Pros: One of the nicest neighborhoods in the city, one of the least expensive buildings in the North Loop area, incredibly high ceilings.
Cons: The walls are paper thin, very young very noisy tenants, no amenities, dated appliances and fixtures, generally not very clean, OUTRAGEOUS heating and electric bills.
My roommate and I rented one of the two level "townhomes" in the freighthouse building for one year. Before I start with the bad, let me say that this is the perfect neighborhood. The outdoors are quiet and you are close to the river. Also, we are within walking distance of most downtown bars and restaurants. The townhomes have small concrete patios that are great for grilling in the summertime.
But unfortunatly, noise is a SERIOUS problem in this building. In our bedroom, we can literally hear it when our neighbor sneezes. When they talk, it sounds like they are in the room. When they... well you know... you can hear that too. I have lived in apartments with thin walls before and I expect to be able to hear some things, but this totally out of hand.
Part of what comes with the affordable rent is a younger crowd. The neighbors on all three sides of our unit are either college students or recent graduates. Now, I have nothing against partying or listening to music (I'm in my late 20's so I'm not some fuddy duddy). But with the thin wall, any music with bass in it literally sounds like it is being played in our unit. During the week there is partying going on at least 2 or 3 days. And don't even think about staying in for a quiet Friday or Saturday night. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that my roommate and I sleep with ear plugs in at least 2 or 3 times during a week. When a neighbor slams their door, it shakes the entire unit. And, of course, none of these noise issues were ever mentioned to us when we viewed the place. It was only on our move in day, when we were signing the lease, that managment bothered to mention that noise can "carry" between units. That is a slight understatement.
You can also expect to pay in the neighborhood of $150/mo in heating costs in the winter. The exposed brick walls paired with cheap construction equals high heating costs in the winter and high cooling costs in the summer. The appliances are very dated and suck up a lot of electricity as well. I'd say our electric bills were around $125/mo in the summer and $75/mo otherwise.
Storage space is also a serious problem. There are shallow, 5 feet wide closets in the bedrooms and a larger crawlspace under the stairs, but that is it.
Frankly, the places aren't very clean either. The carpet and paint seem new, but the cabinets, appliances, and tub and sinks are old and cheap. There was a layer of dust about a quarter of an inch thick on the kitchen cupboards when we moved in. On the first floor, the joists on the above ceiling are exposed. While this looks really cool and really gives you a "loft" feel, it is not very clean. When someone is on the second floor walking around heavily, dust and dirt literally rains from the ceilings. The drain pipe for our tub and shower is exposed on the ceiling of the first floor and it is not uncommon for it to drip down onto the tops of the cupboards in the kitchen, so much so that the particle board cupboards are all bubbled up and rotting. Gross. I wiped down the baseboards and the crack between them and the carpet and my rag was black within 5 feet of cleaning. Gross.
All in all, the fantastic neighborhood and low price do not overcome the serious problems with this place. Don't get me wrong, we haven't had any problems with management. They have been great. But this building was put together on the cheap and it shows. I would strongly urge someone looking at these places to look elsewhere. You get what you pay for in this building and the cheap rent equals cheap, noisy, and somewhat dirty accomodations. When our lease was close to being up, we were literally counting down the days until we were able to move out.