A few years ago, Reena Kazmann decided she felt cooped up and needed to make more time for herself. So she shuttered her online business and set her sights on leaving Washington, D.C., the place she had called home for 32 years.
“I picked four cities I’d like to move to, and I visited them,” she says.
Her criteria were fairly simple. A native of New York City, Kazmann had tried driving once and hated it. So a walkable city with public transportation was a must.
She also wanted to move someplace that was part of the Village Movement, a grassroots, membership-based community organization that coordinates services and social activities for the aging, allowing them to stay in their own homes.
Kazmann’s four finalists?
Ithaca, N.Y., Philadelphia, Baltimore and Lancaster.
It was Lancaster that won her final vote, and not just because of its walkability, public transportation and the “instant community” she found in the Lancaster Downtowners, part of the Village to Village Network.
“I like the fact that you don’t have many big businesses. You support small business,” says the lifelong entrepreneur, who got her first gig drawing for a magazine at age 14 and spent the last 19 years running Eco-Artware, an online store selling eco-friendly gifts made by other artists from recycled, reused and natural materials.
Kazmann’s next step was finding a place to live where she could best take advantage of all Lancaster city has to offer. At the recommendation of a fellow Lancaster Downtowner, she chose Steeple View Lofts, a charmingly repurposed 125-year-old tobacco warehouse at 118 N. Water St.
“The location is just great,” Kazmann says.
Steeple View Lofts is within easy walking distance of downtown shops, galleries, restaurants, Miesse Candies and Ice Cream Parlor, Zoetropolis Cinema Stillhouse, Central Market and entertainment venues like the Fulton Theatre. Its location has also made it convenient for Kazmann to volunteer with local women entrepreneurs.
And when Kazmann needs to go beyond her downtown neighborhood, she can take a bus to Park City Center or hop a train at the nearby Amtrak station.
Of course, part of the appeal of Steeple View Lofts is her apartment. An artist at heart, Kazmann says she particularly appreciates the building’s industrial chic character. Her apartment, like all of those at Steeple View, features exposed brick walls and ductwork and oversized windows — a reminder of the building’s historic past.
It’s created the perfect backdrop for pieces of Kazmann’s past as well, including a collection of her mother’s artwork and some favorite pieces from her former online business, like a bookshelf made from vintage homemaking books. There are also a number of items made from recycled metal street signs, including switch plates, a wall hanging and a quirky tall-back chair that serves as a functional piece of pop art.
“Everything here is familiar,” Kazmann says, looking around her cozy apartment. “It’s like being with old friends.”
In addition to the support of her new friends in Lancaster, Kazmann and other residents at Steeple View Lofts also have access to Landis at Home, a program of Landis Communities offering personal care services, transportation and wellness support.
For those interested in social opportunities within the building, there are holiday parties, game nights and other activities planned by the residents.
Steeple View Lofts features 36 one- and two-bedroom apartments on three floors. Each floor has a common area — two floors have lounges with Wi-Fi, TV and a library, and the third has exercise equipment. A second-floor deck is a popular spot on summer evenings.
Rent starts at about $1,000 for a one-bedroom apartment and $1,700 for a two-bedroom apartment. An in-unit washer/dryer is included along with other appliances, and pets are welcome.
One month’s deposit is required. There are no entrance fees, maintenance fees or association fees. Residents are responsible for electricity, cable, phone and internet.
To schedule a tour of Steeple View Lofts, call 717-413-0078 or email email@example.com.