Urban Living and New Development in Downtown Greensboro, NC
Christy Millican and her husband fell in love with downtown Greensboro – so much so that the couple bought a house in Southside to better enjoy the renaissance of the city where Robert Millican grew up. "We wanted to feel the vibe of downtown," Christy says. "We wanted to make a commitment to the downtown, not just drive in on the weekends." The couple found that taking part in the advantages of an urban lifestyle did not mean giving up a strong sense of community. Just the opposite, in fact. "We know our neighbors and do things as a neighborhood," Christy says. For example, when one Southside resident had a new baby, the neighbors cooked meals for the parents. Christy says her husband remembers what Greensboro was like when he was a child, and that helped fuel his desire to be part of the city's downtown revival movement. "We're really trying to pull together and say we're doing something new and different here," she says of the city's urban residents. Downtown Amenities Downtown Greensboro includes the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in the former F. W. Woolworth's building where, on Feb. 1, 1960, four North Carolina A&T students staged a historic civil rights action. The four black college students sat down at the white section of the lunch counter, igniting the sit-in movement that spread across the country. The area also has NewBridge Bank Park, which is where the Greensboro Grasshoppers, the Class A affiliate of the Florida Marlins, play home games. The downtown centerpiece, the 1.9-acre City Center Park, opened in December 2006, and residents had the opportunity to attend workshops to voice their opinions on what amenities the park would offer. Residential Development Bob Isner, owner of O. Henry Builders and developer of the Southside residential project where Millican lives, says he believes the diversity of restaurants, nightclubs and shops is attracting young couples to downtown. His project includes new homes, home renovations and townhouses on about 10 acres. "Ten years ago, this was a rough neighborhood, a high crime area," he says. "All that's changed now. Downtown Greensboro is becoming a neat place." Niki Mann, sales and marketing manager for Governor's Court condominiums, agrees. While Governor's Court is a beautiful development, she believes the main appeal to buyers is its downtown location. "Quite a few residents of Governor's Court are from Greensboro, born and raised here," Mann says. "They remember going downtown with their parents to shop amid the typical hustle and bustle of a downtown city. They are thrilled that it has come back to life and want to be a part of it."