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Real Estate Rumble - Royal Oak vs. Ferndale

Without consulting my business partner, I’ve decided to start a new series titled “Real Estate Rumble”, which will feature head-to-head matchups on anything and everything related to Real Estate. How often will we do this? Who knows… Depends on how I feel and level of engagement. That’s right… you, the avid follower and esteemed member of the AP community, have the opportunity to let your voice be heard. The winner of each “Real Estate Rumble” will be decided by the people. A true democracy. “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death” – 2 Chainz. So whether you comment on this blog or on our Facebook and Instagram, I can 100% guarantee that all votes will be tallied in a fair, unbiased manner. To kick things off, we have a heavyweight bought that surely won’t disappoint.

This matchup was inspired by a Detroit Free Press article published last week, highlighting the changing downtown nightlife scenes in Royal Oak, Ferndale and Birmingham (link below). Since no one under 35 goes out in Birmingham, and also because I know very little about the city, we’re only gonna talk about Ferndale and Royal Oak. Anyone familiar with southeast Michigan should be well aware of these neighboring powerhouses in the metro-Detroit nightlife game. If you don’t live in Michigan, don’t worry… I will provide you the information required to make an informed decision.

Royal Oak

We start with the seasoned veteran, at least in comparison to its opponent. Over the past 25 years, Royal Oak has emerged as the premier destination for 20-somethings transitioning to life after college, but still desiring the hustle and bustle of a lively college campus-type environment. There are certainly families that reside within the cits limits, but at night the city seems to fill with a younger crowd consuming all the alcohol and food in sight. Popular hangouts such as Fifth Ave, Tequila Blue and O-Tooles can almost guarantee a minimum one spilled drink per customer as they fill to capacity every weekend. There are plenty of great places to not have conversations, but rather shuffle your way through a sea of Brad and Chads while trying to find an open spot at the bar and a bartender not already servicing 25 people.

Now before anyone comes out and says I’m being biased, these are facts, people. Like I said I am only providing the necessary information to make an informed decision. Royal Oak has no shortage of bars, restaurants and clubs to satisfy a wide array of tastes and preferences. Looking at the stats, RO has a population 3x that of Ferndale’s according to US census. Median home prices are considerably more expensive and the sheer number of bars and restaurants is far greater than its neighbor to the south. So on paper Royal Oak would appear to be the clear winner when it comes to desirability among 20-somethings. But, if history has taught us anything, it is that upsets happen (just ask Hillary Clinton).


Now we shift our attention to the rookie. Heading south over I-696 along historic Woodward Avenue, you will soon be welcomed to the seemingly compact, yet incredibly diverse downtown Ferndale. Its opponent has a significant size advantage and longer reach, but you must take into account Ferndale’s tenacity and wide offering to an even wider range of individuals. Those who call this city home do so with an unwavering sense of pride (no pun intended). Whereas Royal Oak seems to attract a primarily young crowd, the nightlife demographic in Ferndale appears much more diverse. Individuals have the ability to enjoy an upscale dinner at relatively new restaurants Otus Supply and Pops Italian or opt for a more informal, but equally delicious meal at the always busy Imperial or Public House.

Ferndale is where Royal Oak was 10 years ago. Time and demand have forced both cities to expand and open their doors to new residents and businesses. In general this is a good thing. But development and growth will always be met with some resistance from those that do not want to see the city change from its current state. That appears to be what is happening in Ferndale at the moment, with some general concern of the highly-independent city falling victim to franchise and big money. It will be interesting to see what happens in both of these cities over the next few years, with neither showing any indication of slowing down. Let’s also not forget some of the other neighboring communities. The future could even show the likes of Berkley, Clawson or Hazel Park stepping in the ring against these two juggernauts, but only time will tell.

There you go. A totally unbiased and factually based tale of the tape. It is now up to you, the reader to decide where your allegiance lies. Both are undoubtedly great cities, but only one will be crowned champion of the first official AP Real Estate Rumble!

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