Living downtown has allowed my husband and me to live a “greener” life. Though he has a ten mile commute to work, I just have to roll out of bed and power up the computer. Cutting down to one person commuting in the family, makes a big difference in energy costs. We can walk to the grocery store, just ten minutes from Court and State Street with a pull cart, and bring home one week’s worth of groceries with the only energy expense being my own.

Just two years ago the majority of downtown living spaces were a few converted lofts hidden away here and there. Many old buildings sat empty for years after businesses had deserted downtown for strip malls and parking lot pads. However, over the last several years, the surge in downtown dwellers and the reinvention of new businesses, including the Grand Phoenix hotel, the Metropolitan building, the Salem Arts Building, and many soon-to-be completed condos, has turned downtown Salem into a place to call home.

The Salem Arts Building is a mixed use building, housing both apartments and office space. It is one of the first conversion buildings, it also offers a great variety of services. Just across the street is the Metropolitan. Refurbished into stylish loft apartments, elements of the original building were retained throughout the spaces, and attention was paid to kitchens and lighting, making these a great choice for living downtown.

All but a few have an outdoor living space as well, which is a great plus when living downtown.

There are a few annoying things about living downtown. At times, the number of people hanging out on the street can be a bit troublesome.

Additionally, there are too few loading/unloading zones for those times when you need to carry luggage or large items. We have not, however, found it a burden to use the parking garages and feel our car has been safe there.

Overall, living downtown is a great experience. With the proposed foot bridges connecting the marina in West Salem to River Park, and another proposed to Minto Brown park, downtown may soon have the best overall outdoor space of anywhere in Salem.