When Tandem Developers opened Union Lofts in Bridgeport, an ethnic working class neighborhood on the Near Southwest Side, the builder was taking a risk. Loft condominiums were all the rage in formerly industrial downtown pockets such as the West Loop and River North, but Bridgeport?
The most popular lofty neighborhoods at the time were full of art galleries and upscale restaurants, while Bridgeport was home to the packinghouses that supplied their meat. But Union Lofts sold out, and Tandem followed up with the successful Bridgeport Station Lofts next door. This project, despite the name, was not a true loft building, but new-construction condos with some loft-like elements.
DeGrazia Development Co. is following suit with its latest Bridgeport project, Morgan Street Lofts, 3531 S. Morgan St. Like Bridgeport Station Lofts, this is a new condo project with “loft-like” units. In other areas, “new-construction lofts” only sprouted after the stock of convertible industrial buildings began running low. The fact that Bridgeport seems to have skipped this step is perhaps a testament to the heat of the housing market there and the fact that the once insular community has become an option for homebuyers from other areas.
How lofty are the units at Morgan Street Lofts?
They include oak floors in living areas, exposed ductwork, track lighting and open floor plans with kitchen islands (per plan). They also have the sorts of finishes you’d expect in newly built condos: granite counters, 42-inch maple or oak cabinets, Moen faucets, high-speed Internet access and individual storage lockers. The building has a security system, a secured lobby with a mailroom, two elevators and bike storage.
The appeal of lofts in Bridgeport – new or old – can be seen in DeGrazia’s sales figures. More than half the 60 units at Morgan Street Lofts had been sold at press time. Competitive pricing in a neighborhood that has seen sharp appreciation, no doubt, has been a factor.
The condos have one or two bedrooms and 709 to 1,507 square feet, base priced from $200,900 to $266,900, according to Cindy Molitor, sales manager for New West Realty, the marketing agent for the project. Plans call for 58 indoor parking spaces priced at $24,000 each, while a limited number of outdoor spaces are being offered at $17,000 each.
Morgan Street Lofts was designed by Vari & Associates with a brick and prairie stone faÃ§ade. Around 3,300 square feet of commercial space is planned for the ground floor. Floors two through five have 11 units per floor, and five penthouses – all of them sold out – take up the top floor. Construction was underway at press time.
“We expect to top out the building next summer and start delivering condominiums by September of 2006,” said Anthony F. DeGrazia, of DeGrazia Development Co.
A sales center for Morgan Street Lofts, www.MorganStreetLofts.com, is open at 3800 S. Halsted St.