Charleston Developing Market for Loft Living


By Kathleen Dayton – Charleston Regional Business Journal

A new contender in residential architecture is popping up on city streets, laying claim to new construction and renovation projects.

Loft living in the Lowcountry might still be new, but it has made friends quickly with developers and homebuyers looking for something with an urban edge in a historic setting.

“A loft is more than a space,” said Kristopher King, a project manager with Wecco of Charleston, a developer specializing in mixed-use projects. “You’re selling aesthetic, you’re selling a lifestyle. They’re sort of edgy. They’re urban.”

They also can be less expensive than traditional construction. A typical loft space is open with few walls or doors, a simple stained concrete floor and exposed ductwork in the ceilings. They lack the pricey millwork, framing, doors and other features that can drive up construction costs.

Wecco is building a 57-unit loft complex with a commercial component on the ground floor off upper Meeting Street on Cool Blow Street in Charleston. The project, called One Cool Blow, has presold all but 10 units, with prices ranging from $240,000 for a 785-square-foot unit to $340,000 for a 1,125-square-foot-unit. Fifteen percent of the project is designated as work force housing, which will sell to eligible applicants for $179,000.

“The project is urban and has very flexible floor plans,” King said. “I think that’s what separates the loft from traditional construction. It’s a more efficient space.”

Another new construction project has brought big-city style to the city’s hospital district. The Bee Street Lofts development off Lockwood Drive near the Ashley River bridges is attracting young professionals and medical students.

The loft concept has migrated from urban areas, where the spaces often were carved out of old warehouses in low-rent neighborhoods, providing living and studio space for artists, students and others living on a budget.

“I think it’s a great use, and they attract the younger, more vital crowd. I think that’s always good to have that in the city,” said Eddie Bello, director of the city’s Architecture and Preservation division. “They allow a higher density. A lot of times they can allow for houses to be a little more affordable.”


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