DC firm putting new spin on working from home

WASHINGTON — D.C.-based real estate developer Cafritz Interests is betting on demand from tenants who want the ultimate commute to work: None at all.

Novus Residences LLC, a Cafritz subsidiary, is marketing a new real estate business called e-lofts at a single, initial property in Alexandria, Virginia. The property will offer rental lofts spaces ranging from 650- to 1,200-square-feet that are designed for living, working or both, for individuals or small companies with up to 10 employees.

The company says the goal is to provide living and work spaces that rival luxury loft apartments and condos and surpass traditional Class A office buildings.

“Our business goal is to enable the future by enabling freedom of choice,” said e-lofts CEO Robert Seldin. “Traditional buildings separate people by function, living or working. As technology blurs these traditional boundaries, e-lofts is the first product to accommodate this transition.”

To make it work, the building is zoned for both residential and commercial use and includes enough parking to accommodate the tenants. The building offers living-friendly amenities such as European kitchens, washers and dryers and common spaces, as well as office-friendly features such as moveable pocket walls and partitions, conference rooms and media presentation rooms, commercial electrical wiring and “fiber to the unit” Wi-Fi, plus additional backbone capability.

The first e-lofts location is expected to open at 4501 Ford Ave. in September. The location includes a fitness center, pet salon, a “table tennis garden” and a “volleyball garden with private beach.”

The 240,000-square-foot building has 200 units for rent, with rent costing $2.50 per square foot. Renovation cost $50 million.

E-lofts also thinks that by creating buildings that can be a living space, a work space or both, it can hedge against the ebb and flow of real estate demand. “With flexibility to be an office, apartment or live/work space, e-lofts immediately adapts to changing market conditions to meet demand wherever it is highest,” the company said in a statement.

A second location is planned for Fairfax, Virginia, and five others are planned for the D.C. market in the next year. As many as 100 e-lofts locations across the country are planned in the next decade.

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