Historic Artist Workspace Lofts Up For Renovations in NJ

Silk Mill Lofts has served as a live-work space for New York metropolitan artists since the 1990s.

By Robert Demeter

Silk Mill Lofts
Silk Mill Lofts

Union City, N.J.Sun Equity Partners recently announced the acquisition of Silk Mill Lofts, a historic commercial community dedicated to artist work in Union City, just minutes from Manhattan.

The 125,000-square-foot property, which occupies a full city block from 39th to 40th St., has served New York metropolitan artists since the ’90s. Sun Equity plans to upgrade the building’s exterior, common spaces and loft-style studios. The company retained Hoboken-based Lee Levine Architects to work on the renovation project.

Sun Equity purchased the landmark community with the intent of providing existing residents improved work environments and attracting new artists and commercial users from across Hudson County, New York City and beyond, according to Abe Tress, the company’s director of operations. Silk Mill Lofts is currently 55 percent occupied by practicing artists and creatives involved in visual arts, photography, sculpture, painting, glass works and more.

Originally built in 1874 as home to the R. H. Simon Silk Mill, the 1.3-acre property consists of seven brick buildings of varying heights, with interiors featuring 13- to 16-inch loft ceilings and large industrial windows providing natural light and views of the Manhattan skyline. The buildings are connected by courtyards that are traversed by bridges, walkways and corridors. Each building also has freight elevators for transferring large materials.

“The arts have long been an important part of the fabric of Union City and Hudson County, but finding appropriate work space continues to be a struggle,” said Tress in a prepared statement. “With some strategic upgrades, the property will anchor the area’s growing arts scene by attracting new residents from both sides of the river, as well as provide unique loft spaces for office leaseholders.”

Silk Mill Lofts is situated in the Union Hill section of Union City at 540 39th Street, located minutes away from the Lincoln Tunnel, with easy access to New York City’s arts and culture scene. The galleries and art centers of Hoboken and Jersey City are also nearby and accessible via the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail and New Jersey Transit buses.

Image courtesy of Sun Equity Partnres