You've chosen a wonderful city - I've lived in metro Atlanta off and on since 1988, in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton and Dekalb counties. I've been living Intown since 1998, when I bought a 4 bedroom, 4 bath 1908 Victorian in Inman Park for just $300,000! My recent clients in your price range who seek similar goals have looked at properties in really great neighborhoods all over the cities of Atlanta and Decatur. Supply is rich and three of the biggest competitive differentiators are school systems, retail proximity and nearby parks and lifestyle amenities for children. I'll suggest a few in 4 geographic submarkets of Intown Atlanta and Decatur...
Northside - Jackson and Smith school districts, Garden Hills, Collier Hills and Chastain Park are great places to start
Westside - there are some lovely houses along the I-75 corridor along Moores Mill and even closer in, but retail amenities and school systems are not the best
Eastside and Midtown - some of the best family neighborhoods in any metro city in the country - Ansley Park, Midtown North of Ponce De Leon, Virginia Highland, the super cool Inman Park ... of course, Morningside and their desirable elementary school
Southside - Grant Park has a really good charter school, depending on the type of house that you seek for $750,000 or more, the architectural styles are limited. East Atlanta and Ormewood Park are cool neighborhoods, but their schools are not the best.
I must mention Decatur, especially Winnona Park and their elementary school. Of course, closer to Emory and downtown Decatur, Oak Grove, Sagamore Hills and other good school districts have abundant choices. I also like the MAK historic district - very close to Oakhurst, and my Atlanta neighborhood, Kirkwood.
All of these areas are well policed, but as with any metro city in 2007, we have seen a rise in violent and invasive crimes. Property owners, and city dwellers in general, must be diligent.
Best wishes - welcome to Atlanta.
Are you coming to help us solve our water problem?
For starters, I'm not a Realtor trying to get your business; I'm just a New York City transplant that moved here a few years ago to escape the Concrete Jungle. To answer your question, we need to know what your exact definition of "urban" is (because all of Atlanta is "urban", but each neighborhood has it's own style). However, I can assume that by "urban", that you would like to be able to walk from your home to more than just your car- that you don't want to live in a cul-de-sac subdivision, but that you want to live on a street that is integrated into the rest of the city? And, you have kids to think about. So, if that's the case, here's where I would look:
Decatur - technically not a neighborhood, but a small city by it's own right, pre-dates Atlanta, town square, festivals
Grant Park - next to the oldest park in Atlanta- home of the Atlanta Zoo, turn-of-the-century Craftsman architecture houses (it's a Historic District) with a lot of renovation going on- EXTREMELY active neighborhood association and parents network- see http://www.gpna.org for more info
Inman Park - similar to Grant Park (minus the huge park), although further along with urban renewal = more $$$
Candler Park - similar to Inman Park (I can't tell a difference- they're even right next to each other)
Morningside- probably the most expensive area, very nice homes.
Hope that helps!
Highland Design Team - New Construction and Remodels
Agent Mary Hallenberg
GRANT PARK! It's a wonderful neighborhood. I've lived here and I love it. I strongly suggest you look at the neighborhood assosciation website at http://www.gpna.org. Aside from that, there's a neighborhood charter school and a strong parent group and sits along the Atlanta Beltline project.
Let me know if you've got questions.
If you need any more assistance feel free to contact me, I'd be happy to help. ~Lorrie
You may want to also consider the Vinings area which is in South Cobb County, just outside of Atlanta so it is convenient to Interstates, Downtown, the Perimeter, etc. Cobb County has some of the lowest taxes and home to many corporations such as Home Depot & Coca Cola. It is also home to many of the states best performing schools. It really depends a lot on your price range and style of home that you are looking for.
You can learn more about our area and search the MLS from my website http://www.HeatherElsberry.com .
You might even want to visit my website http://www.NeighborhoodsAtlanta.com to learn more about some of the finest neighborhoods in Atlanta.
The houses run anywhere from 150K fixer uppers from the 1930's to 1M new-Bungalow style mansions that usually fit in very well with the surrounding neighborhood. We live in Oakhurst, and can walk to four nicely designed parks, tennis courts, a pool coming on-line in May, and also a Mexican restaurant, pizza place, coffee place, dessert/wine bar and gallery. We have concerts in the park down the street and wine and beer tasting periodically.
Another selling point is the proximity to Atlanta. The Atl city limits runs up to the Decatur city limits. We have two Marta Stations and it only takes 15 minutes at most to be in downtown or midtown. We have Agnes Scott college, a historical all-women's college and Emory Unitveristy complex righ next door.
Enough about Decatur, if you can afford it, the homes in Virginia Highland and Midtown can be an option too. The closer you get to Piedmont Park the pricier they can get. These are historic parts of town and are in-town with plenty to do. You can find beautiful houses in this area. But, there is more traffic, crime, rowdy bar patrons and the schools aren't the best. But if you can afford a 7 figure house, you can afford private school.
So, my advice check out Decatur, Virginia-Highlands and Midtown.
I'm sure you will be able to find a community that fits your needs here in Atlanta. Not only does the city offer some fantastic areas to live in, but the suburbs outside of the city also offer many perks.
In town I would reccomend the Druid Hills area. It's the most beautiful part of town with wonderful historic homes and easy access to the city. In my former career I worked at Druid Hills Golf Club for about 4 years and spent alot of time in this area. It's one of my favorites. Buckhead and Sandy Springs are also good choices. Many people intown tend to enroll their children in private schools so take that into consideration when looking intown.
Moving outside the city I think that North Gwinnett and Alpharetta offer the next best alternatives. These areas combine great communities with good public schools. Gwinnett County has their own arena with the Gladiators Hockey team and regular concerts and events much like what you would have at phillips arena downtown. In addition the Mall of Georgia which is one of the largest malls in the region is very close by. Suwanee is a great city in Gwinnett Co. to consider. It was recently voted one of the top ten places to live by money magazine. You can visit my website for links to the artical and a link to my blog where I post information about Suwanee and the surrounding areas of Gwinnett County.
In any event the city and suburbs have much to offer. If you plan to have your children attend public schools then this will have a great impact on your location here. In addition we are known for having some of the worst traffic in the country so keep that in mind if you plan on commuting to work.
I would be happy to answer any other questions you have and if you need assistance narrowing down your search area here and locating a home I would be happy to assist you. I'm a Georgia native and have lived in the Atlanta area for over 14 years.
Atlanta is a great city and a great place to raise a family.
Unlike many other metropolitan areas, there are actually green spaces that are within the actual city where you can find community feel and parks, while being fairly close to the city aspects of Atlanta. These areas are essentially "pockets," of blocks of houses, but from your question, I envision you looking for a place where you can walk to more of the city life, and that's less common here - everyone drives!
There are certainly places that meet your needs and I think would work for you, but someone's definition of urban, can vary so much from anothers. You should look at areas like Atlantic Station, Virginia-Highlands, Buckhead and some others.
Another thing to note, the public transportation in Atlanta is not as "well configured" as many other major cities.
Additionally, there are not a lot of these areas that have the schools that you are looking for. It may be worthwhile to weigh the option of private schools vs. home price. You should visit http://www.greatschools.net and get a feel for some of the schools.
Overall, there are certainly area where you can find what you need, but that depends on your definition of "urban." I think you guys can find a great place for you here in Atlanta!
Best of luck to you!