Sunday, July 09, 2006

Urban Pioneers

When developer Bob Silverman wanted to turn an abandoned lumberyard near a noisy Atlanta rail switchyard into a Provence-style neighborhood four years ago, it wasn't just bankers who snickered.

Nearly everyone had the same thought at first: "People thought I was crazy," he says.

The final product - dubbed M West - turned out to be more German Bauhaus than rustic France. But the 183 homes on 12 acres sold out in nine months when it opened last year with units starting at $200,000. The buyers were seemingly oblivious to the concrete plant across the street and the exotic dance club advertising "Blue Collar Lunch" next door.
It's all part of the changing landscape of urban centers. With high land costs and rising housing demand in US cities, it's old concrete plants, back lots of steel mills, and other ugly lots that are becoming the new outposts for affluent urban dwellers.

Read the
rest from The Christian Science Monitor on people who are buying lots in industrial sections.

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