Union Lofts: 22 New Apartments that Balance Preservation with Modernization

By Tara Wood

Constructed in the 1890s, three buildings located at 501, 509, and 513 James Brown Boulevard had been vacant for nearly 50 years and were on track to be demolished. However, local developer Brendon Steffes thoughtfully preserved and renovated them into 22 market-rate apartments with each one having unique variations.

The original doors and fireplaces were maintained, and the original storefront windows were restored, highlighting the architectural style of the past. At the same time, modern amenities such as in-unit washers and dryers, glass walk-in showers, and stainless steel appliances were added to elevate the living spaces.

In recent years, the downtown housing market in Augusta has seen a significant uptick, with students, young professionals, empty nesters, and families alike drawn to the convenience of living in the heart of the city. The walkability, cultural attractions, and diverse dining options have made downtown Augusta a desirable place to call home. Meeting the increasing demand for housing while preserving the unique character and history of the city can prove to be a challenge.

By rehabilitating historic buildings, Augusta can offer a diverse range of apartments and lofts that suit different budgets and preferences. These buildings often boast unique architectural features, such as exposed brick walls, high ceilings, and large windows, which are highly sought after by urban dwellers. 

Moreover, adaptive reuse projects contribute to the revitalization of downtown areas, creating vibrant and livable neighborhoods that attract both residents and businesses. Developers like Mr. Steffes are helping to revitalize downtown and reduce the housing shortage by repurposing vacant buildings or finding new functions for old buildings. Creating vibrant, functional spaces in nearly forgotten city blocks produces new opportunities for social interaction and economic growth. New residents contribute to the local economy, support local businesses, and foster a sense of community. 

By recognizing the value of its historic buildings and finding innovative ways to repurpose them, Augusta can continue to meet the housing demands of its residents while preserving its unique character. 

Union Lofts is currently preleasing and expects to begin occupancy in early February.

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