Chicago lofts – survival of the hottest

The average loft buyerWe knew that first-home buyers made up a large proportion of the loft market, but after checking out dozens of ads on Web sites for loft developments we’ve been able to draw a few more conclusions about the average buyer.

They are an impressive bunch, we have to say. At an average age of 21-25 they are home-owners. The women make the effort to dress up in skirts and heels just to hang out around the development and there seems to be a fair amount of “hooking-up” going on among neighbors. They probably drink more chardonnay than is good for them, but still manage to squeeze in a hell of a lot of Pilates workouts.

Some of the more homely loft buyers

There is nothing homely about this demographic, in fact it appears there’s some kind of by-law mandating that you must be hot to live in a loft.How not to ride a bike

Even developers of ultra-luxury highrises don’t go in for this much “lifestyle” marketing. Those in the business tell us that increasingly, as the stock of convertible old buildings shrinks in traditional loft neighborhoods like the South Loop and West Loop, developers are striking out for “up-and-coming” neighborhoods like the mostly blue-collar enclave of Avondale and the area south of Cermak Road.

But instead of selling entry-level buyers dirt-cheap units in transitional areas, some are hawking a lifestyle – kitting out their lofts with conference centers and party rooms (with assessments to match) – that has echoes of a modern-day Melrose Place. And they are charging comparable prices to loft developments in more established neighborhoods.There's no hotter place...

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