Most Innovative Use of Building Square Footage: e-lofts

by Nena Perry-Brown

UrbanTurf usually stays away from publishing rankings or lists…except at the end of the year when we look back at what DC’s residential real estate scene had to offer during the previous 12 months. So, this week we are looking at not only the best but the most intriguing and peculiar things that came across our radar over the course of 2016. Enjoy.

Most Innovative Use of Building Square Footage: e-lofts: Figure 1
An exterior rendering of e-lofts Alexandria

This year has, in many ways, seen the peak of innovative approaches to housing, as co-working projects led to a spread of co-living projects and both the sale and creation of artists’ lofts and maker-spaces highlighted the growing need for affordable work-live space.

Now, DC-area developers Conrad Cafritz and Robert Seldin are taking the evolution of building usage a step further with their e-loft concept. The first occupants of Novus Residences, a retrofitted vacant office building at 4501 Ford Avenue (map) in Alexandria, will be able to rent units for either office or residential use. Move-ins started about a month ago.

Most Innovative Use of Building Square Footage: e-lofts: Figure 2
An e-loft layout arranged for live-in use.

The idea is that many people now work unorthodox schedules and would like access to a building that has plenty of amenities, is centrally-located yet car-friendly, and offers a modern space with minimal set-up required. The office building was carved into 200 light-filled lofts ranging from 635 to 1,249 square feet, with rents averaging $2.50 per square foot for a 12-month lease. Thus far, many of the residential tenants also telework during part of the week.

Any businesses who wish to rent a unit for office use are limited to no more than ten employees. As with any commercial property, the landlord has the right to approve the business before leasing a unit and Novus says there will be no uses that could impinge on others’ ability to enjoy their units

Most Innovative Use of Building Square Footage: e-lofts: Figure 3
An e-loft layout arranged for office use.

“Our floorplans and design from a live perspective are aimed at couples without kids and more established, older single people, as opposed to the fresh out of college, younger demographic,” explains Novus Executive Vice President Melanie Domres. “Our prospective customers have seen the advantages: fewer loud parties, fewer roommate situations with random overnight guests, smoothed out demand curve for amenities since the usage patterns [for offices and residents] are opposite, and most of all, the opportunity to meet others who are not just friends but networking opportunities with potential customers and vendors.”

The e-lofts development is working on 40 prospective leases for the new year; eventually, Novus hopes to open e-lofts in metropolitan areas nationwide, with plans including a total of 50-100 locations over the next decade.

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/most_innovative_use_of_building_square_footage_e-lofts/11971

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