The latest in loft living: 160 Fremont
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Not many real-estate brokers can sum up some of the best of what they’re selling in one word. Cindy Dube of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage’s New Homes Division is the exception. All she has to say is Lofts!

First it was the Biscuit Lofts in a totally rehabilitated former factory building on Envelope Terrace, off Shrewsbury Street in Worcester. Only a few units remain available there. Now Dube has turned her focus to the Fremont Lofts a structure in the Webster Square neighborhood that has a history every bit as impressive as that of the Biscuit Lofts.

The Fremont Lofts will consist of ninety-seven loft-style condominiums on four floors, featuring a mix of one and two- bedroom layouts ranging in size from seven hundred eighty-eight to one thousand eight hundred ninety square feet. Amenities will include a fitness center, a media center, two roof decks and a courtyard. Storage space will be available for purchase as well.

Prices start in the $ 140,000’s for the units. All of the units feature high ceilings: 9'7 on the first floor, 12'4 on the second and third floors, 13'9 on the fourth floor.

Like the Biscuit Lofts, the Fremont Lofts involves a substantial reconstruction of an existing impressive edifice. The partners in the project boast top- notch credentials. One of them is the Abrams Group LLC, a Boston- based real-estate development firm that specializes in just this sort of work: turning vintage properties into reasonably priced residential communities. Recently, the Abrams Group turned a onetime manufacturing complex in Lowell into one hundred thirty-four loft-style apartments. The other partner is the Callahan Companies, a full- service, family-run construction firm that ranks among the largest in New England.

In 2002, the Boston Business Journal ranked The Callahan Companies fourteenth among the Top 25 construction companies in its coverage area. Endeavors in which The Callahan Companies have been involved include one hundred eighty apartments at Marina Bay in Quincy, the Club Atlantis condo hotel in Orlando, Florida, condos in Brookline and Whitman and schools, other hotels and retail stores.

The roots of the building in which The Fremont Lofts, at 160 Fremont Street (entrance access is from St. John’s Rd.), are housed, trace back to 1923 when the structure was built for a silk and rayon-weaving company. It later housed the Sweeper Vacuum Company. In 1951, the property was bought by the L. Farber Company, which made leather shoe components and more specifically welting (welting is the leather strip that joins together the shoe’s sole and the upper leather). Today, welting is only found in high-end footwear.

Dube, who exudes enthusiasm about how loft living is transforming the Worcester landscape, said The Fremont Lofts are already close to 20% sold, which is a fascinating phenomenon considering that we’re operating out of a sales trailer (next to the building), there’s no model unit yet for people to look at and the building is not ready. Dube expects units to be ready for occupancy by the end of 2005. The address will be prominently announced in capital letters on a brick tower in front: 160 FREMONT.

She also expects a strong response rivaling that generated by the Biscuit Lofts, from prospective customers. People from the Worcester area want lofts, she said, and also from Boston, where the price of housing is so astronomical. It doesn’t hurt, either, that Webster Square boasts a brand-new Price Chopper supermarket. That tells you something, when businesses like Price Chopper put a flagship store in, she said.

Contact Rod Lee with ideas for HomeSource stories; by telephone, 508-793-9213, or e-mail, rlee@telegrain.com.