Curbed Atlanta asked Historic West End Board President Stephanie Malinauskas to share some of the ups, downs, and idiosyncrasies of living in her unique community, which is located three miles southwest of downtown Atlanta and is the current Curbed Cup champion.
Curbed: What do you think sets West End apart from other Atlanta neighborhoods?
Stephanie: Genuine diversity (socioeconomic, age, racial, religious, sexual orientation, etc.). We not only tolerate each other, but there is actually a sense of community pride that this is a place where people from all walks of life can feel at home and thrive.
Curbed: What's the key to maintaining a sense of community in a neighborhood like West End?
Stephanie: Getting to know your neighbors on a personal level. Staying collectively focused on promoting the many strengths of the neighborhood.
Curbed: What do you like best about the neighborhood?
Stephanie: The (aforementioned) sense of community and diversity of neighbors. Seeing beautiful historic homes, many of which were previously vacant or derelict, get a new lease on life.
Curbed: What do you like least about the neighborhood?
Stephanie: Vacant houses with owners who refuse to sell (because they’re holding out for more money). Lack of sit-down restaurant and bar options in walking distance from the residential part of the neighborhood.
Curbed: How has it changed since you moved there?
Stephanie: Significantly fewer vacant homes. More young families and first-time homeowners.
Curbed: What's the neighborhood housing stock like?
Stephanie: Single-family homes run the gamut from small bungalows to large Victorians, but inventory is increasingly low, especially if you’re looking for a house that is fully renovated. Even the number of fixer-uppers on the market is dwindling.
Curbed: Better for buyers or renters?
Stephanie: Probably buyers (in the long term), though there are still a good number of affordable (especially as compared to other intown neighborhoods on the Beltline) rentals in West End. If you’re interested in buying in the West End, I wouldn’t sleep on it for too long – prices are steadily increasing.
Curbed: Tell us something we don't know about West End.
Stephanie: West End Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Curbed: Local customs of note?
Stephanie: Buying bean pie from the Muslims at Lee Street & RDA. Music in the Park. Porch Parties – many homes have expansive wrap-around front porches that are the perfect place to entertain (or share an impromptu cocktail with neighbors passing by).
Curbed: Stereotypical residents?
Stephanie: Eclectic, Afrocentric, and Vegan.
Curbed: Hidden gems in West End?
Stephanie: The backyard at the Wren’s Nest – a true urban oasis just steps away from the busy RDA corridor.
Curbed: Do you need a car to get around?
Stephanie: Definitely not. Great access to MARTA. Walkable and bike-friendly. We are at Mile Marker "0" of the Atlanta Beltline, and we’re slated to be a test market for Atlanta’s Bike Share program.
Curbed: Good for kids?
Stephanie: Yes. Great network of parents who will settle for nothing less than the best for their kids. Lots of young families moving to the neighborhood (number of kids is rapidly increasing) and many parks and greenspace (including the Beltline). Would love to see our APS schools improve, but there are several award-winning educational alternatives that serve the West End community, including charter schools such as KIPP Strive Primary School and Kindezi.
Curbed: Beloved neighborhood joint?
Stephanie: Bakari’s Pizza
Curbed: Where are the best places to experience the outdoors in West End?
Stephanie: Beltline and your (or your neighbor's) front porch.
Curbed: Who wouldn't be happy here?
Stephanie: Haters. Seriously, if you’re intolerant and can’t appreciate diversity (in every sense of the word), West End probably isn’t for you.
Curbed: The final word on West End?