Loft apartments in New York became popular though artists illegally making live-work spaces out of obsolete manufacturing buildings during the ’60s and ’70s. In 1982, NYC passed the Loft Law to protect tenants of these buildings and require landlords to bring the buildings up to code and acquire a Certificate Of Occupancy.
Since then many commercial and manufacturing buildings have been legally converted into Loft Apartments in NYC. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, there were a large number of vacant and obsolete manufacturing buildings in New York.
Additionally they were often in areas not zoned for residences, and they did not have a Certificate of Occupancy for residential use. This is a manufacturing zoning district that allows Joint Live Work For Artists.
Not all lofts today are Joint Live Work For Artists but in SoHo many are. Over the years lofts were legalized and now have a residential Certificates Of Occupancy and many have been converted to Condos. Lofts have a great history in NY and are now a coveted form of living often carrying very high price tags. Manhattan Tribeca SoHo NoHo The Bowery Union Square Chelsea Flatiron District Hell’s Kitchen aka Clinton Lofts often have high ceilings these can easily be over 12 feet tall depending on the building. The picture below is of a loft we worked on with high ceilings in Tribeca.
The picture below is of a loft apartment we are renovating for one of our clients in Soho. It has a cast iron column with a slightly decorative capital and large wood (heavy timber) beams. This picture is the living room of a Soho loft we are working on. In the picture below we added glass railings and sliding translucent partitions to the mezzanine in this Tribeca Loft Compared to residential buildings lofts may have very thick walls and floors. The residential code requires a live load of 40 pounds per square foot where one loft building we are working in can support a live load of 120 pounds per square foot.
Some lofts can have a few negative characteristics especially considering their origins in illegal conversions. Lofts are often very deep spaces this means you are limited when it comes to windows. This can result in lofts having a thrown together look and a layout that does not feel thought out. And the layout of a space should be decided from careful consideration and not thrown together. Joint Live Work Quarters for Artists Lofts If you want to learn more we have another blog post on Joint Live Work Quarters for Artists Lofts.
If the building was not originally a commercial or industrial use, then it is not a real NYC Loft. Thank you for reading our blog post on What is a Loft Apartment NYC.