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.
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.