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Beth Erickson Sand Denver Real Estate Agent

News > LoDo has a Great Collection of Historic Lofts - Here's One Reason Why

Denver has one of the largest concentrations of historic lofts in the west. These renovated, early 20th century buildings are extremely popular and some of the most unique residences, thanks in part to the vision and hard work of urban development specialist, Dana Crawford. Her thumbprint on downtown Denver and the Platte River Valley can be seen from Larimer Square to the award-winning "new construction" of the Jack Kerouac Lofts.

Mrs. Crawford got involved in urban renewal back in the 60s, when there was a movement taking place across the country to demolish deteriorating old structures in downtown areas. Inspired by the idea to preserve history rather destroy it, Crawford convinced a group of investors to save a block of downtown Denver - which would almost certainly have been destroyed. This was a time when few women were interested in or accepted in the real estate development industry.

Crawford's approach was to hold community meetings to find common ground among the neighborhood residences - to pool shared values and build on them rather than imposing an outsider's design and usage concepts. She also inspired confidence with the idea of creating authentic places and establishing public events that attract people to congregate and connect with each other. Crawford calls this "place making" - which defines urban lifestyles and activities. As a result, she gained wide support for preserving old downtown buildings and finding the highest and best use for them.

After the successful redevelopment of the 1400 block of Larimer Street (now affectionately known as Larimer Square), Crawford and Charles Callaway renovated the historic Oxford Hotel. This renovation project effectively extended the revitalization of downtown Denver to the LoDo Union Station hub, which is now so prized and popular with Denverites.

Inspired by the redevelopment of SoHo in New York City, Crawford then began working to convert abandoned Denver warehouses, factories and mills into historic Denver lofts. In 1990, the renovated Edbrooke warehouse (which was built in 1905) became the Edbrooke Lofts. This six-story brick Neoclassical building was the first LoDo loft project and offers some of Denver's largest lofts. They range from 1,600 to 4,000 square feet. Residents enjoy exposed beams, high ceilings, brick interior walls and hardwood floors. Some of the top floor units have private roof decks.

Crawford completed the renovation of the Acme Lofts in 1992. This red brick and timber mid-rise was built in 1909 and was home to the Brecht Candy Company. In the 60s, it was occupied by Acme Upholstery - a fabric factory that also produced mattress ticking and foam cushioning. This historic Denver loft community has heavy timber beams, hardwood floors, interior brick walls and some fireplaces.

The Flour Mill Lofts is another historic Denver loft community that came about thanks to Dana Crawford. This concrete building was built in 1920 and served as a flour mill for forty years. After being abandoned for 30 years, this impressive structure was renovated and reopened as a community of 47 luxury lofts in 1998. Features include massive, low-emission glass windows, hardwood floors 12-16 foot ceilings and secure access parking from the garage.

Certainly, LoDo wouldn't be the same without Dana Crawford's influence. Her work has earned her a seat on the boards of the Denver Partnership, The Urban Land Institute, The National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Project for Public Spaces. In the 2000's Crawford's company created the Jack Kerouac lofts, a classic new version of the historic loft design she sought to preserve. These modern low-rise lofts range from 700 to 1,800 square feet and feature high ceilings, hardwood floors and exterior walls of mullioned windows.

Whether it's new or old lofts, you'll find the full collection on our Denver Lofts page.


Though not guaranteed, information and statistics in this article have been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.

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Information Deemed Reliable But Not Guaranteed. The information being provided is for consumer's personal, non-commercial use and may not be used for any purpose other than to identify prospective properties consumers may be interested in purchasing. This information, including square footage, while not guaranteed, has been acquired from sources believed to be reliable.

Last Updated: 2023-10-01 04:27:17