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Loft trends in urban housing

by thiryj

The soaring ceilings, exposed brick and open beams in Lancaster’s new Liberty North building are trademarks of loft-style apartments appearing throughout the midstate.

Lancaster-based Drogaris Cos. developed the Swisher building, a $7.9 million renovation at 425 N. Prince St., Lancaster, with 24 upscale apartments completed in 2009. The facility formerly was the Bloch Bros. tobacco warehouse. Photo/Submitted

Liberty North, being developed by Lancaster-based Drogaris Cos., is the latest rejuvenation of an old warehouse or factory into loft apartments. The $9 million project renovated 66,000 square feet at 1060 N. Charlotte St. in Lancaster. The building has 21 apartments with 14 more slated to be built, President Ed Drogaris said. Average rent is between $900 and $1,800, he said.

The apartments already are filling with tenants, he said.

The market for loft apartments is huge, said Bill Swartz III, president of York-based Sherman Property Management Inc., developer of loft apartment building Codo 241 in downtown York. “We haven’t even begun to fill that demand,” he said.

The company undertook the $12 million Codo 241 project after conducting a market study and focus groups that confirmed the demand, he said. Codo 241 opened in 2009 with 69,500 square feet of loft apartments and commercial space in the former York Auto Parts building at 241 N. George St. The living units filled faster than expected, Swartz said.

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