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City Guide

Northside


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An eclectic mix of homes-including some of the city's oldest-fills this neighborhood northeast of downtown. The former Northside Elementary is now a magnet school, A2STEAM. A community center draws neighbors to its steps and baseball players to Northside Park's fields behind the school.

Just north of the Huron River, Lower Town has some of the city's oldest surviving houses such as the Beckley House, built in New England Georgian style, at the corner of Pontiac and Argo. It was once a stop on the Underground Railroad, and schoolchildren used to take field trips there to imagine where the slaves hid.

Rising northward from the river, the Broadway neighborhood combines rental housing with older single-family houses on large, well-kept lots on and near Cedar Bend, a street that offers spectacular views of the Huron River valley and leads down a rutted path to Cedar Bend Nature Area. Many older homes have been rehabilitated, and the area has become more popular with families who have young children. Rentals, including the vast new Beekman on Broadway complex promised to open August 15, 2020, attract U-M hospital workers.

In the established, low-key, well-integrated neighborhood off Pontiac Tr., neighbors fix their cars, children play tag in the streets, and retirees sit in rockers on the porch. Longshore is a quiet road tracing the top of the bluff above the river. A popular boardwalk along Barton provides pedestrian access to Bandemer Park and combines with a bicycle path to complete a walking and biking loop around Argo Pond.

Farther up Pontiac Tr., the brick Cape Cods off Brookside and Skydale in the Huron Highlands area are home to families, retirees, and singles. The new North Sky subdivision features stately brick one- and two-story homes on sizable lots. Off Dhu Varren, Leslie Park Circle's newer midsize homes offer easy access to its namesake park, with its golf course and nature area. With Leslie and Olson Park, at Dhu Varren and Pontiac, Northside offers some of the largest recreation spaces in the city. At the edge of town, the 350 townhouses of the Arrowwood Hills Cooperative, the city's largest, rest on 44 landscaped acres; this complex, too, offers easy access to nature areas, and a bus line is at the front entrance. Farther out still in Ann Arbor Twp., the North Sky development on the west side of Pontiac Tr. has broken ground and is selling.

The area south of Plymouth and west of Huron Pkwy. is dominated by the U-M's North Campus, a mixture of classroom and research buildings, residence halls, and rental apartments and townhouses for students and staff. Students also are abundant in the 160-unit Parc Pointe, the 84-unit Broadview, and the 130-unit Highlands apartments, on either side of Plymouth at the top of the Broadway hill. East of Broadway, the new Courtyards targets its 1-to-4-bedroom units exclusively at students, with individual leases and amenities like free wireless and outdoor party spaces. Farther from campus, Traver Knoll's 216 units draw a more diverse population.

More apartments cluster along the Huron River including Island Dr., with 348 units, and Medical Center Court, with 201. The 128 Shoreview townhouses off Pontiac Tr. include both owner-occupied and rental units. Other condos include the 1960s-vintage Riverhouse, with 128 apartments off Island Dr., the 62-unit Nielsen Square on Maiden Lane, and the 112-unit Northside Glen, at Pontiac and Dhu Varren, both built around the turn of the century.

Northside is in the Clague Middle School and Skyline High areas, except for North Campus, where children are bused to Tappan and then go to Huron High. Some Arrowwood Hills students are bused to Thurston Elementary.

Bike paths: These areas near the U-M's North Campus are well supplied with bike lanes and paths on Broadway, Pontiac Tr., Dhu Varren, and parts of Plymouth.

Walking: Northside School has a walk score of 31 (walkscore.com), and walkability here depends on proximity to Plymouth Rd. shopping; student renters are better off than homeowners.



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