Lofts are perceived as cool, sexy, dramatic, fun spaces bristling with character and rich in visual appeal – and that’s why the term is used so loosely. Not everything that’s called a loft is a loft.
Strictly speaking, a loft is a large, open, flexible space in an older industrial, warehouse or office building that has been converted to residential use. Over time the term has been applied to smaller (often very small) spaces, and spaces in which the functional living areas are separated by walls, much like traditional apartments. Units designed in this manner are sometimes referred to as “soft lofts.”
The characteristics of a loft include open, flexible space, high ceilings, large windows, hardwood floors, exposed columns and beams, exposed piping, conduit and ductwork, and often exposed brick walls.
Most loft conversions in Chicago were sold as condos, and you can find lofts for rent in many condo buildings. Developers have also built new buildings that exhibit many of the features of lofts. In this guide, however, we list only buildings that were not originally built for residential use, and that are operated as rentals.
The following grid lists loft apartment buildings, links to their websites and near real-time rent and availability info (where available), and includes video tours of some of the buildings and apartments.