In the early 1900s, downtown St. Louis was hot on the textile industry trail. Warehouses and massive brick buildings lined the city's downtown streets.

One of these buildings was known as the Central Shoe Building, and later as the Arts & Crafts Building. Built in 1919, the nine-story Central Shoe property served a multitude of purposes—from shoe storage to clothing manufacturing, printing operations, and buttonhole machine manufacturing. The building is located on the city's Washington Avenue, known as the “garment district” during the 1920s, when the street served as the center of St. Louis' city commerce. In fact, the city was known as a thriving clothing and shoe manufacturing mecca, rivaling those of New York and Chicago.

Local urban developer Jacob Development Group purchased the rundown Central Shoe Building last year and renovated the property as a 91-unit luxury loft residence known as The Ventana. The property's $22 million renovation was designed to preserve the building's rich architecture.

Exposed brick and ductwork at the Ventana Luxury Lofts in St. Louis retain the charm of the building's industrial past as a shoe warehouse.
Exposed brick and ductwork at the Ventana Luxury Lofts in St. Louis retain the charm of the building's industrial past as a shoe warehouse.

Missouri-based architectural firm Rosemann & Associates was responsible for the building's $22 million renovation. Most of the building's rich architecture was preserved. The building features 15-foot windows, brick accent walls, exposed spiral ductwork and mechanicals, central heating and loop system, and a rooftop pool and clubhouse. Units range from 982 square feet to 1,326 square feet.

The property was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987 as part of the Washington Avenue Historic District.

Abby Garcia Telleria is a freelance writer in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Know of a landmark apartment property? Send your suggestions to abbygarcia@yahoo.com.