The Big Move

By Becca George

The historic square in Murfreesboro is booming. It is host to an array of businesses including many new restaurants. As the downtown grows, so does its inhabitants. At any given time, it is not uncommon to see people walking around the square or up and down the streets that surround it. Many people and families are choosing to make the move to be closer to our downtown.

This surge is helped by a number of homes that have been renovated and updated. The walkability to the square and its shops, restaurants and events helps draw people to want to live near all these things our community has to offer.

Melanie Davenport and Judy Goldie are two residents who have done a lot to help and keep the square a wonderful place to work, play and live.

“Since adding the businesses of Trendy Pieces and Bella’s Boutique to downtown, and building our own home on North Maney, we have had a true interest in helping improve downtown and getting more families to downtown,” says Davenport, owner of Happy Home Builders.

Melanie and Judy feel passionately about keeping homes up to date and with great curb appeal. They are currently renovating their second home near the square. Davenport explains that downtown has an energy that the cookie cutter subdivisions don’t offer. She also believes making these types of improvements to the streets and the historic square are what helps attract businesses like Puckett’s Grocery and Jack Brown’s.

Davenport says there are a lot of people interested in moving downtown but properties are still scarce. Many great investors and builders are working to refurbish homes on First and Second Avenue, Maney, Lytle, Academy, Burton and several others streets.

“I am hoping more people will reach out and sell homes to be improved and keep this wave of excitement going,” she says.

The character-filled homes are not the only draw to living downtown. You can shop for hardware, groceries, clothes, hear live music, go to the pharmacy, doctor, and drycleaner all during one stroll. You can walk to work, the farmers market and pick up flowers or stationary on your way home. The downtown has appeal for people of any age.

Rachel and Justin Holder are another family who were excited to make the move.

“We have really used the square for a long time,” says Justin, “Everything from events to the Saturday Market and shopping. The square, especially now, just has so much energy. We really wanted that lifestyle of being able to walk downtown. It’s like being on vacation, where you are able to walk everywhere; whether it is to one of the Friday night concerts or to Junior’s to pick up meat for dinner.”

Simultaneously, the Holders realized if them simplified their lives, they could pursue their love of traveling. They bought an Airstream so they could hit the road more often, sold their large home that had more space than they needed, and made the move downtown. It proved to be a good choice.

 “It has been incredible for our family,” says Justin. “When we lived in 4,000 square feet we were all in different parts of the house. My son has even commented that he loves it because we are closer together. We find we hang out more, have more family time and just have more conversation in general. I feel like we are much more connected here.”

Moving downtown didn’t just bring their family closer but it gave them a closer connection to the community.

“{We love} the sense of community more than anything,” he says. “You get to know the owners of the stores. They genuinely appreciate your business and they constantly support each other. Plus, the overall energy — there is a lot of excitement, especially lately, in downtown.

Much like Davenport and Goldie, Justin has experienced the same boom for homes near the square.

“Being in real estate, I have seen the downtown market explode. It is now bringing, price per square foot, more than just about anywhere in Rutherford County. The demand and the excitement is incredible,” he says. “People just want to be downtown. People want to be in a walking community and people want to be close to the square.”

They love the character of the properties and the long-standing quality. In addition to moving their family there, the Holders’ faith in the growth of downtown living prompted them to renovate another home near the square.

“When Rachel and I were wanting to redo a property we knew there was no better spot to do it,” he says, explaining the day after they closed on the property they had people knocking on the door wanting to buy it. “Ultimately, we are improving our own neighborhood.

“Some of our neighbors are doctors, university professors, artists and musicians,” he says. “The eclectic side of downtown is what’s often most endearing. It is a true lifestyle community.”

“Murfreesboro downtown is coming alive and the more great families we can get to move into the area the stronger it will grow,” says Melanie. “We are making downtown a better place to live, not just a business district or an area of history.”

Old life becomes new with homes being renovated among the downtown Murfreesboro square. Many, including Rachel and Justin Holder, have chosen to simplify their lives, shed some square footage, and make the most out of posh and efficient living. It’s become a trend in lifestyle that also serves as a wise investment. In addition to living downtown, the Holders have been renovating a second home in which they invested, much to the delight of potential future buyers.