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Wednesday July 17, 2019
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City Guide

Neighborhoods - Bach

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With their porch swings and bountiful front-yard gardens, the homes of the city's Old West Side-just a short walk from downtown-welcome passersby to the heart of the Bach Elementary area, which boasts 13 historic districts within its borders. Most homes are small Victorians originally built by 19th-century German workmen. Many have been painstakingly restored. In exchange for some of the highest prices per square foot in the city, buyers get shady streets, houses with character, and a fabulous location.

Also served by Bach School are the neighborhoods around downtown and the U-M campus, including the Old Fourth Ward Historic District. Increasingly gentrified, with rehabbed single-family homes as well as new homes and a rapidly growing collection of luxury condominiums, the area is also home to well-worn student rentals. At whatever price point, residents are just a few minutes' walk from the Farmers Market, the People's Food Co-op, Zingerman's Deli, and Kerrytown Market & Shops.

North of Miller, homes are set close to the sidewalk on narrow lots, with porch sitters, bike riders, and kids playing on the sidewalk. Long economically and racially mixed, this neighborhood has become less diverse as prices rise, but rentals remain available. Nestled in a valley between Huron and Miller, West Park offers band shell and baseball diamond.

Farther south, single-family bungalows, small ranches, and a few story-and-a-halfs (most built after World War II) thread outward from Allmendinger Park, with its softball diamonds, playground, tennis and basketball courts, and picnic facilities. Lilacs line its perimeter.

To the east, Bach extends through the downtown all the way to the U-M Diag, including downtown's set of of luxury condos. The red-brick buildings of the 207-unit Nob Hill apartment complex, the old-timer among the area's apartment complexes, fit comfortably into the neighborhood's southern edge. Downtown student apartments are well represented here, with the 99-unit Zaragon West on William and Sterling 411 Lofts at Washington and Division, the 96-unit Varsity next door, and the 210-unit Foundry Lofts north of Huron. The 155-unit Ann Arbor City Club Apartments at Washington and First and the 164 units at 618 S. Main are the exceptions in this group: their luxury units are not targeted at students. At 212 S. Fourth Ave., the extended-upward Montgomery Houze claims occupancy will occur spring 2019. Another large apartment building, The Yard, is on the way at 615 S. Main across the street. Ground has been broken on The Hub, a new building of high-end apartments, aimed at both students and nonstudent renters, at 603 E. Huron.

At 26 stories, the Tower Plaza condominium on William and Maynard is Ann Arbor's tallest building-and seems certain to remain so, since the city has height limits for new construction. But smaller buildings abound. On Liberty, a former car wash has been turned into the Mark, luxury condos with prices starting upwards of $500,000. To the north of downtown but within easy walking distance, 121 Kingsley West condominiums, and 218 W. Kingsley, slated occupancy date fall 2018 and spring 2019 respectively, with advertised prices for some units topping $1 million. Right around the corner at 410 First, the new 24-unit condominium building by the same name faces west.

Bach School also serves the triangle bounded by South Main, Eisenhower, and Ann Arbor-Saline Rd. Residents of the 306-unit Woodland Mews flats and townhouses (which include both owner-occupied condos and rental units) can walk to Busch's supermarket and Whole Foods--or to a game at U-M's new soccer stadium.

Most Bach kids go on to Slauson, but some on the northern edge of the district can choose Forsythe. Children in the southern triangle go to Tappan. Bach kids who live north of Huron attend Skyline High, while all the rest go to Pioneer.

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