Lowertown is one of Saint Paul's most livable and fastest growing neighborhoods and the nation's most successful realization of the concept of the " urban village." It's a dynamic area, offering a wide range of housing choices and amenities. Strong developers and investors continue to be attracted by Lowertown's potential as a haven for painters, sculptors, photographers, writers, and artists of all kinds. Part of the fun of the neighborhood is its distinctive turn-of-the century "look ." Future Lowertown residents will be able to enjoy a new and intimate relationship with the part of the river for which their neighborhood is named.
The Oldest Part of St. Paul Is Now Its Most Exciting New Neighborhood!
Lowertown, an 18-square block historic district in the very heart of downtown, is the birthplace of the city. Named for the nearby "lower" landing on the Mississippi - a major destination for riverboat traffic in the 1800s - Lowertown soon became the center of rail commerce for the entire Northwest.
But time and progress eventually passed it by, and for more than 75 years Lowertown languished, a shabby neighborhood of vacant warehouses and empty streets. However, through the efforts of Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation, a public-private partnership established to revitalize the area, Lowertown has been transformed into one of the city's most desirable and fastest-growing neighborhoods. In fact, the area has attracted more than $400 million in new investment - four times the original goal!
A visitor today will discover dozens of historic turn-of-the-century buildings, most of them fully restored for apartments and offices. A wide variety of art galleries, restaurants and shops. Churches. A farmers market. Theatres. Artists' studios. A growing "cyber village" of new and emerging companies. And a whole lot more. All of them intermingled with narrow tree-lined streets, antique lighting and sidewalk cafes.
And at the center of Lowertown you'll find beautiful Mears Park, the neighborhood's green jewel, with walking paths and even a meandering creek, offering residents and visitors alike a place to sit, talk or just relax. Lowertown-it's a place people come to visit. And stay to live!
There's a lot of Saint Paul's history still visible in Lowertown too! River traffic gave the city its start. But it was the railroads, led by Empire Builder James J. Hill, which made it a major transportation and wholesaling center. That incredible period of growth left Lowertown with a wonderful architectural legacy-one of the largest and finest concentrations of well-preserved 1Ninth century commercial buildings in the nation, many of them designed by such renowned architects as Cass Gilbert, J. Walter Stevens and Charles Frost.
Frost's Union Depot Place ( 1 ), and his
US Bank Trust Center ( 2 ), have withstood the test of time and have been restored to serve as functional landmarks.
The Gilbert Building ( 3 ) (offices), and the
Parkside Building ( 4 ) (apartments), echo the architectural excellence of Cass Gilbert's most prominent achievement in Saint Paul-the Minnesota State Capitol.
It's no accident that the facades of the buildings along the north side of Mears Park relate so nicely to one another: they were designed by the same noted architect- J. Walter Stevens. Blending the architecture of new buildings that must stand side-by-side with historic buildings is an ongoing objective of Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation's program. An example is the incorporation of the McColl Building ( 5 ) and the historic facades along Sibley Street Facades ( 6 ) into Galtier Plaza. Other examples are the sheltered-stalls design of the Farmers Market ( 7 ), and the brick facades of the Embassy Suites Hotel, KTCA Minnesota Telecenter and United Way Building.
Pioneer Building ( 8 )
Park Square Court ( 9 )
Seventh Street Facades ( 10 )
The successful revitalization of this exciting heritage district has been hailed as a model for cities everywhere. In fact, Lowertown has received the Presidential Award for Design Excellence, a national honor recognizing outstanding urban design leadership and development.
But today's Lowertown is anything but a museum. It is now a vital, active "urban village", home to more than 3,000 permanent residents, hundreds of businesses, and a magnet for visitors throughout the year.
It's no wonder people say, "If you haven't seen Lowertown, you haven't seen Saint Paul!"