If you’ve ever thought about what it might be like to live Downtown, then this is your perfect weekend to investigate a bit further. The annual City Hop event, which takes place on Saturday, June 12th, allows visitors to explore various for-sale and owner-occupied condominium developments on a self-guided walking tour.
“I never grow tired of this event and always look forward to guiding guests through people’s homes or potential homes with a smile”, said long-time City Hop volunteer Eric Lipschutz.
What began over a decade ago as an event showcasing historic spaces not intended for residential use, City Hop has evolved over the years to accommodate the ever-changing residential market Downtown.
“Earlier hop locations featured unique homes in the Brewery District and The Buggyworks Building”, added Lipschutz.
During the early-to-mid 2000′s, City Hop became more of a condo sales tour as development boomed throughout the city.
“My wife Robin and I went on the City Hop tour in 2005 to check out all the new condos and see where everything was located,” said Scott Schumann of Grove City Dental. “We happened to walk into The Brunson and really liked the layout and the building. I think we may have called a mortgage broker friend on our way to the next building and put a deposit down the next week. I’m grateful to City Hop for letting me know what I was missing.”
When the national housing market started to falter a few years ago, new Downtown development slowed and many existing units were bought up, so once again City Hop changed gears to focus on becoming more of an experiential tour of owner-occupied dwellings.
“Our new tag line for City Hop is ‘The downtown way of life’ and that really sums up why I’m involved,” said Downtown dweller and City Hop volunteer Matt Ungar.
Touring through lived-in units and speaking directly with Downtown residents provides a more authentic experience for those interested in urban living. In addition to Saturday’s tour, eight “Progressive Dinner Parties” will be held tonight for anyone interested in a more personal experience.
“We are committed to our kick-off dinner for City Hop because it gives us a way to share the whole idea with some new faces,” said Matt Ungar. “Who knows… they might become a neighbor some day.”
Saturday’s tour includes stops at Neighborhood Launch, The Exchange, Cityview at Third, The Condos at North Bank Park, 8 on the Square, the Annex at RiverSouth, the Ohio Loft, The Brunson and 481 E. Town Street.
A quick scan of available Downtown condo units listed online reveals a wide range of options, from the smaller Garden Flat units at Neighborhood Launch that sell for $180k up to the larger suites at 8 on the Square that top out just over $1 million. The diverse range of properties provides a variety of opportunities for those who seek an urban lifestyle.
“I’m proud of to live downtown because it makes sense on so many levels,” said Ungar. “Over the years it has really become a lifestyle for us… our friends live in the building or close by, our fresh ground coffee comes from the corner, and our favorite restaurants are an easy stroll in the evening.”
“We love calling Due Amici our ‘personal kitchen’, added Schumann.
As Downtown continues to evolve over the next decade, City Hop will continue to change along with the landscape.
“It is such a shame that Columbus developers had the mentality of tearing down old buildings to use the land for parking,” said Lipschutz. “We need to be more sustainable and repurpose older buildings to create a more vibrant Downtown.”
City Hop 2010 runs from 10am to 6pm on Saturday, June 12th. Tickets for the tour are $18 per person. More information can be found online at www.columbuslandmarks.org/events/city-hop.