Author: Justin Johnston

Denver Lofts

Established in 1858 on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver began as a gold mining town. Since then, the Mile High City, which gets its nickname for its elevation…

Established in 1858 on the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, Denver began as a gold mining town. Since then, the Mile High City, which gets its nickname for its elevation has become a major metropolitan hub in the midwest. With its mild climates, beautiful scenery, rapidly growing population, and an unlikely locale for major tech companies, Denver shows no signs of slowing down.

Built in 1903 for the Littleton Creamery and later Beatrice Foods Cold Storage Warehouse, the building was lauded for its practical and functioning use as cold storage for 80 years. In 1990, it was converted into New York-style lofts with original exposed brick walls, ductwork, and beams, as well as original arched windows and hardwood floors. The Ice House Lofts is located in a desirable neighborhood that is within walking distance to main restaurants, shops, and entertainment.

Ice House Lofts

Located in lower downtown Denver (LoDo), Acme Lofts was built in 1909 before being converted in 1992. Former tenants of the building included Brecht Chocolate and Candies and the Acme Upholstery Company. Many units have expansive views and fireplaces, as well as communal amenities like a rooftop deck, extra storage, and underground parking.

Acme Lofts

If former warehouses and factories are not to your liking, there are plenty of other architectural styles to choose from. The Chamber Lofts were named after its former tenant, the Denver Chamber of Commerce. The neoclassical-revival building now offers loft-style apartments with 12-foot ceilings, modern kitchens, and plenty of natural light. Or if art-deco is more in line with your tastes, Buerger Brothers Lofts was previously headquarters of their namesake, which was the western region’s top barber and beauty shop.

Chamber Lofts

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Fort Worth Lofts

Fort Worth has played an integral role in Texas’s history beginning as a frontier town in 1849. With the arrival of a railway, Fort Worth became an epicenter of the…

Fort Worth has played an integral role in Texas’s history beginning as a frontier town in 1849. With the arrival of a railway, Fort Worth became an epicenter of the ranching industry, as well as oil and aviation. The once small cattle town is now a major city in America, with continuing roots in transportation, business, and military. Many of the city’s architecture hints at its rich past, ranging from posts of the frontier days, to art-deco, to skyscrapers. And thanks to its history, economy, and affordable housing, the population of Fort Worth continues to climb.

The Supreme Golf Warehouse was originally built in 1913 for the Fort Worth Warehouse. A century later in 2013, it was converted into 23 loft units. Classic loft detailing includes concrete floors, exposed brick and ductwork, and historic light fixtures, while some units also contain the original storage locker doors.

Supreme Golf Warehouse

Sawyer Grocery was built by the same developers of the Golf Warehouse and is a former grocery store that originated in 1888. With only 14 units, the industrial apartments feature original hardwood flooring, as well as a slew of commercial occupants on this historic main street.

Sawyer Grocery

Built in 1929 with previous tenants including J.C. Penney and N.C. Hall’s Jewelers, the Sanger Lofts is on the National Register of Historic Places. It was renovated in 1986 into 59 loft apartments. These popular units are conveniently located within walking distance of 30+ dining options, major retailers, movie theaters and concert halls.

Sanger Lofts

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Houston Lofts

Much like its coastal counterparts in New York City and Los Angeles, Houston boasts an impressive number of loft options. In fact, there are more historical lofts, both residential and…

Much like its coastal counterparts in New York City and Los Angeles, Houston boasts an impressive number of loft options. In fact, there are more historical lofts, both residential and commercial, in Houston than any other city in Texas. Combining a rich history (including the Great Depression and both world wars) with the modern practicality of today, loft spaces have become increasingly popular.

In 1910, the Bayou Lofts was the headquarters for the Southern Pacific Railroad, where major decisions regarding transportation across the country were made. However in 1997, the building was heavily remodeled into over 100 lofts with high ceilings, brick exteriors, and original hardwood floors. It even features a rooftop swimming pool for its residents.

