Chicago’s bustling reputation has been known to attract both the young and old, and folks from a wide range of professions. And to many who live in Chicago (old and new), lofts have become a highly coveted type of dwelling that fulfills both work and personal life into one space. What was once used and dismissed as storage, lofts have been refurbished to highlight a desired look: high ceilings, open floor plans, and industrial features such as exposed brick, steel, and wood.
Some of the popular live/work neighborhoods such as Lincoln Park and Pullman Historic District have new loft developments that sprout from historic buildings and refurbishments. Lincoln Park Condos hold a vast array of refurbished lofts that occupy spaces above area businesses and old buildings. Pullman Artspace Lofts, which has just begun construction, is located in the Pullman Historic District and was once used by the Pullman Company as worker housing.
The Pullman Historic District was recognized by the American Planning Association in 2011 as one of the Top 10 Greatest Neighborhoods. The history of this little town dates back to its conception around late 1800’s by one George M. Pullman, whose idea was to make an ideal community for the workers of his car company, Pullman’s Palace Car Company. He wanted to make the best possible living environment to increase the quality of life for his workers, with the idea that a good quality of life would result in happier and more efficient workers. This, in his mind, would lead to less strikes, higher productivity, and a better quality product.
The Historic Pullman Foundation intends to continue with this same ideal: to provide a good quality living environment to the working class. Average size of any loft is typically around 1,250 sq. feet, but can greatly vary. Lofts can range from 700 sq. feet to around 2,500 sq. feet. Interior and exterior finishes also vary, but the vast majority of lofts in the Chicago area are refurbished buildings that used to serve as warehouses or old plants. New construction seems to adhere to those same principles of high ceilings, large windows, and exposed brick.
Resources to other live/work loft spaces in the Chicago area include: