A Spacious Downtown Loft with Views for Days
Lofts, perhaps more than any other type of housing (except fancy, brand-new builds) symbolize the city’s voracious inclination towards change. Take the Bayou Lofts building, located downtown at the corner of Franklin and Travis Streets. It was originally built in 1911 as the regional headquarters for the Southern Pacific Railroad, and designed by Chicago architect Jarvis Hunt in the style of a Renaissance palazzo.
That speaks to its overall shape, reaching nine stories high, with the first two floors defined by a band of horizontal moldings above the window line, and the top floor capped in a flaring cornice, the ornamentation underneath still intact. Then in the '90s, after 85 years of occupancy, Southern Pacific sold the building and it was converted into 108 condos, designed by Gabriel Architects.
The units come in all shapes and sizes—from one bedroom/one bath combos, to grand four-bedroom layouts on the ninth (penthouse) floor. This particular two-bed and two-bath corner unit is on that floor as well, so it benefits from soaring double-height ceilings but with a more economical floor plan (not to mention price) at 1,424 square feet.
All of the innate charm of the loft aesthetic is here, since the interiors retain the same unfussy historic character found on the outside—we’re talking tall walls of exposed brick, large double-hung windows to capture the views, and industrial accents like concrete ceilings and visible ductwork.
The two bedrooms offer different flavors, with one lofted above the main living spaces behind a steel-and-cable railing and paired with a large walk-in closet, and the other able to be flexed into an office space, thanks to a simple Murphy bed that stores away a mattress.
If you’re looking for that perfect blend of old and new, of course there’s the surrounding neighborhood, known for its concentration of historic buildings from before 1900, as well as a plethora of entertainment options. But you could also just head down to the lobby to the Houston Watch Co., which has the appearance of an old jewelry store, but is actually a much-loved neighborhood bar.
Listing Fast Facts
Address: 915 Franklin St, Unit 9A
Size: 1,424 square feet, 2 beds/2 baths
List Date: 3/10/2023
List Price: $485,000, with $1,246/month HOA dues
Listing Agent: Kathy Nicholas, BHGRE Gary Greene