Washington Avenue Loft District
WRT's design of public street improvements helped transform St. Louis' Washington Avenue Loft District from a marginally active industrial area into a thriving arts-oriented and regional retail destination. Funded by $17 million in state and federal sources, and fueled by Missouri historic rehabilitation tax credits, the improvements brought about a population boom and an influx of restaurants and nightlife.
Located at the edge of downtown and characterized by its historic buildings, the Washington Avenue corridor was envisioned in three overlapping zones that include residential, commercial, and civic uses. Expanded public spaces were created for outdoor café seating, display of public art and street performances, and to stimulate potential linkages to adjacent destinations, attractions, and districts.
The character of those spaces draws inspiration from the historic context. Site furnishings, lighting, landscape and street greenery, sidewalk paving patterns, and building-related elements all combine to create a unique ambiance for this revitalized urban area.
In 2011, the American Planning Association named Washington Avenue one of America’s “10 great streets.” The mix of building uses, pedestrian friendly street elements, bike lanes, and historic surroundings all contribute to the success of the avenue and the resurgence of downtown St. Louis.