Loft Construction projects


Instead of taking a summer break from Channel District loft activity because of road construction, developers are proceeding as planned.
Bill Ware has finalized design plans for his Ventana development.

The Place at Channelside is set to open its Discovery Center today. The Towers of Channelside has 250 reservations for its 260 planned units. Grand Central at Kennedy is offering a mixed- use, 370-unit condominium development, and plans to open a sales center at the end of June. And Victory Lofts plans to complete its 89 units by December.

Meanwhile, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plans to take down the Kennedy Boulevard viaduct in 30 days, spokeswoman Perry Dawn Brown said.

The viaduct, an eyesore in the middle of this booming residential growth, is being removed, Brown said, to make way for a landscaped, six-lane highway that will bring one- way traffic to and from Brandon.

The Meridian Street Gateway will mean the Channel District will become the grand entrance to downtown Tampa, developers say.

The stereotype of the loft dweller is an eccentric and somewhat reclusive artist in a vast warehouse attic littered with spilled paint and unfinished canvases. It’s easy to imagine Jackson Pollock or Robert Rauschenberg living in a loft. The contemporary reality is much different.

"I think that all across the country there is a movement to return to urban living," "In the old days, people didn’t buy; they rented space in a warehouse and created a place to work and live. They did it because it was the cheapest way. Re-creating that domain today is not cheap but it does offer a lot of people the environment they are looking for."

There are a number of loft projects, in various stages of construction, under way in the Tampa Bay area. Prices for loft units in developments such as lofts at the Meridian in Channeleside1 and McNulty Lofts in downtown St. Petersburg, range from to $800,000.

Contemporary lofts are being built in desirable urban locations and are equipped with high-end features. "The whole idea is a sort of juxtaposition of an interior that looks like a warehouse and high-end fixtures and finishes," Top-of-the-line plumbing fixtures, granite countertops, stainless-steel appliances, wood cabinets and tile bathroom floors are among the features that make contemporary lofts different from the converted warehouse spaces of the old days

"One of the things we’ve struggled with is, ‘What exactly is a loft?’ "It seems like there are two definitions. The strict definition would be a two-story structure vs. a flat, but the architectural definition of a loft is an open floor plan of either the one- or two-story variety."

High ceilings, polished concrete floors, cement-block walls and large windows are common features of lofts. One of the most obvious traits of a loft is the absence of interior walls. While the kitchen and bathrooms may be well defined, the remaining "rooms" are open to the owner’s interpretation.

"I would definitely say the wide-open spaces and the ability for people to use their imagination to create a custom environment is an attraction,"

"People are attracted to the freedom of being able to express how they want to live," "With the open floor plan, they have a lot of discretion and can choose how to define their space."

Even in a contemporary luxury loft, the tenant needs the artist’s touch. "The idea is to provide the buyer with a blank canvas to decorate in any way he or she sees fit, and to put up whatever walls they want, if any,"

In cities such as NewYork, Chicago, Atlanta, Dallas and Boston, lofts are common, both in the traditional converted-warehouse style and in specific new construction. While the concept is new in the Tampa Bay area, sales at Victory Lofts, The Meridian and McNulty lofts have been brisk.

that 60 percent of the 89 units at Victory Lofts were sold before ground was broken in September. And The Meridian’s units have pre-sold just as rapidly,

with 70 percent of the units under contract before the ground breaking.

"We thought it would be a younger crowd than it has been," "There are a lot of empty-nesters looking to downsize from the larger homes they are in. We also have a lot of young professionals buying the penthouses; people who work in downtown and want to be close to work to avoid traffic."

Other loft projects are in the preliminary and planning stages, so the trend of loft living in the downtown Tampa area is expected to grow

In addition to ybor lofts, and The Meridian also offers homes with an urban lifestyle as

One Bayshore, Lagomar at Andalucia, Franklin Street, the art Center Lofts, Regatta Beach Club, Parkland