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Top 10 Loft Buildings

Back in the 1960s, lofts were dusty and drafty places at the top of a very steep flight, or two, of wooden, dimly-lit stairs on some forsaken street off the grid in Lower Manhattan.  It was where old ladies and young girls sweated, churning out haberdashery, or shirts, or the like.  All that changed when some near starving artists decided to camp out and live and work in these dingy spaces that could accommodate large works of what some called art.  They were illegal, squatters, some with style.  Before long, of course, the city passed laws to make it legal if one was a certified artist to live and work in these spaces.  Galleries soon came to discover and exploit new artists and then the cafes and restaurants and collectors and boutiques to extract from the collectors left-over change.  Then, landlords realized that all this creativity was increasing property values, especially once someone noticed that the buildings looked pretty good when cleaned up and restored.  Thus was born SoHo, NoHo, NoLiTa, and TriBeCa, all of which are now the city’s hottest and most desirable neighborhoods for the young and affluent and hip and fashion-obsessed.  It’s pretty hard to find the artists anymore for all the programmers, bankers and 1 percenters who now roam these precincts.

#1 - Little Singer Building, 561 Broadway

Designed by Ernest Flagg in 1903 this startling red, green and very lacy loft building preceeded by five years his more famous Singer Building with its bulging top that was one of the world's most famous skyscrapers until it was demolished in 1967.

  • Three apartments currently for sale from $2,250,000 to $5,390,000

#2 - 21 Astor Place

This extremely handsome, Romanesque-revival building that was built in 1892 was converted to about 50 residential condominiums by The Elad Group in 2003.

#3 - The Powell Building, 105 Hudson Street

Designed by Carrere & Hastings in 1892, this 11-story building has 16 cooperative apartments and 24 offices and is one of the most impressive in TriBeCa.

  • Three apartments currently for sale from $450,000 to $9,900,000

#4 - Bleecker Tower, 644 Broadway

Designed by Stephen Decatur Hatch in 1891 for the Manhattan Savings Institution, this very handsome, turreted building was converted by Joseph Pell Lombardi in 1987 to 15 cooperative apartments.

  • One apartment for sale at $7,995,000

#5 - 140 Franklin Street

One of the best looking buildings in TriBeCa, this Romanesque Revival commercial building was erected 1897 and converted to 14 condominium apartments. 

  • One apartment for sale at $35,000,000

#6 - The Porter House, 66 Ninth Avenue

This modest-size but very intriguing project is one of the star attractions of West Chelsea with its rooftop addition with many randomly placed vertical lights.

  • One apartment for sale at $3,300,000

#7 - 565 Broadway

Built for Ball, Black & Co., in 1860 and expanded in 1883, this very elegant building anchors the prime  SoHo intersection of Broadway and Prince Street

#8 - The Loft, 30 Crosby Street

This mid-block, 5-story, modest former manufacturing building in SoHo was converted to 13 very luxurious condominium apartments in 2000.

#9 - The Greenwich Street Project, 497 Greenwich Street

A new, 11-story glass tower cascades with asymmetric curves over a six-story older structure and includes some nice, small white parapets.

  • Two apartments currently for sale from $3,000,000 to $3,250,000

#10 - The Hubert, 7 Hubert Street

A large and impressive new loft building that opened in 2003 and looks better than most conversions.

  • One apartment for sale at $9,500,000