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Should I buy a loft in Bridgeport, CT?
January 21, 2008 5:07 AM   Subscribe

Should I buy a loft in a restored industrial building or the Columbia Records Tower in Bridgeport, CT?

I'm an NYC commuter currently renting on Long Island. I am looking to buy something later this year but am probably going to try to get out of New York to find some lower prices and taxes. I've discovered a few loft developments in Bridgeport, CT that seem to be right up my alley. One (Federal Arms) is on Charles St. another is in the Columbia Records Tower and the last one is called Lofts on Lafayette, on Lafayette obviously, and close to the train station which would be ideal for my commute. Can anyone with some local knowledge give me some insight into the neighborhoods, what direction they're heading, the broad demographic groups I can expect from my neighbors, etc.? If anyone has any knowledge of the real estate market in Bridgeport, and can give me an idea of whether those lofts are expected to increase in value (mortgage crisis not withstanding), or to tank, whether I have any room to bargain on the asking price, etc. that would be amazingly helpful.

Thanks, Connecticutians!
posted by rocketpup to Work & Money (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Bridgeport? Isn't that commute going to eat all your time?! I lived in Huntington, Lon Giland for a few years, and that was brutal enough. Bridgeport looks further. Think about this carefully! A long commute gets really old.
posted by Goofyy at 5:45 AM on January 21, 2008


Travel times between Bridgeport and Grand Central Terminal are as low as 74 minutes. This is about 20 minutes longer than the express train between Huntington and Penn but one might make that up to some degree by proximity to the train station. Luckily I'm also somewhat of a semi-remote worker so would only have to do the commute 3 days per week on average. Plus if sufficiently motivated I find I can accomplish some work on the train. It's not ideal, but it's doable.
posted by rocketpup at 6:23 AM on January 21, 2008


If you're looking to live in Connecticut, I'm not sure Bridgeport's a great choice. It doesn't have a great reputation overall, although I know that some neighborhoods are up and coming (and maybe this is one of them).
posted by bassjump at 6:30 AM on January 21, 2008


You notice how the Lofts on Lafayette note that they are gated as the very first feature on the list? There's a reason for that. The Columbia Records lofts are right near the hospital, and as someone who was offered a night shift job at that hospital with a very good differential, was unemployed at the time, and declined it, well, I'm just going to suggest that the area near the hospital is not really where you want to be.

There's also a huge bias against Bridgeport among people in Connecticut - it's okay to work there, but you wouldn't want to live there. I don't know that that's going to change anytime soon, and that would impact your 'future value' calculation. There's a reason for that - it's

I would really suggest looking a little further west on the Metro North line, if you can afford it. The smaller towns are probably better than the cities, but Bridgeport is one of the last places in state I'd like to live in, or even work in. Stratford's one stop down the line and a better bet, for example, but further west is likely better.
posted by cobaltnine at 7:37 AM on January 21, 2008


Just remember to multiply your commute times x2. As in, if it's 20 minutes longer from place x then place z, then place x adds 40 minutes to your commute.

Also if you have a 74 minute train ride, you are looking at 2 hours door to door, no? I did that for a year and man was it unbelievably earthshatteringly depressing. You are going to be riding with a lot of stuffed suits, standing around waiting for the late train and you will never ever hang out late in NY. If that's what you are into. IMHO it sucked eggs.

I was also making $8 an hour at the time (musical instrument restoration apprenticeship), so that colored my experience somewhat, but it definitely blew.
posted by sully75 at 7:47 AM on January 21, 2008


I can't help on the areas but can offer experience on the commute* since I used to travel 6 hours daily (3 hours each way) by train. The morning journey would start well (I lived at the end of the line) but 5 or 6 stops in the train would start to get crowded and using a laptop would be more difficult. Even a paper notebook and pen is not easy to use when you're squeezed in the window seat or (worse) in the aisle seat with multiple bodies swaying next to you with a real danger of someone falling into your lap! Add train delays, cancellations, lack of information

There's also the privacy issue - it's impossible to shield what you're working on. Oh and phone calls? You have to be quite brazen to hold a cell phone conversation without annoying your neighbours and accepting that they will listen in to your calls.

Most days I would settle down with a radio and book. To be honest, I enjoyed the commute for a few years, it was precious "me time" but a week into leaving the commute behind and working solely from home I realised how stressful the commuting had been, I would do just about anything not to repeat the experience.

As well as investigating real estate locations, do check the commute at morning and evening peak time.

Good luck!

-----------
* Admittedly the commute was on UK trains, notorious for being little better than over/under heated cattle wagons with narrow seats that surel only the Kate Mosses of this world can sit in comfortably.
posted by ceri richard at 8:11 AM on January 21, 2008


Metro North trains have the same issue, ceri. Bridgeport is one of the earlier stops, so you would probably get a seat, but they fill up massively before they get to New York. Our trains are perpetually underfunded.
posted by smackfu at 9:21 AM on January 27, 2008


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