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If you are buying a home in NYC, should you hire an agent or broker to represent you?
The quick answer is yes. – StreetEasy
The loft has become almost as big a part of New York culture as Broadway and The Statue of Liberty. But its beginning was a humble one. Back in the day, when artists were still “fighting the man” for respect, lofts were large, empty warehouse spaces, located in financially challenged areas of the city. They sat empty because the factory boom was beginning to wane, the money and jobs moved elsewhere. Meanwhile, starving artists throughout Manhattan were finding work scarce and property values getting higher. Without the means to pay higher rent, they found these abandoned warehouses both cheap and adaptable, with plenty of room for them to spread their wings. Of course, early loft-living was illegal, as the buildings were not zoned for residential use, but the building owners, faced with the same weak economy as everyone else, often looked the other way when met with paying customers.
One of the first areas to see an influx of artists was the once drab and dilapidated area that lay south of Houston Street and north of Canal Street, an area known as SoHo. Where the roads were barren and dotted with closed warehouses, the creative minds of local artists saw the wide open spaces and minimalist design as a chance to individualize and market themselves. The artists’ arrival effectively turned a previously foreboding area of large, looming buildings into a trendy neighborhood of small boutiques, shops, and fine restaurants.
Once SoHo saw the development of artist lofts, something strange happened. SoHo property values increased. While this was good for the economy of the area, it also pushed the low-income artists away from the area and into other, less expensive parts of town such as the Lower East Side and Hell’s Kitchen.
While all of this was happening, developers and owners began to realize that the artists had an idea here, with these “loft” apartments. They renovated their properties to reflect the new ideal, except they catered to a higher tier of residents. They retained the lofts’ high ceilings and huge industrial windows while adding more amenities and expensive décor.
When creative types moved into old warehouses and turned them into unique, expansive homes full of personality, they started a new trend in New York City living. Early lofts were drafty and often less than perfectly suited for human occupancy. Lighting was substandard, pipes leaky and wood or concrete floors gouged or stained. But the loft had seemingly unending space, with no internal walls dividing the expense. Now, the trend of loft living has expanded across Manhattan. As a result of this, developers have worked to envision a more modern idea of the loft. Newer lofts still focus on space and lighting, but now they utilize more fashionable materials, such as hardwood floors and custom-designed kitchens and bathrooms. Modern loft developments have also added community perks, such as fitness centers, landscaped terraces, and barbeque areas. No longer are lofts just for artists; all manner of people, from writers to actors to stock market analysts, call Manhattan lofts home.