(Photo courtesy DavidMadisonPhotography.com)
Big tax incentives are what drive corporations to locate their businesses in cities, towns and municipalities across the United States.
Now there’s one available for startups and small businesses through e-lofts, a luxury residential and office community based in Alexandria, Va.
The 14-story building is unique due its “dual-use concept,” made possible due to the special zoning rules on the block that allow businesses to write-off up to 49.9 percent of their home office space if located in their apartment unit. That means you can either rent an apartment, rent company office space or do both with any of the 200 units in the building.
The zoning falls under the “CRMU-H” or commercial residential mixed use high-density area. The high-density designation means that the building code allow one person for every 100 square feet. According to Alexandria County Department of Planning and Zoning, the idea behind the designation is “to encourage the conservation of land resources, minimization of automobile travel, and the location of employment and retail centers in proximity to housing.”
Because it used to be an office building, Novus Residences, a subsidiary of Cafritz Interests, was able to retain the commercial zoning and then got residential zoning approved. It then got a third zoning approval which is a combination of the two. Novus intends to expand the e-lofts concept to other buildings in the area.
“Our building is the next evolution of the WeWork coliving arrangement,” said William Loving, property manager of e-lofts. “The owner got a patent on the process of converting the office building into the live/work hybrid space. Most apartment communities do not allow people to run a business out of their apartment. Our philosophy is totally different. We actually allow this and we have the zoning that accommodates that as well,” said Loving.
The building is currently hovering around 70 percent occupied and can support businesses of up to 10 employees, with most units accommodating about 4-5 staff.
It took a team of local real estate companies to bring e-lofts together. Renovation of the space was spearheaded by local real estate development company Paradigm, with the conversion process led by Lord Aeck Sargent. Interiors were created by Carlyn and Company and Gensler with The Bozzuto Group managing the property.
This group is betting on widespread changes that seem to be coming to the future workforce, with many younger millennials starting new businesses as solo-preneurs, or as consultants by working as part of the gig-economy or managing various side-hustles.
The original site was a former U.S. Department of the Army office space that was retrofitted to become the open-space apartment and work complex. The loft-style, modern design for the building’s re-use tout European kitchens, exposed ductwork, concrete columns, ceiling fans, and large wall-to-wall windows among its most highly-coveted features.
Floor plans offer either one or two bedroom units, with pocket doors to help tenants modify the space to their liking. The building has high speed internet and is Wired Certified, an official set of standards to evaluate the connectivity of office buildings by WiredScore.
The first floor of the building is a co-working lounge space that offers four conference/meeting rooms which can be scheduled through an app for the building. There’s also a fitness center, a multimedia rom and an outdoor seating area with sundeck and grills.
Of course, not all businesses can find a home there. Certainly not the butcher, or baker—but perhaps the candlestick maker. Melted Element, a private label candle company located in e-lofts is located in one unit. And there are creative entrepreneurs such as photographers, makeup artists and audio producers who also work in the building.
For musicians, there’s even a soundproof practice space. The space is pet-friendly and has a pet spa and grooming station with two deep stainless-steel tubs to help wash and dry your dog without having to use your own bathroom—perfect if you have a dog-walking or dog-sitting business.
If you’re starting a business in your apartment, e-lofts recommends you check first with your CPA to find out exactly how much of the space you are allowed to write-off as the home office rules have changed a few years ago under the IRS Home Office Deduction.
For transportation, there is a shuttle which goes to the Metro at Pentagon City, and if your truck, car or business van is in the parking garage, you’re close to King Street and 395. Yet with the amenities that e-loft offers, there’s lots of incentive to just stay inside the building and do business with your neighbors and help sustain the building’s local business community.-30-
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