Monday, February 16, 2009

T Lofts

You can drive past the T Lofts project location hundreds of times and never really notice it. The back side runs along Exposition Boulevard, right at the junction of Pico, Gateway and Exposition, and extends back to Tennessee Avenue. It is still under construction and fenced off, but the basic structure is visible, and there is a now a large banner advertising the lofts that is visible from Pico. 

Billed as "eco-lofts," the complex consists of approximately 84 units that vary in size from 933 to 2,050 square feet. I would label the units as "partial lofts." They lack the usual components of the urban loft, such as soaring ceilings and generous square footage, and are new construction, not adaptive reuse of an existing building. However, they offer other unique features, such as "green" design and flexible floor plans to allow for a combination of live/work activities.

As for the green features, they are listed here and are certainly to be commended.  I also wanted to highlight what I liked best about T Lofts:
  • No open spaces were killed in the construction of T Lofts.  Urban sprawl is ugly, wasteful and unnecessary. 
  • The units are reasonably sized and well designed, showing that a normal sized family doesn't need a McMansion to live comfortably. 
  • The units feature energy efficient appliances, low VOC paint and clean, modern design.
  • The location is walking distance to shopping, restaurants and entertainment, something that most new housing developments lack.
There are six different floor plans available, offering a range of configurations and sizes. Plan 1 is a straightforward one bedroom/one bath. Plans 2, 4 and 6 are also straightforward and I think they work quite well, offering up to 3 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. I find plan 3 a bit odd. It is the only plan that is specifically designed to be a clear work/live unit.  It offers a first floor that consists of an office space, a half bath with a toilet and sink, and a washer/dryer. The upstairs is devoted to the living quarters, consisting of one bedroom, one full bathroom and a kitchen, dining and living room.  I find it odd that the washer/dryer is relegated to the office space downstairs, and I also think not having the option of a living area on the first floor really limits the unit's resale value. If they had just put a full bath downstairs you could at least have the option of building out a bedroom in the future.  

That said, I want to be positive about the T Lofts. They are an interesting and ambitious project that embodies many eco-friendly elements. The builders are to be commended for their adaptive reuse of a site most would consider risky for a high-end residential project. They do face some challenges besides the obvious sad state of the economy. Although within walking distance of the trendy Sawtelle area and the Westside Pavilion, they are also a stone's throw from the Fantasy Island gentleman's club on Pico and flanked by self storage structures on Tennessee.  You can still find a single family detached home in the same area for $600,000- $1,000,000, which is what the lofts will be offered at. However, I don't want to be too pessimistic, and if I were in the market for a home I would certainly be tempted by T Loft's design features, floor plans, "green" practices and location. 

You can get more information at the T Loft Sales Center, located on Olympic Boulevard three blocks West of Sawtelle.  

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