Bayou Lofts

Another converted loft building in the historic downtown of Houston are the Franklin Lofts. When first built in 1904, it housed the First National Bank and was considered the first skyscraper west of the Mississippi at a whopping eight stories tall. Although the interior has been completely renovated and upgraded with new electrical and plumbing systems, 11-18 foot ceilings, and stainless steel appliances, the exterior of the building has remained remarkably true to its origins.

Other notable converted lofts include City View Lofts, a former cookie factory originally constructed in 1910 for Nabisco;  Post Rice Lofts, a renovation of the historic Rice Hotel with 100-year-old maple hardwood floors; and Hermann Lofts, one of the first loft conversion projects in Houston that also once doubled as headquarters for the Salvation Army. Hermann Lofts is also on the National Register of Historic Places.

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San Francisco Lofts

Even before earning its reputation as a leading tech hub and one of the most expensive places to live in America, live/work lofts were in high demand. In 1853, a…

Even before earning its reputation as a leading tech hub and one of the most expensive places to live in America, live/work lofts were in high demand. In 1853, a four-story center called the Montgomery Block was primarily rented by artists and writers for cheap. For nearly 100 years, this block-long warehouse became a mecca for creative-types, before it was demolished in 1959. The decades that followed saw many artists seeking out alternative living spaces, including old warehouses and factories, with many squatting or otherwise inhabiting the space illegally. As the city grew, most of these artistic types found themselves with eviction notices when the buildings changed ownership with plans for construction. Even the buildings that were officially designed as live/work spaces for artists were eventually phased out by the tech boom. Today, lofted spaces are heavily occupied by those in the tech or startup world.

The Pacific Mail Steamship Company built the Oriental Warehouse in 1867, the first firm to offer mail, passenger and trader service between the United States and the Orient. In 1996, it was converted into a 66-unit loft building. Many include original exposed wood beams, 20-foot ceilings and plenty of natural light. It is located in the South Beach neighborhood of San Francisco, a block away from the Embarcadero Waterfront, within walking distance to the Financial District, Ferry Building, and AT&T Park.

Oriental Warehouse Lofts at 650 Delancey

Built in 1907 for a printing firm, the Clock Tower is also located in the South Beach neighborhood and boasts 127 live/work lofts. It is considered a historical landmark and even has a unit inside the actual clock tower. The heavily remodeled building includes materials such as clock timber, masonry, and concrete, as well as extensive landscaping that includes a courtyard with palm trees and a rooftop deck with city views.

Clock Tower

Another historic property built in 1916 known as the Heublein Building has been unofficially credited as the first loft conversion in the city, undergoing its renovations in 1989. Located in the SOMA neighborhood, units feature original industrial windows and exposed concrete.

Heublein Building

Originally constructed in 1857 and considered one of the city’s oldest buildings, the Harbor Lofts (originally known as the Hathaway Warehouse) was converted to 46 live/work loft units in 1996. Unit sizes are as small as 650 square feet, or as large as 1700 square feet.

Harbor Lofts

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Seattle Lofts

Most recently, the city of Seattle has built the reputation of a tech mecca, home to Amazon, as well as a slew of startups. However, it is also a city…

Most recently, the city of Seattle has built the reputation of a tech mecca, home to Amazon, as well as a slew of startups. However, it is also a city rich in culture, music, and the arts. As with most major cities, artists were designated to industrial lofts, as the spaces were relatively cheaper than other housing options. In more recent years, lofts and other industrial-styled spaces have become very popular for both living and work.

In this rapidly growing city, new and modern loft-style apartments have been built in neighborhoods such as South Lake Union and Capitol Hill. However, there are true artist lofts that still remain today that have undoubtedly inspired others to sprout around the city. There are two main districts that are well-known for their “original” artist lofts; SoDo and Pioneer Square. Once known for their large industrial spaces, many of these older buildings have been converted to be used as live/work lofts.

