Cool Downtown Northwest Lofts

by Nickolas Neely | Photo © Laure Joliet

As the exodus to the suburbs in the 90s reverses into an urban genesis, the search for city housing has become a high-stakes hunt. Many look for a way to enjoy the city and yet keep their individuality as a homeowner. Historic lofts can easily provide both. With these lofts, many of the buildings were not originally meant for residential purposes. During their renovations into apartments, the construction had to adapt to the original building, creating unique living spaces for each resident.

The Lofts at Joel in Spokane, WA

As with all long-standing buildings, the Joel Building holds an elaborate history of tenants and services. Originally built as the Boothe-McClintock-Electro-Kold Building, the Joel started as a warehouse for a nearby grocer. The construction finished in 1899 and cost $8,000 at the time, roughly $200,000 nowadays.

Since then, the building has hosted a coffee company, automobile agency, photography studio, furniture retailer and a variety of other business. Its storied past has earned it recognition as a Historical Place on city, state and federal levels.

With exposed brick walls and timber framing, the Lofts at Joel makes the transition from warehouse to townhouse gracefully. All 16 lofts come with stainless steel appliances and black granite countertops.

Because of its location on Post St. in downtown Spokane, as a Loft resident you can easily access a swath of activities. Three theaters sit within six blocks of your doorstep. Enjoy an evening performance at the Martin Woldson Theatre, catch a concert at the neighboring Bing Crosby Theater or Knitting Factory venue.

For dining, plenty of restaurants surround you, but you can also simply saunter downstairs to the ground floor, occupied by the exquisite Churchill’s Steakhouse.

Apartment sizes range from 864 to 1488 sq ft. For more information on the Lofts at Joel, go to theloftsatjoel.com. For more information on Spokane, go to visitspokane.com.

The Owyhee in Boise, ID

Only a few blocks away from the Idaho State Capitol Building, the Owyhee’s Main Street location gives residents instant access to the hub of Boise activity. More than 20 restaurants surround the Capitol Building, granting you a smörgåsbord of dinner choices every night.

The Owyhee opened its doors in 1910 as the Owyhee Plaza Hotel. The original golden stained glass dome that crowned the building now serves as an exhibit in the Idaho State Historical Museum. Its 2013 renovation changed the building’s business from guests to residents: containing 36 apartments and 60,000 sq. ft. of offices and retail spaces such as hair salons and bars.

Unlike many renovated historical sites, the Owyhee apartments do not come adorned with the commonly exposed brick walls and metro-rustic architecture. Instead the Owyhee living spaces feature new dark wooden floors, crisp white walls, and broad windows.
For more information on the Owyhee, go to theowyhee.com. To learn about visiting Boise, consult boise.org.

Belmont Dairy in Portland, OR

It shouldn’t require too much detective work to deduce the original owner of these city lofts. Once an old dairy facility, the Belmont Dairy apartments now offer luxury living near the heart of Portland.

Units range from affordable apartments with generous square footage to larger two-story units. The second floors have a single mezzanine bedroom overlooking the rest of the apartment. All lofts feature walk-in closets, 22 ft. ceilings with skylights and spacious kitchens.

The architecture of the Belmont Dairy apartments straddles the brick warehouses of Portland’s past and the modern-architecture characteristic of the city’s present. The apartments combine wide open rooms, large broad windows and high vaulted ceilings braced with thick industrial beams, a reminder of the building’s past.

The apartments sit only a few miles from downtown Portland. Within walking distance, you can stroll over to the Avalon Theatre, Hobnob Grille or the Zupan Market, which the apartments rest directly above.

For more information on Belmont Dairy, go to belmontdairy.com. To learn more about visiting Portland, go to travelportland.com.