When Garth and Joann Martin decided to downsize from their large house on a large lot in Leawood, they looked at moving to Hillcrest, but settled on downtown because “it’s just where we need to be with our lifestyle,” Garth said. The retired couple paid $330,000 in July 2005 for their 1,800-square-foot, two-bedroom Rainwood Flats condo at 515 E. Capitol, which has views of the River Market, the Clinton Library and Heifer International. It puts them within a couple of minutes of all the places where they volunteer and spend their leisure time, they said: The Rep, the Clinton Library, the ArtsCenter, Robinson Auditorium.
<module>Though in their 70s, the Martins aren’t the oldest residents in their building, and they said they know several other retirees who live downtown. Their neighbors include a retired doctor, the head of the state Department of Higher Education, and several lawyers. One-bedroom condos in the building go for about half what the Martins paid, so “it’s very eclectic, which we like,” Joann said.
When they decided to move downtown, they caused some raised eyebrows among their friends, they said.
“So many of our friends out in way-west Little Rock can’t conceive that you can have a normal life down here like this,” she said. “But once you get inside the rooms, it’s not any different than any other house.”
But the most common question they get now is, “Where do you buy your groceries?”
“That’s the number one thing they need down here,” Garth said.
Joann admitted she doesn’t cook much, but said she can get to the Riverdale Harvest Foods in seven minutes and the East McCain Wal-Mart in nine. And she can hit Community Bakery and the River Market for basics like bread, milk and juice.
“It’s just a wonderful place to be if you let yourself get away from the idea that it’s dangerous or not conducive to home life,” she said.