Occupying a special place in San Francisco real estate, historic conversion lofts offer some of the most dramatic and interesting living space in San Francisco. Beginning in the early 1990’s, historic buildings and warehouses that were empty, unused and usually rundown were turned into living spaces that appealed to urban hipsters, dot-commers, and urban nomads (among others).
There are a few other similar projects scattered across the city, but the bulk are found in the South of Market Area (SOMA) neighborhood. Development was a win/win proposition for both home buyers, who gained historic and unique living spaces, and also for the city of San Francisco because abandoned or blighted properties were transformed into highly desirable destinations that generated property taxes for the city coffers. The transformation of historic buildings into lofts also took place at the same time a live/work loft construction boom was undertaking the city, but these are two very distinct building types.
While many lofts were built in San Francisco during the 1990’s, most of them are “loft-in-a-box” buildings that lack the character, charm, and history of conversion projects. The map below gives you a rough geographic layout of where the historic projects can be found in the south of market neighborhood. Below the map you will find a link with details about each of these properties, including information about architects that did the conversion and any fun facts about the project. Conversions have weathered the real estate downturn much better than “loft-in-a-box” projects and continue to be marquee destination properties in the south of market neighborhood.