The area of SoDo was originally an abbreviation of South of (King) Dome. When the dome was demolished in 2000, SoDo became known as an abbreviation of South of Downtown. The name is also intended to reflect SoHo in New York as both cities have a similar history and demographics and have experienced the same effects on the property market from regulations regarding live/work spaces. In both cases, artists have flocked to these areas of the cities in the 1970s to live in abandoned loft spaces of warehouses and factories. More recently however, many buildings were converted into art galleries, restaurants or shops.

Pioneer Square also became a popular area for artists during the 1970s for very similar reasons. It was considered a cheap place to live and there was good availability of unused warehouses and retired factories. The style of the buildings were perfect as the buildings have rooms that boast high ceilings and tall windows. Some of the most notable buildings in this area now are Tashiro Kaplan Artist’s Lofts and the Bemis Building, both of which are now finished in a contemporary style with luxury fittings.

Tashiro Kaplan Building

Many of the artist lofts and studios in Pioneer Square have been renovated to the highest standard and now provide luxury living accommodations, as well as work spaces. While the original accommodations were inexpensive and attracted artists on a low income, these properties now appeal to the higher end of the market as they have risen significantly in value and appeal.

A prime example of a Seattle loft is at The Lofts on 3rd Avenue which was built in 1909. It is possible to buy a loft measuring 1,870 square feet for just under $700,000. The interior features bespoke fittings and exposed brick, giving it the true feel of living in an industrial space. Amenities include elevators and a rooftop deck that provides panoramic urban views.

The Lofts on 3rd

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Washington DC Lofts

As America’s sixth largest metropolitan area, Washington D.C. attracts a demographic more diverse than just politicians. Although there is a large political presence, Washington D.C. also provides a deep cultural…

As America’s sixth largest metropolitan area, Washington D.C. attracts a demographic more diverse than just politicians. Although there is a large political presence, Washington D.C. also provides a deep cultural and historical aspect that is prevalent in its streets, buildings, and atmosphere. In fact, many loft conversions in the D.C. area are considered historical landmarks, and includes former warehouses, factories, military land, and schools.

One such conversion is the Foundry Lofts.  Recycled from a historic Navy Yard industrial building, the Foundry Lofts offer 170 loft-style apartments, including 33 two-level units. They are located in a highly coveted neighborhood known as the Yards, convenient to metro entrances, restaurants and other retail. Most units feature hardwood floors, exposed brick and concrete, industrial light fixtures, 14-foot ceilings, expansive industrial windows, and communal spaces including a lounge, fitness center, and a courtyard.

Foundry Lofts

There is also a surplus of closed schoolhouses in Washington D.C. Many of these buildings are vacant or considered condemned due to heavy deterioration. However, over 25 schools have been converted into living units or other usable spaces such as community centers.

Built in 1885, the Wormley School,  was a school for African American children until it closed in 1952. Georgetown University purchased the school in 1998, where it sat vacant until 7 years later when it was sold to a developer. There are 13 unique condos at what is now known as the Wormley Row Condos. It features the original brick facade, while the interior consists of luxury modern furnishings including recessed lighting, high ceilings, custom cabinetry, and an underground parking garage.

Wormley School

Other notable schoolhouse-to-loft conversions include the Edmonds School, originally built in 1903, with 24 units on a street of other historic row houses. Another is the Berret School Lofts, named after the James G. Berret School, which was built in 1889 and previously used as a methadone clinic and homeless shelter. These former classrooms, with their classic architecture and upgraded modern conveniences, have become highly coveted real estate for homebuyers.

In neighboring Alexandria, VA, a factory originally built in 1847 has been given new life as a loft conversion. It has been home to the Mount Vernon Cotton Factory, the Robert Portner Brewing Company, storage for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Express Spark Plug Company of America, and headquarters for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. The Mill now offers 1-2 bedroom apartments with modern upgrades in an impressively preserved industrial property.

The Mill

As home to America’s politics and government, many historical buildings in Washington D.C. have at one time housed famous tenants. 2029 Connecticut, built in 1916 before undergoing major renovations offers only 26 units and was once home to President William Howard Taft. Down the street is 2101 Connecticut, built in 1928, which offers some of the largest units, including a 4-bedroom condo.

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