Life at Four23/Hoge in Columbia-Tusculum represents a trend that has been gaining ground during the past decade: Empty Nesters who no longer need or want to own a big house and are choosing to rent. With the kids off on their own, there’s often no need to hold onto all that space or the responsibilities of maintaining it. Owning a house many Empty Nesters have been in for decades also represents another dilemma — a significant portion of their wealth that they can’t access. That is why many are choosing to downsize, sell and rent, using that unlocked equity to travel or pursue an unrealized dream.
Four23/Hoge’s 62 rental units, developed by Cincinnati-based R2 Partners, delivers that carefree lifestyle that many Empty Nesters are ready to embrace. “We call it worry-free living with the ability to lock and leave,” R2 Partners co-founder Barry Rosenberg says. “If something breaks, you call management and they fix it, and you don’t have to worry about a homeowner’s association.” Rosenberg says it just makes good financial sense as well when compared to holding onto the family house.
“The interest deduction you can get now is capped, so it’s becoming less and less attractive to own a home,” Rosenberg says. “Home ownership [overall] used to be around 64%; it’s below 60% now.” A growing number of the 70 million Baby Boomers are contributing to that decrease in ownership. They are renters by choice, which means more disposable income.
Whereas the monthly cost of owning a home (mortgage, taxes, insurance and maintenance) typically run around $3,500 a month, one- and two-bedroom units at Four23/Hoge will range from $1,525 to $2,980 a month.
In 2013, the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University issued a report that by 2023 nearly half of the growth in the rental market will be seniors 65 and older. Still, R2 Partners understood that there are amenities that this group of renters sees as must-haves when they decide to make such a move. They include state-of-the-art kitchens, high-end bathrooms, walk-in closets, multiple bedrooms to accommodate a den, home office or visiting children and grandchildren.
At Four23/Hoge, that translates to high-end Bosch appliances in every kitchen and filtered water that includes the refrigerator. A state-of-the art air purification system that will eliminate 99.9% of airborne contaminates, such as mold, allergens, bacteria and viruses. Additional sound abatement measures that will make sure you don’t hear your neighbors and that they don’t hear you.
Other luxury touches include original artwork in the lobby and club room where local artist Betty Hatchett has created large, nature-themed murals. Each unit gets special artistic attention as well, with colorful wall treatments above each front door. Inside, there are Rookwood tile showers, heated floors in some bathrooms and lots of natural light through larger-than-normal windows.
There’s another kind of untapped capital that Empty Nester renters find themselves ready to access: time and the freedom to use it as they wish. No more yards to mow, gutters to clean, swimming pools to winterize or dusty rooms to vacuum that are only used a few times a year by visitors. So a big factor when looking to rent is that old adage: Location, location, location.
Four23/Hoge scores high on this factor. Located just off Columbia Parkway in Cincinnati’s original neighborhood, Columbia-Tusculum, it’s 15 minutes from the heart of downtown Cincinnati. It’s also surrounded by many neighborhood features that Empty Nesters see as essential when contemplating how to capitalize on all that time and freedom they’re ready to claim.
Walkability often tops the list, whether it serves as part of the daily exercise regimen or easy access to a wide variety of destinations. Alms Park on Tusculum Avenue is 94 acres of trails and a showstopper view of the Ohio River and valley below. Columbia-Tusculum is rich in dining options for residents who will call Four23/Hoge home. From casual eateries, such as CT’s iconic Allyn’s Cafe, a five-minute walk from the front door, to Starbucks a couple blocks away to The Precinct, a longtime, fine-dining hot spot, the menu of choices is wide. And there are a variety of small businesses to patronize throughout neighborhood.
More free time also means more time to socialize. Residents of Four23/Hoge need go no further than the first floor club room, in-house gym or courtyard pool for a meetup with old or new friends. And there is a wealth of options beyond the walls, too: a year-round calendar of events at the Irish Heritage Center of Greater Cincinnati nearby on Eastern Avenue and plenty of chances to hear local musicians at nearby restaurants and pubs.
Time and money, two things Empty Nesters have worked a lifetime to achieve. Paired with trading the cost and responsibility of home ownership for renting a luxurious apartment could be opening the door to the good life many have been dreaming of.