What's the best way to find cool downtown lofts?
September 7, 2006 9:50 PM   Subscribe

What's the best way to find cool downtown lofts?

We recently moved to the Greater Denver, CO area and the lease on our apartment will be up in a few months. Once it's up we want to move out of our apartment and a bit closer to where my wife works (around Littleton, CO). We love Downtown Littleton and would love to be able to find a cool little loft there, but how do you even begin searching for something like that? I wouldn't think they'd be listed on something like Rent.com or anything.

So the ultimate question is how do you find those unique lofts in downtown areas? Not necessarily your mass-produced apartment buildings...more like the random places above little stores in downtown areas.
posted by JPigford to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You best bet is to just go to the neighborhood of interest and walk around looking for FOR RENT signs. That's how I found my apartment (although I do not live in Denver). If Denver has an alternaweekly paper a la The Village Voice or Creative Loafing, you could look there as well, but I think you'll have better luck with your feet. There's not a directory for the kind of apartment you want.
posted by Violet Hour at 10:18 PM on September 7, 2006

rent a car and drive there. spend an afternoon driving around the area. see where construction is going on. look for the signs and write down the contractors and architect names of projects you like.

the idea is this: someone in the industry probably has a better idea of what is going on than you do. find someone who doesn't mind talking to you and who is knowledgable. tell them you are looking to buy and if they help you out, you'll make it worth your time. talk to the guys on the construction site. single out the foreman. you will end up knowing about projects before anyone else does.

another good idea is to go to an open house loft and ask the realtor who did the renovation. tell them they might be of interest to you if you wanted to change the layout a bit.

I like talking to these people because they ideally have no stake in selling you one place or another. if you give someone a flat fee, they most likely will try to do you right so you'll come back some other day. there of course are exceptions.

let me know how it went, I am thinking about buying a loft myself, in a different place though.
posted by krautland at 10:20 PM on September 7, 2006

Just to clarify -- you're looking to rent, not buy, right?

Have you tried craigslist, the local alternative weekies and the local daily paper? Those are generally the best places for these things.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 10:41 PM on September 7, 2006

Lofts for rent can go quickly. Check the online classifieds (local papers, craigslist, etc) daily in the morning for new listings, call them first thing, and be available to check them out and fill out an application that day.
posted by Staggering Jack at 11:03 PM on September 7, 2006

If you live in a major city, http://www.housingmaps.com is a good site. It parses craigslist listings and displays them on a map, so you can easily sift through to find the right neighborhood.
posted by chrisamiller at 11:28 PM on September 7, 2006

Talk to the merchants in stores where you might be interested in renting above them and find out what's up there and who the landlord is. Then call or send a letter and tell them you are interested.
posted by Melsky at 5:54 AM on September 8, 2006

Definitely walk around and ask store owners just what it is that's above their business. That's your best bet. Also, when you get some phone numbers, keep calling. A lot.
posted by dead_ at 6:22 AM on September 8, 2006

Response by poster: For clarification, we're looking to rent...not buy.
posted by JPigford at 6:26 AM on September 8, 2006

I thought living above shops wasn't legal in the US anymore, generally, due to zoning laws. But by "lofts" aren't we discussing something else, that is, refurbished factory spaces?
posted by Rash at 9:05 AM on September 8, 2006

Rash- Maybe in some areas, but not everywhere. There are tons of apartments above shops in my city (including my own).
Although I wouldn't call my place a loft (in local parlance it's a flat, since it is the entire second floor of a building). I always thought of lofts as being open floor plans that are, like you said, renovated commercial space.
posted by Kellydamnit at 10:00 AM on September 8, 2006

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