Lofts are still urban, but only in the sense of location. They're certainly not cheap: The St. Germain, another Randall Davis property, charges from $675 to $2,900 per month for a loft, depending on the size, level and view. Doormen and coded gates now keep out the bad elements of the street. (As if there are any bad elements left to keep out; a loft-dweller's neighbors are likely to be investment bankers and attorneys.) Oh, and don't make too much artistic racket, or you might get a noise violation.
These days, lofts even host home tours. For $20, the Downtown Houston Association will show you ten dressed-up residences in the Capitol Lofts, Dakota Lofts, Hermann Lofts, Hogg Palace and St. Germain on Main.
Just be prepared: There are balconies outside every one of the exposed brick apartments in Capitol Lofts, but they're not fire-escape balconies, and the railings aren't rotting. And the St. Germain's bathrooms are 100 square feet of unadulterated luxury complete with shiny fixtures and marble floors. But you won't find a sheet-metal shower in the place.
-- Brett Davidson
Tours run from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday and Friday, April 15 and 16. Call the Downtown Houston Association at (713)658-8938 or log on to www.downtownhouston.org for tickets and info. $20.