Thursday, March 15, 2007

Loft Living in Downtown Augusta

Loft living in Augusta? Can it be done?

You bet! It's already underway...

First let's go over the basics:

Where did this all get started and what's all the buzz about?

Loft living began in the 19Th Century in Paris, France, those crazy Parisians. Artists of the day required large spaces to create their artwork and found refuge in abandoned warehouses. Let the "loft" lifestyle begin. It wasn't until the 20Th Century that it became a trend in the United States. Reclaimed warehouse and industrial spaces started being converted to living quarters in New York and Boston near shipping docks. The loft drive was on in the U.S.. Soon major cities across the country started seeing the "benefits" of inner city/urban living. Residents could now live, work and play in districts that were once neglected and run down. The loft movement started driving small scale economies in once blighted areas. Residents had living needs and soon retailers, restaurateurs, gallery owners and service sector businesses started springing up. Visionary investors began to reclaim and convert spaces that where once eye sores, turning districts 180 degrees in to profitable situations. All while re-building a sense of "community" and fighting against SUB-urban sprawl. Sound familiar? Live-Work-Play.

So what is a loft anyway?

Not everyone agrees on what exactly a loft is. Purists argue that that lofts only refer to factories or plants that have been converted into residences. Required accents in these homes include huge windows, beams or columns supporting 16-foot ceilings, and a maple or concrete floor. Newer developers believe that lofts refer to any apartments that fit the principles of loft design: open layouts, large windows, and unique finishes in an urban location.
Newer developers believe that lofts refer to any apartments that fit the principles of loft design: open layouts, large windows, and unique finishes in an urban location. These discrepancies have led to new terminology, such as new loft, fake loft, soft loft, loft-inspired, mezzanine suites, "true" lofts, and loft-influenced. Lofts are generally decorated in a minimalist style with high ceilings and soaring views of the city skyline.

The cities with the biggest percentage of downtown growth in the 1990s were Miami, Boston, Atlanta, Chattanooga, San Francisco, Chicago, and Seattle.

Many cities across the United States are reclaiming empty spaces and converting them in to modern loft living spaces. Here in Augusta we currently have just under 200 such spaces in the downtown district with over 300 more available for conversion. This is a great invitation to get involved! Live-Work-Play.

Who are these "loft dweller" people anyway?

Well, just about anyone that wants to be a part of their community. Loft dwellers look for conveniences. They yearn for the arts. They are active in their communities and like to meet new people. Modern loft dwellers are predominately people seeking cultural opportunities (performing arts, art events, community togetherness) near their place of residence. They have a minimalist home decorating lifestyle with contemporary fashion sense. Most are active in their community and very much part of the fabric that binds their district. Live-Work-Play.

In Augusta, the downtown district provides all of the ingredients to become a tremendous "loft" community. There are many cultural activities going on in the district with more planned. Restaurants and galleries are easily accessible, the night life is very strong, and you can get involved in just about any community effort. Live-Work-Play.

To get a taste of Loft Living in Downtown Augusta, attend the upcoming Loft Tour. The tour will take place the weekend of May 5. The event is sponsored by the Historic Preservation Committee and is a great way to check it out yourself.

Large space, minimalist decorating and connectivity to your community.


What a lifestyle.