On this sunny Saturday, droves of wealthy suburbanites descended on the city for Venture Richmond’s annual Downtown Loft Tour. They tested the waters of downtown living by touring 15 different loft apartments scattered throughout six neighborhoods. On bus rides between sites, local realtors narrated the scenery and pointed out evidence of revitalization as nearby shops and restaurants buzzed with activity. The tour gave potential buyers the opportunity to poke into every corner of prospective dwellings, seeing the places furnished and looking somewhat “lived in,” as well as to ask current residents questions about the buildings and surrounding area. For the rest of us, it was a fascinating window into economy and excess, and how much can be done with Richmond’s abundance of old warehouse buildings. Indeed it seems an early nineteenth century factory can have a triumphant new life as a luxury apartment and keep a part of its old soul, or it can be turned into something that screams sameness and, well…beige. Yet from the tackiest to the classiest, there was a refreshing sense of excitement mixed with easygoing enjoyment amongst the touring crowd as they trooped through the lofts. Though a true love of city living will grow not in one afternoon’s glossy amusements but in building their real lives downtown, this seemed like a great starting point.
Many (many, many) more pictures are here.