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You may have seen the Living Local series videos of local neighborhoods pop up on Facebook in the past year or so. The city commissioned professional videographers to create candid videos of local neighborhoods, interviewing residents and providing a quick snapshot of the super local culture in these areas.
What I also noticed is that these videos are really well done but don’t get the attention they deserve! Our website is one of the first sites to pop up when you search for neighborhoods in St. Pete so I figured it would be great for us to feature these videos and give our opinion on these neighborhoods as well.
The neighborhood residents in these videos briefly touch on what makes their area special to them and I will also be expanding on their opinions from my point of view.
8. The Craftsman Bungalows
The Kenwood Neighborhood is most famous for the Bungalows that reside here. This area has the highest concentration of Craftsman Bungalows in all of Florida. It’s interesting – These homes come in all different flavors but still have similar styling queues that root them in the Craftsman genre.
The great thing about writing these articles is I get to research and learn as I go along. I just learned that the Craftsman style was a reaction to the end of the industrial revolution where everything was mass produced, even homes.
In some people’s opinion, a home should have a more personal touch instead of essentially being a mass produced box. These Craftsman Bungalows are an example of that. You will find homes that were well thought out with artisan style qualities in every aspect. From the front porch, to the built in shelving and intricate designs in the window frames – These homes were meant to be appreciated instead of just a place to live.
To me the place you live is a direct reflection of your mental state. For example, you know how it feels to have a messy house and then after you clean it you realize the contrast in your emotions.
Can you imagine the difference it would make to wake up to a beautifully constructed artisan bungalow rather than a generic house that lacks any sort of inspiration? These are things you have to ask yourself when you’re considering buying a home to live in for a good portion of your life.
7. Dog Friendly
St. Pete in general is a super dog friendly city. Most restaurants here have a permit to allow sidewalk seating which is great for people who’d like to bring their dogs along.
There are also some bars and coffeeshops that don’t serve food which will allow you to bring your furry companion(s) inside. There are dozens of dog parks throughout the city and even a dog bar within walking distance from Historic Kenwood. I personally don’t own a dog yet but I know plenty of people that have made friends by taking their dogs out to meet other dogs and their owners.
6. The Grand Central District
I had mentioned in the previous paragraph that The Dog Bar is located within walking distance to Historic Kenwood. The Dog Bar is apart of The Grand Central District which is comprised of restaurants, bars, art galleries and breweries. This area is ever evolving and keeps getting better.
Downtown St. Pete has become increasingly expensive for local businesses that are getting priced out of that prime time real estate. The next best thing is all the other commercial potential just a little bit further down Central Avenue. You can think of this area as Downtown Jr. – A walkable district that’s fun but never too crowded.
5. Non-Flood Zone
This is pretty important when considering buying a home in St. Pete. Flood zones can be expensive and also a pain when it comes to commuting during our rainy/hurricane season. Some areas flood so bad that you need an SUV to navigate the streets turned rivers. Kenwood doesn’t have this problem thankfully.
This area has some of the highest elevation in Pinellas County. This is especially comforting when a hurricane rolls through and you have to not only consider flood zones but also surge zones. The highest elevation is the last to evacuate in a high intensity storm.
On a side note, check out this animated depiction of myself and Ryan below that makes my beard look a lot fuller than it actually is.
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4. The Community
Everyone I’ve met in Kenwood is so friendly. People genuinely enjoy living here and it shows through the way they treat each other. Every month the neighborhood schedules a porch party where one of the neighbors volunteers to host a potluck for locals to gather and get to know each other.
Every neighborhood I’ve lived in is more of a hi and bye type relationship with your neighbors but Kenwood residents go out of their way to be more hospitable. I don’t currently live in Kenwood but I’ve had locals invite me to their porch parties, how great is that? This is definitely one of the reasons why I would consider buying my next home in Historic Kenwood.
3. Proximity To Downtown St. Pete
Living in Historic Kenwood you’ll be walking distance to The Grand Central District and biking distance to Downtown St. Pete. If you’re familiar with the area you know that there is a lot to do Downtown. I just learned today that St. Pete has the highest amount of bars per capita than any other city in the US. If you decide to go have a few drinks it’s probably in your best interest to jump in an Uber which will be less than $10 to get you there and home.
Growing up I lived in a suburban area of Minneapolis that had a few fun things to do but that was it. It seemed like it was always the same old thing. Downtown St. Pete has something different going on all the time, all year round. There is always new things to do, new people to meet and new bars and restaurants to explore. Even though it’s a relatively small city, the possibilities for fun here are endless.
2. Homes Zoned For Multi-Family Use
Many historic neighborhoods in St. Pete have a higher concentration of homes with rental units than other areas in the county. Why this is I can only venture a guess. The first home I ever sold was a duplex that was legally zoned for multi-family use. It was built in 1925 and had a part of the house which looked similar to what you would see when opening a horse stable. This part of the home had been renovated and turned into a second living area, but also had an extra portion where there might’ve already been room for somewhere to live.
After talking to the lady who bought the home, we deduced that just maybe it used to be a place for a horse as well as living quarters for the coachman who operated the horse carriage. Perhaps back in the day it was popular to have a multi-family home with a legal rental unit to separately house the driver of your horse drawn carriage.
Whatever the historic significance, legal rental units are a great thing to have on your property. There are a ton of people moving to St. Pete and already a lot of them that have rental needs. Last I heard the rental occupancy rate was at 95%. In my own experience managing rental properties, I can tell you that any decent rental unit will have a plethora of potential clients to choose from. It’s not hard to find a good renter in this market.
With that said, I highly encourage anyone looking into buying a historic home to consider buying an income property. The income you can get from having a legal rental unit can easily cover at least half of your monthly home payment. What better way to offset your monthly costs and have some passive income than to buy a home with a legal rental unit?
A big concern for people moving to the area is having the feeling of living in a safe neighborhood. Honestly I heard all the rumors before I moved here and they were way overblown. I was expecting the worst but I’ve only felt slightly uncomfortable only a handful of times.
I remember showing a run down house in a neighborhood where there were people giving me the stink eye for just being there. I entered the home and noticed the windows were smashed, OK no big deal. Saw some graffiti inside the kitchen, OK still not a big deal. Then I noticed some 9mm bullet casings on the floor which made me a bit uncomfortable. I don’t currently conceal and carry but that experience made me think twice about it.
The truth is the vast majority of the neighborhoods that people may consider to be ‘bad’ are really not bad at all but of course there are exceptions.
Kenwood used to be one of these ‘bad’ neighborhoods but now it’s one of the hottest neighborhoods to live in the entire county.
Legally I cannot steer you away from any neighborhoods but I can definitely recommend the good neighborhoods to live in. Kenwood is one of the best. Beautifully redone historic homes, brick lined streets, a charming park and an area that feels safe to walk in even at night are all aspects of this neighborhood that are attractive to potential home buyers.
Have you ever experienced a neighborhood that is not only beautiful but also a great place to live and make friends? In my experience it’s kind of a rare thing. I’ve lived in a few different states as well as Germany for a couple years and I’ve still never experienced anything as hospitable as St. Pete, especially Kenwood.
Would you like to know more about Kenwood? We’d be happy to show you around.