When factories are no longer factories, these sturdy structures of antique brick and beam can be converted for many new uses. With regularity they are turned into hotels, office space, shopping centers, restaurants, clubs, cultural and performance centers and many additional innovative uses.
One of the most common reuses for old factory buildings is private residences, either single family or as multiple-family loft complexes. Many benefits make this use so appealing: Factories have space and light galore, they feature the rustic charm of exposed brick and wood or steel beam while still adapting well to modern decor.
As generations of creative people can attest, revamped industrial spaces also work great as combined work and studio space. And finally, the sheer amount of raw space, when purchased in need of overhaul, can be a bargain for the enterprising purchaser.
The following sites where products like candy, garments, or mayonnaise were made are now places where lives are lived. While this trend has long been associated with New York, these stunning examples are from around the globe.
Location: New York
Price: $3 million for a loft
This triplex penthouse is in a 1928 garment factory. Its present three-bedroom, four-bath incarnation was conceived by architect Steve Blatz. The master bedroom features a wood-burning fireplace and a wrap-around planting terrace; a second bedroom also has a terrace. The chef’s kitchen features Miele and Thermadore appliances and two Gaggenau ovens.
Location: Cambridge, Mass.
Price: $1.175 million
Square footage: 1,800
This is a three-bedroom, three-bath condo on three levels of a former candy factory dating to 1898. Two of the bedrooms are masters with their own marble and tiled baths. The loft also has a terrace, soaring ceilings, and like so many other converted factory homes, this one has plenty of natural light through the tall, multi-paned windows.
“Factory of Living”
Location: Utrecht, the Netherlands
Square footage: 2,690
This former factory in Utrecht was reconfigured for residential loft living and office space while retaining key original aspects like the wood beams and multi-paned windows. From the outside, it’s practically unchanged, while inside it’s a spacious living space rich in natural light. This project was completed in 2006 by the Dutch architecture firm Zecc.
Atlantic Terra Cotta Factory
Location: Princeton, N.J.
Square footage: 20,000
This circa-1894 terra cotta factory on the Delaware and Raritan Canal once created ornamentation for New York landmarks such as the Woolworth Building. The architectural firm Smith Miller and Hawkinson gave it a facelift, and the old factory is now a residence and design studio. The designers incorporated a timber mezzanine for another floor of usable room and used polycarbonate screens as dividers between work and living space.
Blue Plate Factory
Location: New Orleans
Price: $502 - $1,550 / month for 1 or 2 BR loft
Square footage: 615 – 1,647 per loft
This landmarked Art Moderne building was the former factory of Blue Plate Fine Foods, whose mayonnaise and other condiments were made from 1941 until the turn of the century when production moved to Tennessee. Beginning in 2009, the space underwent a $23 million renovation by Woodward Design Build, and it is now Blue Plate Artist Lofts, with 72 “mixed income loft-style apartments designed with a leasing preference for artists.”
Click here for more converted factory homes. You can also watch the show "Ultimate Factories," which explores the manufacturing behind famous brands, at 9 p.m./12 a.m. Eastern Fridays on CNBC.