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Loft Walk highlights Urban Living event

New projects like the ParkView Lofts and the penthouse apartments in the downtown Ramada have made life a lot easier for organizers of the annual Loft Walk, Don Wilson said.

"Myself and Eric Morris, co-chairman of Generation Charleston, have worked together to contact local developers and local Realtors to uncover the secret society of loft living," Wilson said.

"It is a struggle," said Wilson, co-chairman of Generation Charleston's professional and economic development committee. "Sometimes it's hard to find lofts to visit."

And sometimes the lofts they do find are a bit pricey for the group's main constituency -- young professionals.

"We've had places as high as $750,000," he said. "A lot of us, most of us, don't have a budget of $750,000. But it was really neat to go into one like that. We try to have one with the wow factor.

"One of the things we are trying to do is be all inclusive. This year we'll have lofts for as low as $65,000."

As of Sept. 12, Wilson and Morris were finalizing the list of lofts scheduled for Tuesday, the seventh annual Loft Walk.

About 200 people are expected, said Matthew Thompson, director of Generation Charleston and communications director its parent, the Charleston Area Alliance.

"It's probably the biggest Generation Charleston event each year. Last year it rained all day but we still had a large turnout."

Not just members of the group, Wilson said.

"It's the most diverse of all our events. It's young professionals, empty nesters and people who are just curious about real estate and what's going on downtown."

The walk also kicks off four days -- four evenings, to be precise -- of events planned as part of Urban Living 2013. Also scheduled are:

-- Thrive, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at Charleston Area Alliance. In its second year, Thrive is a crowdsourcing event in which four micro-entrepreneurs with 30 or fewer employees, jury-picked from a larger group, created video pitches to promote their businesses.People who attend (for a $20 fee) can enjoy refreshments, watch the videos and vote for their favorite video.

People can also vote online after viewing the videos at allianceblog.org (click on the video link). The winner gets all the entrance fees plus $2,000 from sponsors, Thompson said.

-- ArtWalk, 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday, downtown. The monthly event, sponsored by the Alliance, coincides with Urban Living 2013.

-- Capitol City Shuffle, 7 to 10 p.m. Friday, starting at Haddad Riverfront Park. A sort of pub crawl, the shuffle will tour Charleston night spots like Bar 101, Charleston Brewing Co. and more. Afterward, C&H Taxi will offer free rides home.

While details are still incomplete, Wilson gave some hints at what to expect on Tuesday.

"The way it works, right after work, at 5 o'clock, head over to Adelphia on Capitol Street for food and beverages. We'll divide into groups for guided tours. Some will go on trolley tours. At some you'll see all the lofts.

"This year the Loft Walk will look into the future of loft living in Charleston. Pison Development, Bill Turner, the lofts in the Kyle building near the ballpark. And Four Points by Sheraton -- they'll be showing the upper floors of the Ramada.

"This year will be a treat -- we hope there will be some historic structures. We've extended the loft district from just Capitol Street and the Boulevard to Quarrier Street into the historic district. When you say urban living, I consider it living within walking distance of where you work.

"The motto of the event and Generation Charleston is live, work, play," Wilson said. "You don't have to do those in different locations. Like in the big cities, we can do that in Charleston."

Reach Jim Balow at balow@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5102.


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