Loft living over 1st-floor retail/commercial -- a trendy urban lifestyle for many years -- is gaining traction in smaller communities, according to this article in the Register Guard in Oregon.
" "There's a certain energy level inside a little town, and this gives you more access to people," Gary Compton, who renovated a historic two-story building with a pharmacy on the first floor and moved in to live upstair, told the paper. "When people come in to go to the pharmacy or the post office, they're more likely to drop by and see you."
"In Cottage Grove, demand is brisk for nine urban apartments restored as part of the historic renovation of a family furniture store," the article notes. "Just down the street, St. Vincent de Paul renovated an old hotel to create 10 apartments above a street level art center. In Oakridge, a conceptual plan for a new community/senior center calls for elder apartments above the public facility below."
Plans for the old Arcade building in downtown Framingham mirror this trend, with plans for first-floor retail and apartments upstairs -- if Town Meeting approves plans for the project to take advantage of tax breaks under a state program aimed at enticing development in certain business districts needing revitalization.