Transformation of a historic warehouse district into a thriving urban village

Lowertown is an urban renewal project that transformed an underused warehouse district in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota, into a vibrant, mixed-use urban village. For over 20 years, the city took a comprehensive approach to the redevelopment of the historic neighborhood, which is now home to thriving art studios, entertainment centers, local businesses, parks, and walk-to-work housing. The project was envisioned not as a short-term fix for a declining neighborhood but as a long-term approach to creating a vital, dynamic, economically viable, and desirable new urban neighborhood.

Lowertown provides a careful, sensitive, and cost-effective approach to the adaptive reuse of an abandoned industrial area into a mixed-use commercial and residential community.

1995 Selection Committee

The successful redevelopment is the result of a collaboration between public agencies, private lenders, foundations, neighborhood organizations, artist communities, business associations, and other local organizations. More than 70 projects have been completed, and the gradual approach has allowed for incremental, preservation-oriented rehabilitation; retention of community self-reliance; and maximum leveraging of private investment.