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I have worked in the downtown district of St. Louis, MO for over 20 years and have watched all the old multi-story buildings slowly become vacant and run down. However, for approximately the last 5 years, investors have been bringing these same buildings back to life. Renovation of these buildings into lofts and condominiums is happening on almost every street in the downtown area. Noise from machinery of all types can be heard from sunrise to sunset. And these lofts are selling, even with the ARM (Adjusted Rate Mortgage) loan scare of late.
Because I'm from a small town, when I think of a loft I'm reminded of a barn with an upper level area, usually accessed by a ladder, and used for storing items such as hay. According to Webster.com, a loft is one of the upper floors of a warehouse or business building especially when not partitioned. So what is the attraction of living in a loft? I decided to visit a couple of the real estate offices for several loft buildings near my place of employment to get more information on this trendy new way of living.
They all have brochures or pamphlets describing the loft dwellings. The first thing they promote is the space, http://slotoff.com/ lots and lots of space. Lighting, a secure building, and the romantic notion of living in a historic building are all things that help in selling a loft. Another appealing concept to the Loft Dweller is the combination of having work and entertainment accessibility within minutes of their home. In downtown St. Louis the Rams football and Cardinal's baseball stadiums are within walking distance, as well as many eating establishments, parks, casinos, and trendy nightclubs.
Some buildings offer rooftop pools and gardens. Shops and some café's are always on the lower floors with parking garages in the basement or in a building close by. Major businesses in the area are Anheuser Bush, A.G. Edwards, Laclede Gas, Southwestern Bell, hotels, state offices, and TV and radio stations, just to name a few. These lofts range in price from approximately $110,000 for a 1 bedroom up to and beyond $300,000 for a 3 plus bedroom.
All have some type of a monthly assessment cost to cover maintenance of common elements and insurance. Loft restrictions and requirements regarding pets, parking, and leasing are similar to those of condominiums. The purchaser has to do all the decorating and provide all the furniture, as new lofts come with nothing. Some do not even have kitchen or toilet fixtures. New furniture shops geared to loft living have become commonplace on the street of St. Louis.
These shops contain modern looking or futuristic appearing designs for sofas, lamps, bookcases, etc. This furniture is designed in a way to promote clean open spaces with little clutter. Loft Dwellers are easy to spot walking around the city. They are usually in very casual dress, are walking a dog, have a cup of Starbucks in one hand, and a cell phone in the other. The real estate agent told me that these lofts are being sold before development even begins.
Even the old Dillard's building and St. Louis Center are being renovated for loft and condominium living.