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Be My Neighbor: Westgate Edition

 Josh Quinn Be My Neighbor: Westgate Edition
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After an exhausting search, my wife and I purchased our first home in Westgate; a neighborhood on the city’s west side. In the three years since, we have put in a new kitchen, removed the carpet in favor of the original hardwood, remodeled a bathroom, built a privacy fence, and changed almost every light fixture and shade of paint in the house. Along the way I have been privileged enough to make several friends who are in the neighborhood doing similar overhauls.

What originally drew us to Westgate was the architecture; stone tudors with arched doorways and amazing windows. We couldn’t take the thought of a white box with aluminum siding so we knew we needed to set our sights on an older neighborhood.

What finally sealed the deal for our move was the price. After looking at hundreds of houses, often times not even setting foot inside after a disappointing drive by, we seemed to find an almost secret enclave of amazing, affordable homes that were in good shape. Ultimately, we bought the first house we looked at in the area, but we must have walked through at least a dozen others.

After seeing a Facebook post by friend and fellow Westgate resident Caleb Ely (of Ely Brothers Photography), showing off an amazingly priced house in the neighborhood, and seeing the response it garnered, I did a few myself. Friends from all over the country were amazed at not just the value, but the houses themselves.

Not wanting to annoy my friends on the off chance they weren’t in the market for a house in my neighborhood, I decided to start a Facebook page dedicated to showing good values in the area and discussing them.

I think taking a traditionally one way (Realtor list based on a set of perimeters) conversation and opening up to a group of people is an interesting concept. The reality is, when one purchases a house, they are purchasing a lot more than what falls within the boundaries of their city lot, they are buying into a community. Why not open up the experience of searching for a home to include the people in the community that surrounds it?

And now, the homes:

House #1

3060 Fremont St. 3 Bedrooms. 1 Full and 1 Half Bath. 1550 sq ft. $104,900

House #2

34 S Westgate Ave. 3 Bedrooms. 1 Full and 1 Half Bath. 1488 sq ft. $128,500

House #3

82 S. Sylvan Ave. 3 Bedrooms. 2 Full Baths. 2239 sq feet. $136,322

House #4

351 Binns Blvd. 3 Bedrooms. 1 Full Bath. 1152 sq ft. $89,900

House #5

171 S Brinker Ave. 3 Bedrooms. 2 Full Baths. 1656 sq ft. $124,900

House #6

223 S Huron Ave. 2 Bedrooms. 1 Full Bath. 1248 sq ft. $99,900

House #7

292 S Roys Ave. 3 Bedrooms. 1 Full Bath. 1448 sq ft. $74,000

House #8

266 S Roys Ave. 3 Bedrooms. 1 Full Bath. 1415 sq ft. $99,900

Be My Neighbor is a series showcasing what your money can buy in different neighborhoods in Columbus. This is not professional advice and there is no financial incentive for us if these homes are purchased. We just want to showcase our great neighborhoods and the homes that are in them. All information was accurate to the best of our knowledge at time of publishing. If you are house hunting, good luck to you!

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15 Responses to Be My Neighbor: Westgate Edition

  1. michaelcoyote July 15, 2011 8:39 am at 8:39 am

    I love this idea.  I hope you get a lot of great neighbors out of this campaign.

  2. murfmurphy
    murfmurphy July 15, 2011 8:49 am at 8:49 am

    Thanks for posting this Josh! My wife and I have lived in Westgate for the last 3 1/2 years, and I’ve been feeling pretty convicted to do something like this as well. If you need help with anything, or just another voice praising our neighborhood, please let me know!

    Thanks again!

  3. lifeontwowheels July 15, 2011 9:48 am at 9:48 am

    Although I’m east of Hauge, I’m loving the Westside. Good luck!

  4. Manatee
    Manatee July 15, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am

    Good idea!
     
     

  5. phyllis wagner July 15, 2011 5:17 pm at 5:17 pm

    I grew up in Westgate (too many years ago) and it is still a beautiful neighborhood.  The home I grew up in had 4 original fireplaces,double stairs and original hardwood trim and floors.  Prices are reasonable ..I know I am a realtor and I really enjoy getting to work in the area.  Don’t forget the “Hilltop Bean Dinner”…
    Not being picky but S. Roys is not actually in Westgate…I lived on S Roys and my parents always said it was Westgate!  My class reunion is coming up in couple of weeks….I am sure that will bring some of my West Side memories back.

  6. Cardiff
    Cardiff July 15, 2011 7:01 pm at 7:01 pm

    Look like great homes! I love the Westgate Park area and have family who live there – but the thing that has kept me from buying there is the lack of walkability to community amenities – cafes, restaurants, ice-cream shops, grocery stores, a library, etc. Has any of that changed in recent years?

  7. hannahely July 15, 2011 7:55 pm at 7:55 pm

    There is an ice cream shop on Sullivant and an awesome library on Powell within walking distance.  This is also the area for taco trucks and gyro places.
    On Broad in Franklinton, there are a couple restaurants as well.
    I love the bus and take my two kids many places around the city without using our car.
    But, there is no Northstar, Skillet, or Knead-type restaurant around within walking distance.  :(  It’s kind of good for me, because I spend less money.

