Robert Solymossy doesn’t remember when he last gassed up his one remaining car. His other two cars are blissfully consigned to memory, along with his lawn, his driveway and “a lifetime’s worth of furniture” accumulated over the 23 years he lived in a detached single-family house in a wooded part of Oakton.
In 2005, Solymossy, now 67, and his wife Diana Sun Solymossy, 58, traded all that in to live in a condo in Clarendon with a gym, a rooftop pool and dozens of shops and restaurants right downstairs.
They bought it unbuilt, choosing from a floor plan. “It was a leap of faith, to say the least, but the location was really good,” Solymossy said. “After we moved in, I realized that this is really, really great; this really rocks.”
The Solymossys were front-runners of a mini-trend now taking root in some parts of the nation and particularly in the Washington metro area: baby boomers swapping out their single-family suburban homes for the bustle of urban life.
Reversing the trajectory of the Eisenhower generation, which fled cities for the suburbs, these boomers are following a path that younger people have embraced in droves. Many are empty nesters, and freed of the need to factor in school districts and yard sizes, they are gravitating to dense urban cores near restaurants, shops, movie theaters and Metro stations.
Results from an unscientific survey of Washington Post readers
Between 2000 and 2010, more than a million baby boomers moved out of areas 40 to 80 miles from city centers and a similar number moved to within five miles of city centers, according to an analysis of 50 large cities by the online real estate brokerage Redfin.