Vesta Lofts

Photo: Dennis Rodkin

The apartments in a historical South Loop loft building that’s going residential for the first time in its century-long life proved so popular, there’s only one left—the biggest one—before work on the building is even finished.

Vesta Lofts is the new incarnation of a handsome, no-frills brick-and-timber structure built in 1913 for the Vesta Accumulator Co., a maker of batteries and other electrical car parts. It will have 59 apartments; 58 of them are one- and two-bedrooms that leased up fast. The last is the building’s sole three-bedroom, which will be put up for rent on September 20 at an open house. The 1,350-square-footer with private outdoor space will rent for $2,600 a month.

The quick lease-up surprised Aaron Galvin, the managing broker of Luxury Living Chicago Realty, which was the exclusive leasing agent for Vesta’s developer, New York–based JK Equities. Galvin says “the goal was to have it all leased within 60 days of the Certificate of Occupancy,” which was issued September 1. Instead, most were leased in advance of the certificate, and everything but the not-yet-available three-bedroom was leased by September 6.

The building’s classic brick facade, heavy timber interior beams and other “hard loft” features contributed to the pre-opening rush, but more important was the price. One-bedrooms ran $1,400 to $1,700, and two-bedrooms between $2,000 and $2,400. That put two-bedrooms in the price range of one-bedrooms in the big luxury buildings going up downtown. In the October issue of Chicago magazine, I detailed six of those buildings, where one-bedrooms started as high as $2,500. “It’s difficult to find a luxury apartment in downtown Chicago now below those [numbers], but this meets that need,” Galvin says.

Click through the images below for more on the building’s history and new life.