As Calgary’s real estate market continues its recovery from an extended period of recession, there is at least one niche segment that has weathered the storm: lofts.

Calgary’s lofts are in high demand, but with only a handful of true, hard-loft buildings in the city, supply is very limited. In a market that uniquely appeals to both commercial and residential buyers, Calgarians looking for lofts can sometimes wait years to find the perfect fit.

CREB®Now sat down with Christina Hagerty, a REALTOR® with more than 20 years of experience with Calgary lofts, to find out why these spaces have such lasting appeal.

“Lofts, for the most part, are unique spaces for unique people.” – Christina Hagerty, Calgary Realtor®

CREB®Now: Is there anything that makes Calgary lofts unique?

Hagerty: Relative to other Canadian cities like Montreal and Vancouver, Calgary has a fairly low number of historic, warehouse-conversion lofts. These include The Hudson, Lewis Lofts, The Manhattan, and Imperial Lofts. Of course, there are also more recent additions like Orange Lofts and The Lofts on 17th, but most seem to want a true, hard loft.

CREB®Now: What are some of the most unique lofts you’ve seen?

Hagerty: By their very nature, lofts tend to be unique spaces when compared to typical condos, and even when compared to other lofts. This, I feel, is one of their biggest draws. Interesting elements I’ve seen over the years include a fieldstone bathtub heated by a wood-fired pizza oven, a freight elevator – complete with its original vertically sliding doors – converted into a second bedroom, a sixteen-foot rope swing attached to a living room ceiling, and an entire suite styled in a western theme.

CREB®Now: Why would someone choose a loft over other properties?

Hagerty: Unlike typical condos that have a similar style to one another, character lofts allow for a much greater range of design elements and creative expression. All of the heritage lofts in Calgary are also situated within the inner city, delivering an urban lifestyle with shorter commutes and modern conveniences.

CREB®Now: What type of buyer generally seeks out a loft?

Hagerty: Lofts, for the most part, are unique spaces for unique people. When used as a residence, the demographics tend to be young and young-at-heart urban professionals and couples. Artists, photographers and collectors are very common. Since some of the buildings also allow for commercial use, as office environments they tend to attract design firms, architects, engineers and professional services.