So What’s The Deal About Lofts?

The New York City loft is probably the most coveted living space in the world.   However, is it neither readily affordable nor easily attainable.

A loft is not truly a loft unless it’s had a prior life as a commercial space before being converted to an apartment. The hallmarks of classic lofts are big spaces (2,000+ square feet) with high ceilings, big windows and open kitchens.  Few have walls because the weight of the interior structure is supported by columns or exterior walls and most lofts have exposed mechanical systems like visible air conditioning ductwork and plumbing risers.

In 1982, the New York State Legislature established the New York City Loft Law to regulate the conversion of certain buildings that were constructed for commercial and manufacturing use to lawful residential use.

If you are serious about buying a commercial unit, take an architect with you. Even if a space is zoned for residential use, turning it into a home may not be possible if it doesn’t meet requirements for light, air, egress and ventilation in each room. Most conversions require construction changes to meet code. Some even require building-wide changes.

In a typical residential renovation, certain allowances can be made. For example, small bathrooms that are functional but not up to code can be grandfathered in. But when you amend a certificate of occupancy — in this case to residential from commercial — such allowances no longer apply. Moreover, even if you meet all the requirements for obtaining a certificate of occupancy and your new space is absolutely compliant with city code, you may not be able to inhabit it if the building itself has violations.

Since the loft look has become fashionable, developers now build many structures with classic loft features such as open layouts, high ceilings, big windows and open kitchens. Lofts account for only 10% of Manhattan sales so they can still be pricier or harder to find for buyers. 

There is a heavy concentration of lofts in Tribeca and Soho.  Chelsea and Flatiron districts have a better mix of prices and sizes, as well as a broader range of offerings, from units with no-expense-spared renovations to others that have barely been touched. 

Feast your eyes on some of these luxury lofts on the market

6 Cortlandt Alley

456 West 19th Street

The Sugar Building

130 Beekman Street

As always, if you are interested in previewing these luxurious lofts or seeking information on any other NYC properties, please drop me an email at



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