Blog: Tracy Koe Wick

Post No. 3

The District Lofts in Birmingham is another great example of new Live/Work product in the Detroit Metro Area. The first four-story mixed-use building with 47 units is under construction in the up-and-coming Rail District, on Eton Street just south of Maple, next door to The Reserve and Big Rock Chophouse. This building features four live/work residences with street-level retail or office space.  

Yesterday I had a conversation about the live/work trend with Victor Saroki, architect for the project (his firm was named AIA Michigan Architectural Firm of the Year 2007). Victor believes that live/work is a good fit in transitional areas like the Rail District because the area is not too intense, or too commercial. "You wouldn’t want to live on Main Street behind your storefront. It’s too exposed to the street." The Rail District is quasi-commercial next to restaurants, cafes, galleries and surrounded by established neighborhoods, so it is a friendly, safe, interesting place to live and work.
We talked about the ideal users for live/work spaces.

  • Architects
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Salon Owners
  • Landscapers
  • Consultants
  • Real Estate Brokers
  • Tailors

Live/work uses are less intense than pure commercial uses, and operators usually have flexible hours. The live/work lifestyle is the ideal progression for a current home office user uncomfortable meeting with clients in his/her home. Live/work users have a business address, a retail storefront, and the ability to publicize their businesses with exterior signage.