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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 Artwork
There is something to be said about the effect artwork has on an up and coming area. When I first moved to St. Pete in 2013, I would explore different neighborhoods and Historic Uptown was one I’d often pass through on my way to Downtown. Back then the majority of it was run down but it has seen a pretty dramatic change during the St. Pete real estate boom.
I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why artwork makes a neighborhood feel more welcoming but it definitely does. When you notice someone has put in the time and effort to create something special, it creates a sense of wonderment of the area.
The colors and shapes evoke certain emotions relative to your own perception. You realize that this is not a simple minded cookie cutter neighborhood or a place where you have to deal with a strict HOA association. Art expresses the possibility for unique personal expression where you live rather than a place to abide by the rules.
7. Historic Homes
When you mentioned Historic Neighborhoods in St. Pete, people typically think of Old Northeast or Kenwood right away. Historic Uptown is many times overlooked. Parts of this area are still in a bit of an up and coming phase.
It’s proximity to downtown and historical nature have been popular aspects of this area recently. Many homes are being bought up here and renovated like this one pictured above that we sold last year.
This house was restored to it’s original glory and almost feels like a time capsule when you walk in. This is probably what the American dream felt like back in the day, except with air conditioning now.
Also worth mentioning is that many of these historic homes also have legal rental apartments attached to them. The house pictured above has a 2 bed garage apartment in the back that brings in just over $1,000/month in passive income for the owners. How great is that to almost cut your total house payment in half?
6. Non-Flood Zone
In 2017 we had a scary situation with Hurricane Irma coming right towards us threatening to make landfall as a Category 4. We are typically pretty protected from major storms being a city located in the Gulf of Mexico, this time was different though. Hurricane Irma was a ‘Cape Verde’ storm that started near Africa and gained steam as it came straight for Florida.
A high pressure system then collided with the hurricane, forcing it directly up the Gulf Coast of Florida. It was terrifying up until the last minute where it barely missed us. The point being when this happens you want your home to be in the highest elevation possible in case of severe flooding or storm surges.
This house I had mentioned before was supposed to close that same week that Irma came through. I was afraid there was going to be major damage but besides a few fallen tree branches this home stayed strong. Some people find solace in the fact that these historic homes have been standing for about 100 years so obviously they were built well.
When you buy a home in a flood zone with financing, your bank will require you to carry a flood insurance policy that can easily double your yearly insurance premium. Sometimes less, sometimes more but it will most definitely be more expensive than avoiding a flood zone altogether.
I’ve also heard that flood insurance is currently subsidized by the government. What happens when that subsidy runs out? You will be locked into paying a lot more than you expected. Buy in a non-flood zone like Historic Uptown and avoid that mess.
St. Pete is a very bike friendly city. There are designated bike lanes on many of our roads, the terrain is mostly flat, and as of a couple years ago this bike share program started to make renting bikes easy for locals as well as tourists. If you’re looking for a bike rental station in Historic Uptown, you’ll find it on the north end of Round Lake (which should probably be renamed Round Pond, it’s tiny).
The best way to see St. Pete is on a bicycle in my opinion. You can take a leisurely ride down Central Ave to see if there’s any places to eat or drink that catch your eye.
You can ride over the cobblestone streets and appreciate the historic homes that fill these neighborhoods. You can enjoy the shaded streets with a nice breeze when it’s too hot out to walk. You can smell the scents of nature and the different types of food cooking downtown. You can bike faster than most people can run in case someone starts chasing you.
If you live in Historic Uptown you should buy a bike to make your trips Downtown instead of jumping in the car every time and struggling to park. Get yourself a nice basket or a backpack and you can pick up a load of veggies from the weekly farmers market.
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4. Proximity To All The Conveniences On 4th Street
4th Street is filled with convenient dining options, grocery stores, coffee shops, fitness centers and a variety of other options that make your life easier.
Grocery stores include Trader Joe’s, Publix, Fresh Market as well as an open air fresh vegetable/fruit market. Dining options include a mix of national chain franchises and local restaurants. Since Downtown St. Pete has an ordinance that doesn’t allow most chain restaurants, 4th street is where most of them are located.
You’ll also find gas stations, Walgreens/CVS, auto mechanics, bike shops and just about everything else that you need without having to drive too far. It’s nice having all the conveniences close by while still being tucked away in a quiet historic neighborhood.
3. Proximity To Downtown St. Pete
So you live in a quiet historic neighborhood but probably like to get out of the house every once in a while. Historic Uptown borders the north end of Downtown. Depending on where you live, it’s about a 5-10 minute walk to all the Downtown action.
Seems like everyone wants to live Downtown which is why we are seeing a huge residential real estate construction boom and also why all the current apartments and condos are so expensive.
Your money will typically go a lot further if you buy a home just outside of Downtown. This is especially true in Historic Uptown compared to more expensive neighborhoods like Old Northeast.
Historic Uptown is one of those neighborhoods where people like to get involved and make things happen. I first experienced this on New Years Eve one year when my friends took me to a block party in this neighborhood.
The streets were shut down and everyone was outside having a good time getting ready for the New Year countdown. None of us lived there however we were invited into some random house on that block.
I remember a separate time when I went over to Tampa with some friends during Gasparilla. We happened to be standing on someone’s property near the parade route and we were yelled at. The point is this experience of Historic Uptown helped me form the positive outlook of St. Pete as a welcoming, inclusive place instead of an abrasive, exclusive city.
Uptown holds this yearly NYE event and also a Mardi Gras parade that you’ll learn more about when you watch the video. If these local neighborhood events are not enough, you’ll find all sorts of events on a weekly basis just down the street in Downtown St. Pete.
1. The Atmosphere
When you watch the video take note of the multiple people who mention how this area has a Key West type of vibe. Many well maintained colorful bungalows fill the streets of Historic Uptown.
The artwork, the nature, the events, it all ties in to give this neighborhood it’s own special feel. If you’re ever in the area, definitely stop by Banyan Cafe which is a charming little coffeeshop and breakfast spot right in the heart of Historic Uptown.
A quick walk, drive or bike ride through this neighborhood will give you a good idea of the relaxing atmosphere that exudes from this area.
Historic Uptown is still an up and coming area with a lot of potential. This peaceful neighborhood embraces the arts, encourages socialization with neighborhood events and borders the hottest downtown area in all of Florida. Want to take a tour? Check out all current homes for sale in Historic Uptown here and reach out to us when you’re ready for a showing!