Telegraph Lofts
Lampwork Lofts
Exchange Studios


901 Jefferson


Lofts first became popular among the artist population in New York City. It started with the colonization of under-utilized buildings in the industrial/derelict areas. Most of these units were illegal with respects to life safety and residential living.

When the trend of live/work space became clear, it attracted the attention of the real estate developers and planning departments. They saw that this type of living as a way to revitalize the inner cities by bringing back residents to the inner city.

In the 1980's more non-artists began to move into the lofts, which were use primarily as their residence and did not work out of them. These non-artist gentrified neighborhoods which attracted tourists and from the suburbs to the spawning of espresso bars, eateries and boutiques.

Most cities had loft districts by the mid 1990's, with the pattern starting with the artist, then the non-artist, and ending with the straight residential. This lifecycle has revitalized many inner cities. Loft style living is attractive to a variety of the population, i.e. self-employed individuals, small business owners, piece workers and telecommuters.



Madison Park Financial
Lake Merritt Tower
155 Grand Avenue
Suite 950
Oakland, California

P (510) 452-2944
F (510) 452-2973


The purchase, rehabilitation, and subsequent leasing of the Exchange Studios Building in Oakland, California, is an illustration of a targeted approach to developing live-work units for higher income tenants.

Purchased for $1,000,000 in November 1993, the Exchange Linen Service Building was a vacant 50,000 square foot warehouse located in an industrial area near the Oakland/Alameda waterfront in San Francisco's East Bay. Built in 1925, the building previously had been used as a commercial laundry facility.

By removing the center ceiling of the warehouse, a 9,000 square foot open-air atrium was created, around which two stories of live-work units face. This design achieves several purposes. It allows for safety and privacy, as well as creating a garden area in a neighborhood with little greenery.

The sound of running water from a fountain built in the center of the courtyard counteracts the noise from the neighboring industries. Benches are placed strategically throughout the courtyard. This access to an attractive common area has built a community, which has resulted in long-term tenants. Two smaller buildings on the parcel were removed to create parking.

The ceilings of the main building were sandblasted, revealing warm, natural wood beams. New dual-glazed windows were installed. But other than adding windows and paint, the exterior of the building was left unaltered.

The rental marketing strategy for the building's 39 units is based on the cubic square footage. A model unit was designed to give potential tenants ideas on how to utilize the space. The building achieved 95% occupancy within five months and it remains fully rented.

CIRE Magazine - November 1997 - Full Article