The preference for living in downtown areas isn’t unique to South Bend. But people who live here are unique. From recent Notre Dame graduates looking for a new experience to empty nesters looking to downsize, residents’ reasons for living downtown are as varied as their backgrounds. Here are several snapshots of people who have recently moved to downtown South Bend:


Gaby Mercurio

The LaSalle

When Gaby Mercurio, 23, graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2016, her four years living on campus had kept her in “the Notre Dame bubble,” she said.


After becoming an employee at the university working as a student trainee development specialist, she spent one year living in apartments near campus. But last year, she wanted to change her surroundings. So she moved into The LaSalle’s apartments, which had recently been completed as part of a $12 million redevelopment of the historic hotel next to the Morris Performing Arts Center.


“I know that South Bend is more than just Notre Dame,” Mercurio said. “I get to learn more about the city in general, the people who live here and grew up here.”


Mercurio grew up in Torrance, California, just south of Los Angeles, and as a result is familiar with an urban lifestyle. One of her favorite aspects of living downtown is seeing and visiting the new businesses and restaurants that have opened up in the last year.


But she would like to see more options for food later in the evening.


“One thing I loved about living in a big city like L.A. was that I could get tacos at 10:30 at night, or being able to get ramen at night,” she said. “Just the availability of that was really nice.”


Like others living downtown, she would be happy to see another grocery store open up soon.


“Sometimes I’ll come home and I’ll start making dinner and I’ll realize I forgot an ingredient,” Mercurio said. “And I’ll just say ‘Well, I guess I’ll just skip this ingredient.’”


Being near the river is also a major appeal for Mercurio, who said she often takes her dog, Crispy, on walks along the East Bank trail and to the nearby Niles Ave. Dog Park, or through downtown on First Fridays.


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