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The Fremont Lofts

WITH THEIR WALL-SIZE windows, industrial details, and rock-solid construction, abandoned mills are romanticized as chic living quarters. The realities of adapting them for residential use, however, are quite different. Several developers had been daunted by the deep floor plate, roughly 120 feet across, on a section of this former weaving mill. Not for The Abrams Group, which simply lifted the roof and carved out a private outdoor courtyard. That move allowed for a double-loaded corridor with interior units facing the light-filled courtyard.

Designed to be affordable for young professionals, the 97 lofts, and 20 different floor plans are nevertheless filled with all the features that urbane buyers expect: hardwood floors, 18-foot ceilings, original wood and steel beams, and 5-foot-by-10-foot windows. Even with hidden enhancements such as seismic bracing, energy upgrades, and extensive soundproofing, The Abrams Group was able to build for less than $100 per square foot, while carefully preserving a unique historic landmark.