As urban living becomes increasingly popular, everybody wants to be in the center of the action, but few new businesses can afford to be there, especially when first starting. So when choosing a new home, many residents and businesses opt for the place that’s the next big thing. Somewhere that has relatively inexpensive rent, yes, but also character and history. Most importantly, it needs the bones and the potential to become a true destination in its own right.
But a cool neighborhood is by definition tricky to pin down. The second somebody posts it in print, the magic has already begun to diminish. Calling somewhere “the new Brooklyn” is both a tired cliche and a near guarantee that housing prices are about to skyrocket. Nevertheless, some places have a lot more potential than others, and their secret is just beginning to slip.
If you’re looking for a hip home for your new business, here are a few of the most rapidly ascending stars in the U.S. real estate game.
Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh PA
Pittsburgh’s cool now. The East Coast city is having its moment, joining the ranks of other former blue collar towns-turned-hipster havens. It’s no longer just home to its fabled bridges, but a booming cohort of outstanding restaurants, industrial space art galleries and an Ace Hotel — the hallmark of a Cool™ place. No neighborhood in town is more buzzy at the moment than Lawrenceville, largely due to the opening of Uber’s state-of-the-art Advanced Technologies Group Center, where the company is building autonomous cars. The area is architecturally beautiful, rich in history and increasingly fashionable in its amenities, setting itself up to be the trendiest part of the city for years to come.
South 1st Street, Austin
It’s no surprise that people are flocking to the city that consistently ranks as one of the best in America to live in, known for its world class music and food scenes. South of the river, 1st Street has long been overlooked in favor of South Congress Street, but South 1st Street has recently developed a reputation as being more affordable. It also still has the old-school Austin feel, with myriad coffee spots, murals and plenty of quirk.
East 11th Street, Austin
You might have heard of Franklin Barbecue, the James Beard-award-winning, Obama-ordained smoke house that has legendary lines Tuesday through Sunday. Unsurprisingly, the area around this tourism hub is beginning to flourish into a destination in its own right, with boutique hotels, food truck lots and artist studios now dotting the previously quiet streets.
Despite the rainy climate you undoubtedly associate with it, Seattle is so hot these days that they’re inventing new areas just to make cool. Frelard, a portmanteau of the two cool-in-their-own-right neighborhoods which it straddles, sits between quirky Fremont and classic Ballard. West-Woodland, its legal name, isn’t quite as marketable, it seems. Frelard has popular breweries and eateries — including Frelard Pizza Co — but has a reputation for being a quieter scene. It’s ideal for locals looking to escape the Amazon jungle Downtown.
South Beach, San Francisco
Largely due to its status as the beating heart of Silicon Valley, there are few parts of San Francisco yet to feel the full force of gentrification, but some locales are still hotter than others within the Bay Area. South Beach, long considered part of the SOMA neighborhood, has blossomed into its own distinct district, home to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, dining options for both the small plates and paper plates crowds, and a swanky boutique hotel. Add to that one of the prettiest baseball stadiums in America, and a nearby ferry granting access to the wider Bay Area, and it’s easy to see the appeal of South Beach — even if people will think you live in Miami.
Lower Westheimer, Houston
As so many cultural hearts of cities begin, The Montrose neighborhood was once upon a time predominately home to the city’s artistic and LGBT communities. Since the neighborhood demographics have diversified, it’s become one of the most walkable areas in an otherwise sprawling city, where young professionals and counterculture creatives coexist. Evidence of its past remains in the form of many decades-old antique and thrift stores, as well as a diverse collection of award-winning eateries, all of which make it one of the most desirable, up-and-coming locales in the country.
Silver Lake, Los Angeles
Let’s face it, nowhere in Los Angeles is what most people would consider “affordable.” But relative to the rest of the city, Silver Lake is one of the last places to see its prices and popularity soar. Known as an enclave of the coolest shops on the planet, the snobbiest coffee, and excellent eateries, Silver Lake is usually ground zero for the trends which LA becomes known for.
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