Best of: Live the Loft Life in These Historic Downtown Dallas Buildings, Part 1

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The Kirby Residences on Main are one of 11 historic downtown buildings where you can live the loft life in Dallas.
The Kirby Residences on Main are one of 11 historic downtown buildings where you can live the loft life in Dallas. Photo: Kirby Residences

This is the first installment in a two-part series looking at loft living in historic downtown Dallas buildings, originally published July 29. Part two will publish tomorrow. Be sure to check back!

The loft life never looked better than in downtown Dallas’ historic buildings. With 11 of them converted for residential living, residents have lots of options, in terms of amenities and location.

Part of the appeal of loft living is the flexible spaces, says Ashley D. Stanley, owner of Ashley’s Apartments, a long-time downtown loft dweller with her young son, and a go-to expert apartment locator for downtown Dallas apartment rentals.

“I love the open feel and I think most people do,” she said. “Some people might section off a little area of their loft for a sitting area, but the key is you have the creative freedom to walk into an open area and make it your own.”

Another reason people choose loft living? A sense of connection to the city.

“I love knowing the story behind my building — I live in the The Wilson, which is the oldest building being used as a multi-family place,” she said. “People have a sense of pride while living in a building that’s been around for 100-plus years and you feel a part of history. Also, you’ve got the options of exposed ductwork and brick walls. I’ve even got three kinds of flooring (wood, concrete, and marble). It’s the coolest thing to have such a unique place to live.”

All of these are rental properties, and we’ve given the approximate price-per-square foot*, as well as info about the building’s background and current options in the renovated spaces.

1. The Wilson BuildingHistoric Downtown Dallas Buildings

The Wilson Building originally housed the Titche-Goettinger Department Store in the basement and on the first two levels; the upper levels housed offices. The success of this department store convinced Dallas legend Neiman Marcus to build his flagship store across Main Street, forever changing the city’s retailing history. This 12-story building was completed in 1904, modeled after the Palais Garnier in Paris, France, and remodeled in 2008.

Today, the Wilson Building is home to 135 apartments renting for about $1.80 per square foot (rents change based on time of year and other factors). The building has a 24-hour fitness center, concierge services, rooftop deck with informal seating areas and misting fans, and access to the Mercantile Place pool deck and amenities nearby. Interior features include exposed ductwork and ceilings; walk-in closets; original doors, many with glass panels; original wood, concrete, and mosaic flooring; high ceilings; and oversized windows.

2. 1900 Elm Historical LoftsHistoric Downtown Dallas Buildings

Photo: Dfwcre8tive via Creative Commons
Photo: Dfwcre8tive via Creative Commons

By 1928, Tiche-Goettinger outgrew itself and construction began on a new building located along St. Paul between Elm and Main streets, the new flagship building designed by architect George Dahl. As one of the first residential renovations in downtown Dallas, the original 1929 building was repurposed into 129 loft-style apartments. The eighth floor of apartments is the old attic space facing the interior courtyard and is only accessible via stairs from the seventh floor.

Today, 1900 Elm Historical Lofts has a price per square foot of about $1.48. It features Renaissance Florentine palazzo-style, distinctive with Texas motifs, and elaborate Art Deco detailing throughout. Lofts range in size from 494 to 2,685 square feet with 52 different floorplans. Some features include fabulous original arched windows, panoramic city views, skylights, 15-foot columns, ornate crown molding, and authentic casement windows.

3. American Beauty Mill LoftsHistoric Downtown Dallas Buildings

American Beauty Mill Lofts
Photo: American Beauty Mill Lofts

The Cedars, located just south of Interstate 30, emerged in the 1850s as one of Dallas’ first and most affluent suburb. Today, the neighborhood is becoming increasingly important and integral to the success of downtown Dallas.

American Beauty Mill Lofts are in what was previously a grain mill for American Beauty Flour, built in 1912. Converted in 1998, this building now serves as an anchor for The Cedars neighborhood. Rents are about $1.20 per square foot, and there are 80 units. Building amenities include a rooftop pool, fitness room, and clubhouse. Interior features range from stained concrete flooring and high ceilings to exposed ductwork and walk-in closets.

4. South Side on LamarHistoric Downtown Dallas Buildings

South Side on Lamar is another Cedars building that was originally a Sears Roebuck & Co. Catalogue Merchandise Center, built to serve as a warehouse and distribution center. This was the first Sears warehouse outside of Chicago, the company’s headquarters. Matthews Southwest Corp. bought the buildings and redeveloped the entire complex in 2001.

The building now houses retail and 457 loft apartments, and rents are about $1.02 per square foot. South Side has over 100 floor plans. Amenities include a rooftop pool with deck and grill areas; a 2,500-square-foot gym; 30-seat movie theater; party room and billiards room; and concierge services.

5. The Kirby Residences on Main

busch building dallasThe Kirby Residences on Main

Historically known as the Busch Building, The Kirby Residences on Main is a 17-story skyscraper in the Main Street District of Downtown Dallas. The structure was completed in 1913 by beer magnate Adolphus Busch to partner with his nearby Adolphus Hotel.

During the economic downturn of the 1980s, the building became vacant. It sat empty until 2011, when it became the first high-rise to be converted from office use to residential apartments in downtown.

Today, apartments at the Kirby cost approximately $1.70 per square foot. Amenities include nine-foot ceilings, full size washer/dryer included in all apartments, a clubhouse, concierge, rooftop pool and spa, fitness center, and coffee bar with wifi.

6. Interurban BuildingInterurban Buildinginterurban building

Originally built as a train station in 1916, and serving as the main Dallas depot, the Interurban building was revitalized by Barker Nichols LLC, which bought the building and converted it into 134 loft apartments and retail space in 2005. They also opened Urban Market, the first grocery store in downtown in many years, one block south of Neiman Marcus.

Today, rent is about $1.96 per square foot. Amenities include a fitness facility, swimming pool, elevators, storage areas, attached parking garage, courtyards, and a resident lounge. In-home features include exposed brick walls, large windows, 11- to 15-foot ceilings, granite countertops, and stainless steel appliances.

Check back tomorrow for part 2, when we’ll look at five more historic downtown Dallas buildings where you can live the loft life! 


* All rent prices are approximate, provided by Smart Data.

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Leah Shafer

Leah Shafer is a content and social media specialist, as well as a Dallas native, who lives in Richardson with her family. In her sixth-grade yearbook, Leah listed "interior designer" as her future profession. Now she writes about them, as well as all things real estate, for

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