Modern-day lifestyle arrangements, like living and working spaces, get an upgrade with Alexandria’s new e-lofts.
Today’s workforce is not looking to sit in hourslong traffic jams and uninviting, cramped working quarters. And today’s renters are not looking to pay skyrocketing rates for run-of-the-mill rooms. Both are looking for stylish accommodations with high-end amenities and open spaces. E-lofts, a new dual residential and commercial building managed by The Bozzuto Group, is changing the game when it comes to the way people in the area live and work by having renovated an old office building along Ford Avenue in Alexandria into a space where one can live, work or do both, all in the on-trend style of open-spaced lofts with high ceilings, walls of windows and large communal spaces.
The concept behind e-lofts is that a person can either lease a loft, one or two bedrooms that range from 632 to 1,200 square feet, to live in, to use as an office space or for both purposes. And this is possible because the zoning the building falls under is residential and commercial. This also means that if you lease the space as a dual live/work space you can potentially write off up to 49.9 percent of the costs, though you need to discuss specifics with a financial expert. Monthly rentals range from $1,890-$2,760.
“This is a revolutionary new idea,” says Meredith Coules, regional manager with Buzzuto. “There is definitely a possibility for this continue with the movement from your traditional office space and how people are teleworking. Office buildings themselves are becoming obsolete so we are taking care of two things: the people who are working from home, and the office buildings. With that mindset, there is a way for this to be the wave of the future.”
In Northern Virginia there is an office vacancy rate of 18 percent, according to Colliers International’s research market report for the third quarter of 2017. And in Washington, D.C., the vacancy rate sits at 11.8 percent.
“Because of this new shift of technology and not needing the office building, someone has got to do something with these buildings,” says William Loving, e-loft property manager.
Trending toward a 70 percent occupancy since the first resident moved in in December of 2016, e-lofts has a mix of renters using the spaces for all of the above purposes with the majority of the lofts doing a combo live/work space. Current occupants are those using the spaces for video, photography and makeup studios, marketing firms, law offices and one is a candlemaker whose products can be purchased at West Elm.
“It’s a great mix of people,” says Loving. “We consider ourselves an incubator for startups.”
So what does an e-loft lease agreement come with that will help bridge the gap between the wants and needs of both renters and businesses?
The main level of the building is the lobby and communal space that is made up of four conference rooms with TV and Sonos sound bars that range in size; media rooms; open spaces for working and collaboration outfitted with coloring books, puzzles, Rubik’s cubes and more to get the creative juices flowing; a writing wall; and a high-end communal kitchen. There is a professional-grade fitness center and sound-proof rooms, and since the building is pet-friendly, there is also a pet spa. The 30,000-square foot outdoor space includes outdoor movie theater, loungers, hammocks, pingpong tables, grills and more. Plus, the building hosts happy hours and resident events each month, and the communal space can also be reserved, at no cost, by leasees.
The apartments themselves are spaces filled with light and arranged to easily adjust to the renters’ needs. Pocket doors allow for the rooms to seamlessly flow into one another, or set apart for privacy. And the 10-foot ceilings, exposed duct work and high-end finishes like the European-style kitchens with stainless-steel appliances give a nod to the modern aesthetic almost everyone today craves. Luxury bathrooms are in every unit, as are full-size stackable washer and dryers, walk-in closets and data ports every 12 feet throughout the apartment. And, the entire building is Wired certified, meaning “the infrastructure for internet capability is higher than anywhere else in the country,” says Loving, adding that there are only 900 buildings in the nation with the certification.
“The lofts were designed for a specific need that weren’t being found in the marketplace, says Loving. “That need is a large, one-bedroom. Not a one bedroom with den that has a small little room with no windows. We wanted to give you one-bedrooms that are the size of two bedrooms. We’re attracting those people who are looking for an open space, something fresh and something different.”