When the first lofts were legalized in 1961, it was because artists formed the Artists Tenants Association and threatened to go on strike, withholding their work from sale and exhibition, and withdrawing from the public life of the city. And they won!
So much has changed since then but loft living did preserve significant parts of the city that otherwise would surely have been demolished. Meanwhile, in Brooklyn, artists starting moving into Dumbo in the 1970s, the first residential luxury loft conversions started in the 1990s, and now it’s one of Brooklyn’s most expensive areas.
This 1895 soap factory at 50 Bridge Street, now part of the Dumbo Historic District, was designed by William Tubby, one of a handful of great late Victorian Brooklyn architects, who was known for his Romanesque Revival and Dutch Revival buildings and for significant parts of the Pratt Institute campus.
It was converted into condos in 2004 (and the condo association successfully sued the developer in 2012 over construction defects).
We see no blackout curtains or pot bellied stove for heat and hot water, but it is an authentic loft, with high ceilings and the distinctive open plan that became the model for all new construction and even brownstone renovations.
In true loft style, it’s a studio, with two alcoves for semi-privacy for bedrooms, office or storage. The minimalist-style kitchen has white cabinets, butcher block countertops, and a farmhouse sink. The bathroom, not shown, has been updated, according to the listing, with new fixtures and custom shelving.
The unit has East River and Manhattan skyline views from the Juliet balcony off the front alcove, according to the listing — if so, they are visible just beyond the Con Ed electrical substation two blocks away.
Moreover, the listing points out, the J-51 tax abatement for the building expires in 2019, belying the low $331 common charges and $370 tax, the latter of which could double — or more.
Marketed by Jon Miller and Kyle Sennish of Corcoran, the unit is asking $1.095 million. Is it the “incredibly sound investment” the listing claims?
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- Walkabout: William B. Tubby, Architect
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