Downtown resident Dimitri Demopoulos has lived in major metropolitan areas across the United States and traveled the globe. Despite his worldly adventures, Demipoulos loves hanging his hat in Downtown Jacksonville, where he’s lived at Churchwell Lofts for the past four years. Below, he shares why Downtown is the place for him:
Why did you choose to live Downtown?
I’ve always preferred to live in or near the center of cities. It’s hard to explain, but as a single person, living in a suburb would make me feel lonely and disconnected. I realize Downtown Jacksonville is still a work-in-progress, but that’s part of the fun and excitement – watching things change, grow and improve. By deciding to live Downtown, I hope I’m contributing to that improvement process. And the real beauty of living in the urban core is not only can I enjoy the assets of Downtown Jacksonville, but I also have the communities of Springfield, San Marco, Riverside and Avondale surrounding me like a painter’s palette. On any given night, I can amble over to Indochine for some drunken noodles, or within minutes, I can be sipping a craft beer and savoring a pizza at Pele’s in Riverside. That’s hard to beat!
Where are you from originally?
I’m originally from Spartanburg, S.C., but for most of my adult life, I’ve lived in large cities like Boston, San Diego and even Athens, Greece. I’ve also had the good fortune to travel to a number of foreign countries and enjoyed soaking up the atmosphere of some magnificent cities.
What do you love most about living Downtown?
First and foremost, I love my building. The opportunity to live in Churchwell Lofts was what enticed me to live Downtown initially. I feel it’s one of the coolest buildings in Jacksonville. Add to that the bonus of having Olio on the ground floor, and well, what more could you want? Hungry for a gourmet sandwich? Hop in the elevator, take a left out my front door and presto – great food! But if that’s still not enough for you, I’ll go ahead and pile it on: The Florida Theatre, the Symphony, MOCA, Art Walk, Riverside Arts Market, Burrito Gallery, Indochine, Chamblin’s Uptown, Chomp Chomp, Burro Bar, Underbelly, and last, but most definitely not least, Dos Gatos. Oh, I almost forgot, the other thing I love about living Downtown – walking or riding my bike to Jaguars’ games and waving at all those wonderfully patient people waiting in traffic to pay $20 for a parking space. That’s two beers!
What do think is the biggest misperception about Downtown?
That Downtown is unsafe! All right, all right, I’ll confess – I had a cell phone “disappear” from my stool at a local bar this time last year. But by Downtown standards, that was a crime wave.
Do you have favorite Downtown activities?
I’m a bit of a trivia junkie, so you’ll usually see me and some friends taking on the competition at Trivia Night Live on Thursday nights at Dos Gatos. Our team name is “Churchwell Chuggers,” so if you and your friends think you have what it takes, feel free to come on down and try your luck. First place gets you $20 worth of Dos Gatos Bucks that can be applied toward your tab. But don’t get your hopes up, my friends, the Chuggers are a force to be reckoned with. While I work out my mind at trivia, I work out my body at RiverFit Gym in The Landing. Pam, the owner, is a barrel of energy, and you can’t ask for a better view of the St. Johns River while sweating your brains out. I’ve even seen dolphins on more that one occasion.
For someone who’s looking to move to another part of the city, why would you recommend Downtown?
In addition to all the assets I’ve already mentioned, I’d recommend moving Downtown because it offers the opportunity to become part of an emergent community. Being a bit of a pioneer is always exciting. And in this case, there’s no downside. Compared to most other parts of the city, you’ll have access to more cultural opportunities, not less. That could also be said for sports and dining. If you work in or near Downtown, you’ll save money on gas. And finally, when living Downtown, you have relatively quick and easy access to most other parts of the city via I-95, I-10 and the bridges – Jax is essentially at your fingertips.
Anything else to add?
Take the plunge. The water is fine.