Live/Work Lofts versus Regular Condos

Back in the 90s, some clever developers working with the City came up with a way to build condos with higher density than would have otherwise been allowed, in locations previously not zoned for residential and with a different set of standards than regular condos required. They also used these rules to convert previously industrial buildings to residential use. These condos were called “Live/Work” or “Artist” Lofts. One of the notable differences can be ceiling height. But other than small physical differences, at this point in time there is no practical difference between a Live/Work loft and a regular condo except:
 
  • There is a technical requirement (that is not enforced and has never been enforced as far as I have heard) that at least one occupant have a business license. If you are buying one of these and want to make sure, google it and/or check with the City directly.
  • There is a possibility that one of your neighbors may use their business license to run some kind of a business or artistic concern. I have seen – not often – wine import businesses and art studios.
  • Historically – but not lately – some banks didn’t want to lend on Live/Work lofts. I have not found it is an issue in the last 10 years, but if you are contemplating buying one of these it is a good idea to check the records for recorded loans against the building to see who has lent recently.