Wright Dunbar was a best-kept secret, but the word’s getting out and it’s becoming a housing hot-spot where properties sell fast, said Shannon Jackson of HER Realtors, whose office is at 1024 W. Third St., in the Wright-Dunbar business district.
“New owners are excited to be here and of course, they tell their friends who now want to consider the neighborhood as well,” Jackson said.
The Allens — he’s 28, she’s 26 — previously rented a downtown apartment, but started house hunting several months ago after returning from their honeymoon.
They made seven offers in about three months, but were outbid by buyers offering cash on multiple occasions.
The Allens wanted to live in a historic district and were looking at homes in the Oregon District, St. Anne’s Hill and South Park.
But they expanded their search to Wright Dunbar at the urging of their friend Weil and his wife, Pereira, who purchased a home on Mound Street over the summer.
“Marshall and Giselle were really pushing for us to move over there,” Michael Allen said.
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Finding a home of a similar size, age, quality and price would have been very difficult in some of Dayton’s other hot historic neighborhoods, Allen said.
“For this property in the Oregon District, we would have paid double what we paid, probably,” he said.
The Allens love the neighborhood because it is safe, attractive and close to downtown’s entertainment destinations and amenities.
But they also like living near Weil and Pereira because they provide an anchoring presence, Allen said.
Living close to friends and loved ones definitely has benefits.
Friends and relatives can help with deliveries or emergencies, like getting locked out.
They can swing by if pets need walked or let out.
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Weil and Pereira have a rambunctious Bernedoodle named Fitz. The Allens have a pair of long-haired dachshunds, Charlie and Luke.
“It’s definitely helpful to have someone right behind our house that we can count on and know and have a relationship with,” Pereira said.
Allen said about three or four other couples he’s friends with want to move to Wright Dunbar Village, if the right property becomes available.
The Allens’ parents are thinking about moving into the area.
Weil and Pereira, both 27, would hang out with the Allens regardless of where they reside.
But living so close is very convenient and increases the number of opportunities they have to spend time together, Weil said.
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“Proximity is important — you don’t go to a gym that’s a 30-minute drive, and sometimes you don’t go to one that’s a five-minute drive,” Weil said. “But if you have a two-minute walk, you’ll go more frequently.”
Pereira’s and Weil’s families don’t live in the area. Pereira says their friends are family.
Pereira said she and Weil and the Allens have talked about having regular family dinners and coordinating and planning their grocery shopping around those meals.
“We want to maximize the resources that we have,” she said.
Pereira said she’s encouraging some friends to move into Wright Dunbar, but she wants to be careful when making choices that could impact how the area evolves.
She said it’s important to her that current residents don’t feel like they are being pushed out.
The neighborhood, Pereira said, has excellent diversity and extremely welcoming and friendly residents, most of whom have lived in their homes many years.
Weil said the Allens are the last all-white couple he will actively try to recruit to move in. He said that’s because Wright Dunbar’s residents are predominantly people of color and he doesn’t want to interfere with the make-up of the historic neighborhood.
“I just want to preserve what’s here,” said Weil, who is white. Pereira is Puerto Rican.
Wright Dunbar is on the upswing and already has “incredible” people who are committed to the community and can help with its revitalization, Weil said.
Mainly, Weil said, he hopes to help lure some new businesses to the Third Street business corridor, which has come a long way but could use some additional investment.
Gentrification can be good if done right, and blight is so prevalent in Dayton that many neighborhoods need new investment in order to survive and stabilize, he said.
The important thing is to ensure that housing remains affordable and people aren’t pushed out as real estate values increase as neighborhoods are revitalized, he said.
“If nobody invests in the neighborhood, it is going to stay blighted forever,” he said.
Typically what happens is that some trendsetters move in to a neighborhood and validate that it is a good place to live, and then others follow, said Steve Seboldt, Realtor with Sibcy Cline.
“Some folks are adventuresome, others need to see positive signs that their investment is a good one and ‘plunge’ into a new urban lifestyle,” said Seboldt said.
People often get exposed to housing opportunities they never considered through their friends and family members, and interest in an area spreads, according to some Realtors.
Wright Dunbar is getting more exposure because of its affordable housing and the success of its new and existing businesses, said Jackson, with HER Realtors.
In September, three homes in Wright Dunbar Village sold for between $98,500 and $142,900, which was 98 to 100 percent of their list price, Jackson said, citing local real estate data.