Steve Safarjian and Kjirsten Harpain stand a stairwell at the Apotek Lofts in Kingsburg. Photo by Frank Lopez.
After a year and half of renovation and construction, Apotek Lofts in downtown Kingsburg are close to completion and almost ready for move-ins.
In July 2017, The Business Journal first reported on Apotek Moderna, a local real estate development firm and its plan to build a total of five modern-styled lofts on Draper Street, between California and Marion streets.
Apotek Moderna is managed by Jeff Harpain, who is also the financial manager of the company. His wife Kjirsten Harpain is a partner and architect for the company, and CJ Brock, Kjirsten’s brother, is a managing member as well.
Kjirsten wanted to keep the charm and original look of the architecture, but also bring a more modern look and feel to the lofts to attract all kinds of renters.
The building, which sits between the Kingsburg Branch Library and Fugazzis restaurant, had been abandoned for 50 years prior to the beginning of the renovations. It was first built in 1910.
“These are designed for a diverse lifestyle,” Kjirsten said. “We could have a variety of different living styles. We could have a single person who has a guest bathroom and an office. We could have two roommates who want to be independent of each other. We can have a parent with a child of varying ages. There’s a lot of different ways that we want to be able to accommodate life.”
As an architect and designer for the lofts, Kjirsten kept it in mind that she was making a home for someone else, and that she wanted to use neutral colors and elements so tenants could easily make the loft into a home they would want to live in.
Each loft is 1,000-1,200 square feet, the four larger units each having two bedrooms and two and a half bathrooms, kitchen, dining, and living areas, and the fifth loft will be a studio with a full kitchen and bathroom.
The rent for each loft ranges from about $1,450-$1,650.
To keep the original touch of the building, tall windows, which were more common at a time when indoor lighting was more of a luxury, were kept to allow more natural light into the loft.
Since the lofts are so near the train crossing on Draper Street, the windows were sound proofed to block outside noise. The walls and floors were also soundproofed to prevent tenants from hearing the noise of their loft neighbors.
Between the loft building and Fugazzis, there is a small section of property that is owned by the city. The city is allowing for the restaurant to use the space as an outside patio for diners, and for tenants of the lofts to use the elevated porch attached to a spiral staircase.
As was more common in turn of the century residential buildings, the Apotek lofts building has a very wide hallway. Steve Safarjian is the property owner for the building and works as real estate agent for RPS Real Estate. Safarjian has had an active hand in the development of the lofts, and said he is thinking of putting benches in the hallway so tenants have a space to interact with one another.
“Hopefully the people that will live up here will sit and have a glass of wine together before dinner,” Safarjian said. “Make it more of a friendly atmosphere that we think Kingsburg captures on a whole. “
Because of the loft’s location right in the heart of Kingsburg, the tenants will have plenty of options for food, shopping and essential services.
“You can run downstairs and get a cup of coffee, Kjirsten said. “You can get your outfit at Revival 23 [clothing and gift store]. We have a masseuse; you can get your hair done. We’ve got a really comprehensive lifestyle here.”
The Kingsburg community has seen a resurgence in development activity of late. It has added more than 25 news businesses in the last 18 months, said Jolene Polyack, consulting economic development coordinator for the city.
It was two years ago that Kingsburg was a finalist for a national show titled “Small Business Revolution — Main Street,” which featured the economic revival of small towns.