The Allure of Lofts

Are you a loft person?
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Photo by Kyle Fitts

The loft boasts an ethereal and sophisticated allure that defines the height of city living. When film crews scout locations, they don’t choose apartment 12B that looks like everyone else’s place.

While not every loft is the fantasy space of Tom Hanks’ Josh in Big, complete with a basketball court and trampoline in the living room, lofts exude elevated city living with expansive square footage in oft cramped downtown settings.

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Photo by Kyle Fitts

A film-worthy space is usually a loft, with soaring high ceilings, large windows and an expanse of space where much of the stylish and sophisticated entertainment happens.

Lofts are highly coveted by city-dwellers in search of open floor plans and lots of natural light.

Allix Cott from Architectural Digest notes that lofts “usually boast long, uninterrupted walls that offer the perfect backdrop for large artworks or designer furnishings.”

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Photo by Kyle Fitts

How do you know if a loft is right for you? “It’s all about design and how much it matters to you,” says Stan Kniss, the founder of Denver’s hot new real estate agency SLATE Real Estate Advisors.

“Loft people are different,” he says. “They care passionately about how a place lives, not just about the square footage and finishes.”

Lofts provide space for people to express themselves that just isn’t in a regular condo or townhome.

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“There is always going to be something bigger, cheaper or more efficient than a loft,” says Kniss. “That’s not what it’s about for loft people. Their home is an expression of who they are. Bigger walls create the space for expressive art, furniture becomes part of the design statement, not just filling up space.”

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Typically, lofts are in old industrial buildings in the downtown core. Denver has some stunning older lofts around LoDo.

Given the cool factor, why aren’t developers building more of them? Even in Denver’s popular neighborhoods with new projects frequently popping up, the number of new construction, loft-style homes on the market is small.

“It’s hard to make them work,” says Churchill Bunn of Alpine Investments who built the Upper Edge lofts on top of the Edge LoHi condominium project on Central Street in LoHi.

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“Height limitations on new developments have a huge impact,” says Bunn. “If you can only build to a certain number of feet up under the zoning, it’s pretty hard to make the case to do double height designs and only end up with half the number of homes. It just doesn’t pencil, no matter how cool they are.”

At the Upper Edge, the city’s zoning height restrictions also included a limitation on the number of parking spaces, meaning that although the building could be built up to 6 stories high, it could only have a limited number of homes.

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“We concluded that either we don’t build to the full height, or the top floor had to be double height,” says Bunn. “That was the rare occasion when building lofts made sense.”

With the supply of new lofts unlikely to change as Denver continues to develop, the city’s loft people are going to find it harder to land their own dream home, especially if they want something brand new.

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Photo by Kyle Fitts

The Upper Edge has a handful of one- and two-bedroom plans remaining, priced from $795,000+. Once they are gone, it could be a long wait until there are any others.

Upper Edge
1735 Central Street
Denver, Colorado

Categories: Interiors