When Carolyn Davis Stewart and her husband moved to a house on Harvey Street in Halifax’s downtown core 15 years ago, they weren’t trying to start a trend. They just liked the ambiance of the neighbourhood.

“I love the location,” says Davis Stewart. “There’s so much going on, so much to do.”

Today many more people are following suit, choosing to leave the quiet suburbs to live amid the buzz of downtown.

As a real estate agent, Davis Stewart meets many of them.

She recently finished selling out the Bishop’s Landing condominium complex, a 155-unit building that was the first new residential complex on the Halifax waterfront in more than a generation when it opened a few years ago.

From its spectacular setting overlooking Halifax Harbour, the combination condominium and rental complex offers residents easy access to fitness facilities, restaurants, day spas and everything else downtown Halifax has to offer.

“It has been a very successful project,” says Davis Stewart. “It’s especially popular with part-time residents — people who live part of the year in Bermuda, the Caribbean, Hong Kong and Europe.”

The new trend toward downtown living may be spurred by demographics.

As people retire and become empty nesters, many of them find it more convenient to live in a neighbourhood within walking distance of major amenities and hospitals.

At the other end of the spectrum, Halifax’s explosive growth over the last decade may also be encouraging younger adults to plant downtown roots.

Traffic and commuting are major issues in outlying areas, and many people don’t want to spend hours fighting their way into and out of the city on their way to and from work on a regular basis.

Terry Brookbank is the manager of Spice Condos, another fairly new downtown property development that is currently sold out.

Many of her residents are young environmentally conscious people who are trying to reduce their carbon footprints.

“They don’t want to own cars,” says Brookbank. “Spice is attractive to those types of buyers because it has a lot of energy-efficient technology built into its design.”

Advocates of downtown living are pleased that more people of all ages are calling it home.

“It’s so important to get people back into the downtown core,” says Davis Stewart.

“Halifax needs charisma and energy. A vibrant downtown will help make that happen.”

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