Chicago’s loft market ain’t what it was in the late ’90s when nearly every new development seemed to be a loft, but these days the product is more intelligent and geared toward an educated buyer – or at least it sounds that way. Browse University Station, University Commons and University Crossing lofts, and you’ll feel smarter just for having visited their Web sites. College Lofts might feel a little cozier, less intimidating than your typical Big Ten loft project, though No. Ten Lofts, with its connotation of standardized tests and the race to completely fill in ovals, makes us nervous.
These projects want to tout their school connections – most are near UIC – and some are having luck with college students whose parents or trust funds are getting them into loft condos instead of dorms. Robert Bronstein, president of Scion Group, decided to focus on that market with projects such as the $75 million Loft-Right development, a monumental glass and steel apartment structure that takes up nearly a block of Fullerton along DePaul’s campus. He discusses the building’s features and loft-style apartments – and the benefits and challenges of marketing to college students – in the September issue of Chicago Magazine.