi Senior Member
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    3dtp, that was great info--thanks much. Seems like most residents I talked to bought places in the more outlying areas. I was hoping to get something within a couple miles, but that may be difficult. Any other suggestions on good neighborhoods for those with small children?
     

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