Who is living in downtown Kalamazoo?

May 10, 2013

The mall in downtown Kalamazoo
Credit WMUK

This week MLive Kalamazoo has taken a look at living in downtown Kalamazoo. Their series has examined the growth in people living downtown and some of the things that have lured them.

MLive reporter Al Jones spoke with WMUK's Gordon Evans about the series examining living in downtown Kalamazoo. Jones and reporter Emily Monacelli both wrote stories for the series. 

Jones says the growth of residential development has been part of a long-term plan by Downtown Kalamazoo Incorporated. He says DKI's plan for downtown is to make it a community. Jones says it's hard to say whether certain types of businesses attract people to live downtown or if people living downtown brings in certain businesses.  Jones says businesses like Irving's Market and  a new pharmacy on the mall are the types of businesses people like to have nearby when they live downtown. 

Jones says downtown is attracting empty-nesters whose children have moved out of the house, and people under 40. He says some of the growth seems to come from workers who move into the area and enjoy a more urban setting. 

But moving downtown right now isn't easy. Jones says it's definitely a "seller's market." He says development is not keeping pace with the demand to move downtown. Jones most of the the space being developed right now is converted space, such as loft apartments above businesses. 

People who live in downtown Kalamazoo say it is safe, but Jones says all of them have a story they can tell you. Jones says when something happens downtown it seems to get more attention. But crime statistics show major crimes are down in the downtown area.