In the mid-19th century, the Lowertown area of St. Paul, Minn., was just another quiet, sleepy residential neighborhood. But the arrival of the railroad changed the face and energy of the city. By the early 1900s, Lowertown had become a bustling commercial hub, with merchants and brokers eagerly looking for jobs and a place to earn a good buck. In 1905, a classic revival structure known as the St. Paul Rubber Co. was erected in the heart of Lowertown.
Years later, the seven-story building served as the manufacturing and warehouse space for American Television and Radio. In 1985, the building was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Two years later, the building was transformed from a rundown commercial relic into a hip, upscale apartment residence by a Philadelphia-based developer, Historic Landmarks for Living, which renamed the building Lowertown Commons.
Historic Landmarks for Living carefully preserved many of the building's architectural elements, from its brick walls to its timbered beams. The structure's two-story entrance portico and two-story Ionic columns also were restored and given a boost. But the building's interior shell was gutted to make way for more modern elements such as a dramatic entryway and atrium, plus an overhead walkway above the lobby.
Inside the property's apartments, the bricks were glazed to add more depth and texture. The developer also kept the historic building's original 8-foot industrial windows and high ceilings, allowing natural light to pour into each unit. Lowertown Commons features one-and two-bedroom floor plans, gourmet kitchens, an on-site fitness center, and an enclosed parking garage.