Downtown by the River

If you watch much of the show “Buying Alaska,” you will be very familiar with the phrase, “It has a view.” In Alaska, it is all about mountains, glaciers, and sometimes a lake, but in many cities the desired view involves an urban river. According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, “The Latest Housing Hotspot Is Downtown and by the River.” I think that San Antonio already knows this.

“Urban Energy and Natural Beauty”

Ceclie Rohwedder, (WSJ, December 6, 2018) writes about couples in Minneapolis, Washington DC, and Omaha trading in their country homes for homes in remodeled power plants and other industrial buildings in downtown areas along urban rivers, buildings that have been turned into modern condos. What does their new home offer, she asks? “Urban energy and natural beauty” one couple says.

I must agree. Watching a river is like watching a fire, its mesmerizing. But it is interesting and beautiful too with boats, birds, and fishermen. And those old buildings left over after industry has moved on, I have often looked at them, the old brick warehouses and mills that sit along the elevated freeways of our cities, the ones with the fading billboards high up on one corner, and vacant windows. What is the architecture like, I’d wonder? They look so sturdy. They are not going to come down soon, but who is going to use them.

Americans Just want to Live Downtown

Well the city planners, developers, and investors are way ahead of me. They are turning these behemoths into housing with a view, housing near culture and sports arenas, and water. Young professionals and retirees alike, it seems, crave community and walkability along with a touch of nature. And Americans overall (this year anyway) want to live downtown. An urban riverfront close to downtown offers work, culture, and play.

These are the areas that are drawing people to look at the old and want to make something new out of it. It is the buying and the fixing up of the building that is the investment. But investors are doing this all over the country and people are buying.

So, even if you are not up for buying and remodeling the old paper mill down by the river, when you are looking for a house to buy as a fix-n-flip investment, do not forget to scout around in these riverfront areas of your town. There, in the shadows of the big buildings, might be some smaller projects, homes or shops, more to your liking.


Austin, Texas