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January 24, 2017

Hard VS Soft Lofts

    Almost any Center City condominium with a smattering of exposed brick may attempt to pass itself off as a loft. Often sought after as an expression of one’s own style, loft living has taken off in downtown Philadelphia. Lofts vary in look, layout, and location throughout Center City. Some loft condos impress mightily while others are cheap imitations of highly unique urban treasures hidden in pockets of Old City, Bella Vista, and The Loft District around 13th and Vine Streets.
   The best example of a hard loft in Center City might be The Old Shoe Factory at 314 N. 12th St. From an unadorned cavernous lobby area, up to the eighth floor via a converted oversize warehouse lift, the units are characterized by huge windows, exposed brick, minimalist kitchens and bedrooms that are open to the living area. Fantastic city views, high ceilings  and a few units with polished cement floors. Minimal at best, these condos truly tag at the definition of a live/work open space where room size is valued over room count.
A fair example of a soft loft might be BridgeView Place at 315 New St. in Old City. With the prerequisite high ceilings  and touches of exposed brick these condos have been compartmentalized to include bedrooms, walled off kitchen areas  and walk-in closets. Some units at BridgeView do indeed have a loft bed perched above the living space  but those units are few and far between. The conversion to condominiums in the mid 1980’s at 315 New St. is a good example of a reasonable living space with a bit of “lofty” flair.
   A Center City Philadelphia loft can come in a variety of sizes, styles, and locations throughout downtown. Some more true to their “lofty roots” than others and loft living of all proportions is gaining popularity among the empty-nester set moving into town from the suburbs and elsewhere. Many of the available loft condos today didn’t exist in the early 1990’s when the very first empty nester/baby boomer began trickling into Center City. And judging from the success of many loft and loft-like sales throughout the area, buyers are finding individuality can be expressed through the (loft) style in which they choose to live.

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