  8. lifeontwowheels July 15, 2011 8:09 pm at 8:09 pm

    Jack’s Coneys on Broad, I’ve heard great things. A Jamaican place on Oakley and Sulivant (well outside Westgate but in the area), anyone know anything about it?

    ETA

    Kroger on the east side of Wilson/Broad and Giant Eagle on Broad other side of 270. Home Depot out that way, as well as a Harbor Freight. There is a Big Lots around the Kroger and a handful of fast food.

    OOO, don’t forget Luc’s Asian Market!

  9. johnwirtz July 15, 2011 9:19 pm at 9:19 pm

    Do you have kids?  Do you plan to?  Would you send them to West HS or are you planning on using a private school in the area like Bishop Ready?

  10. Kevin R Hollo
    Kevin R Hollo July 18, 2011 11:49 am at 11:49 am

    This is an awesome idea, Josh, and one that I think could and should be parlayed into the home-buying process (no matter the ‘hood).
    Thinking some sort of social media << >> MLS database integration or API. So that when you’re looking at the housing maps on Realtor.com or wherever, you’re able to “see” who lives there if they’re in your network. Obviously it would be even cooler if you could “sample” some of the networks or profiles of the people living close-by, but we’re in some dangerous privacy waters as it is.
     

  11. murfmurphy
    murfmurphy July 18, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am

    John,

    I have a daughter, and I’ll admit she is only 18 months at the moment. Schools are important to my wife and I, and we are aware of the performance of the high school. From what we have heard from other neighbor’s in the area the elementary school in our neighborhood is very good, and the higher you go in terms of grade level, the performance level of the school does tend to drop off. I think if there was an influx of people who put care and time into their neighborhood (go ahead and call it gentrification) then the performance of the schools would start to improve. The more pride people have in their community the more improvement will be shown in all aspects of that community’s day to day life.

    Overall Westgate itself is a relatively well kept community that is surrounded by other neighborhoods that have been in a steady decline for quite a while. There are groups that have formed over the last few years to start the ball rolling towards improvement in these areas, but there is a long road ahead of us before there is any measurable results. We’ve made the necessary steps to start down that road, and we will continue our march to see that our individual neighborhoods, and overall community, realizes the promise that we saw when we made the decision to live here.

    The affordability of homes in the area also lends itself well to people that wish to send their children to any of the private schools that are in the area. The money that could be saved by not living in Upper Arlington, Grandview or any of the outlying suburbs could be reappropriated to private school tuition very easily, and a family would have the opportunity to live in a close knit up and coming community.

  12. Cleve July 18, 2011 1:15 pm at 1:15 pm

    John: I live in the Short North and have two kids in the Columbus City Schools.   A third one graduated from the City schools this year.   Like Westgate, the Short North has underperforming schools because of concentrations of poverty in their service areas.  The City Schools have plenty of lottery options, however, and I have had no difficulty getting my kids into very high performing schools.  Althought most of its schools struggle, the City district has more schools that are ranked by the State ”proficent”, “excellent”, and “excellent with distinction” that any school district in central Ohio.  Unfortunately, the media tends to cover the district as if it were a monolithic experience.

  13. johnwirtz July 18, 2011 4:55 pm at 4:55 pm

    Murfmurphy and Cleve,
    Thanks for the comments.  I think schools are a real challenge to urban revitalization and it’s cool that you sticking with it.
     
    Looking up the data for Westgate Alternative Elementary, it appears to be rated “effective,” meeting 5/8 standards.  It would be interesting to run some numbers on how much the difference in cost of housing and taxes makes up for private school.
     
    Columbus does have many quality schools.  The lottery options are a great way to keep families who would otherwise leave to stay in the district.  I think having more choices is good.  My only problem with the lottery is that school could end up being much farther away from home.  The ideal for me would be a quality neighborhood school within walking distance where enrollment is guaranteed.  Obviously, that’s not going to exist everywhere the city, so the lottery is the second-best option.

  14. Twixlen July 19, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am

    Josh! How the  heck did I miss this?! What a fantastic idea – and something I’m always rooting for myself, as a resident.

    As for the walkability folks – there *are* places within walking distance, or a very easy bike ride. Jack’s Coneys & Luc’s were mentioned – there’s also Westgate Import Market (which I’m checking out tonight!) and El Nopal. Just a tiny bit farther are some of the best taco trucks in town. All of these places (but for the taco trucks) are new arrivals since I moved in 5 years ago.

    Also – for Phyllis Wagoner – S. Roys is definitely in Westgate, between W Broad & Sullivant.

  15. Molly July 20, 2011 5:52 pm at 5:52 pm

    @murfmurphy, Thanks for the good point about building community schools. If more dedicated people with time and resources opted in to public neighborhood schools and advocated for them, they’d get better. But it’s a personal choice. Good point too though about being able to afford private schools if necessary–these homes are a steal!
    Speaking of walkability too, my head just hits the desk when I think of the missed opportunity for a streetcar along Broad St. here. Broad St. is enormously wide all the way down to Old Town East/King Lincoln. Imagine being able to hop on a streetcar from Westgate and get to work, or or to Cafe Brioso, or to Yellow Brick Pizza. I’d move in a heartbeat if there was one, just like I’d reconsider German Village if they’d have put one up and down High.

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