Tag: artist loft

Artist Lofts in Los Angeles

Artist lofts in Los Angeles, California, were once the dwellings of struggling artists who had taken residence in old industrial buildings as they couldn’t afford rent in conventional apartments. In…

Artist lofts in Los Angeles, California, were once the dwellings of struggling artists who had taken residence in old industrial buildings as they couldn’t afford rent in conventional apartments. In downtown Los Angeles, the Arts District has historically housed struggling artists. This area was once covered in vineyards before the industrial boom at the turn of the 20th century, when many industrial buildings were built. During the 1970s, artists began to use the unused industrial buildings for housing after being priced out of more established neighborhoods such as Hollywood or Venice.

One of the most famous structures in the Arts District is the James K. Hill and Sons Pickle Works Building, which was built in 1888 and was once the residence of artist Carlton Davis. Davis used the space to create a rogue gallery called the Art Dock to display his works and the work of many other artists between 1981 and 1985.

Today, loft spaces in downtown Los Angeles are highly sought after and developers have been scrambling to create unique apartments within any available industrial and historical buildings. Lawrence Scarpa, famous architect who is best known for converting unused industrial spaces into contemporary loft apartments using unusual materials, is a modern example of this growing trend.

Fuller Lofts, a converted building dating back to 1921.

While downtown Los Angeles remains a popular area for creatives and entrepreneurs, it is not the only designated area for loft-style buildings. One of the most popular is Little Tokyo and there are many traditional artist lofts for rent or for sale in this area. Little Tokyo is the neighboring district of Downtown, and as such, it was a natural progression of artists to spread. In fact, many people consider Little Tokyo to be part of the Arts District of Los Angeles. Residents of this area took over the disused industrial buildings and completely transformed them into stunning living and work spaces. The lower levels of the buildings were generally converted into shops and restaurants.

Little Tokyo

Other famous loft buildings include the Brewery Art Colony. Covering 16 acres and 21 former warehouses, the Brewery Art Colony is the largest live-and-work artist’s colony anywhere in the world. The warehouses are split into living lofts, work studios, galleries, and restaurants.

The complex was originally the Edison Electric Steam Power Plant and was built between 1894 and 1903. An interesting architectural feature is the chimney. It later became a Pabst Blue Brewery before being converted into artist’s lofts in 1982.

The Brewery Art Colony

Yet another example of an artist loft in Los Angeles is one at ‘Biscuit Company Lofts’ on Industrial Street. Available to purchase for just under $1.8 million, this artist loft measures 1,670 square feet and has one bedroom and 2 bathrooms. The interior is finished to a luxurious standard and makes the most of the light from the large windows that are typical of artist lofts. Amenities available to residents include controlled entry with a security guard, a swimming pool, outdoor entertaining space, a two-level gym and a concierge service.

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Artist Lofts in New York

Once upon a time, there were areas of New York City, such as SoHo, that were once considered undesirable. Over the last four decades, property values and demand have skyrocketed….

Once upon a time, there were areas of New York City, such as SoHo, that were once considered undesirable. Over the last four decades, property values and demand have skyrocketed. In the 1970s, lofts were used primarily by poor and struggling artists who could not afford a separate space to work and live. Inevitably though, these properties became highly valuable and coveted.

Former work/live lofts of Donald Judd on 101 Spring Street:

Former work/live lofts of Donald Judd on 101 Spring Street:

There were growing concerns that the city’s planning commission would demolish and replace the older buildings with high-rise apartments. Real estate developers were highly interested in the SoHo area in particular, for not only their location, but because during the time, the properties could be bought for relatively cheap. When the area began to grow, with numerous boutiques and galleries opening in the area, the pressure to develop the large and cheap lofts became further appealing for developers.

In 1982, the New York state legislature established the Loft Law, which was intended to enforce landlords to bring illegal living spaces up to code and standards. Unfortunately, the new law had devastating consequences. Many landlords simply evicted their illegal tenants, while others dramatically increased rent to exorbitant rates to help cover renovation costs. Most artists would be essentially forced out by rents they could no longer afford.

Artists were then forced to look elsewhere for affordable accommodations for living and work, such as Tribeca and NoHo. Many factories in these area had shut down and the industrial spaces with high ceilings were ideal places for artists. However, it wasn’t long before artists were priced out of these areas as well by development and increasing rent prices. In fact, many current lofts in Tribeca are now considered luxury apartments, a far cry from its humbler beginnings.

Artists chose NoHo for many of the same reasons, as it was cheap to live and there were industrial buildings with large interior spaces. Many famous artists lived in the NoHo neighborhood at this time, including Jean Michel Basquait. This New York-born artist created some of his best pieces in his loft on Great Jones Street in NoHo. It was also there that he died from a heroin overdose in 1988 at the age of just 27. It is now privately owned but is available to rent.

While once inhabited by the poor, that is is no longer the case. Thanks to their desirable aesthetics of high ceilings, big windows, natural light, and industrial appearance, in addition to prime locations in the city, lofts have become the quintessential city abodes for those who can afford them. A great example are these former artists’ lofts that are along Leonard Street in the TriBeCa neighborhood. At the top-end of the market is an apartment for sale for just short of $5,00,000 that offers 1,668 square feet of open-plan living, and a bespoke interior that retains many of the original features of the building. The apartment has its own sun terrace and many other amenities available within the building. These include a pool, a screening room, a sundeck, a library, storage for bicycles and a playroom.

Sources

[1] https://www.cityrealty.com/nyc/market-insight/features/trending-in-ny/nyc-artists-lofts-before-after-loft-law/4621
[2] https://www.duanestreethotel.com/blog/history-of-tribeca/

 

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