St. Louis Ranks 5th in U.S. For Most Industrial Buildings to Lofts Conversions, Study Says


St. Louis developers and contractors have converted more than 60 old industrial buildings into apartments and lofts over the past seven decades, providing urban living opportunities and championing the adaptive reuse of long-vacant structures.

According to a recent study performed by, St. Louis ranks fifth highest of U.S. cities that have successfully renovated and transformed former factories and office buildings into downtown and midtown living units.

Since the 1950s, St. Louis has restored and converted 62 old buildings into a total of 7,197 new apartments and lofts, with one third of these occurring just in the past 10 years, according to Daniel Coste, RENTCafé communications specialist. Nationwide since the 1950s, developers have collectively converted a total of 1,876 old buildings into living units.

“From 19th-century hospitals and factories to residential community, adaptive reuse allows old buildings to keep their historic charm and be reconditioned into modern apartment buildings,” Coste said.

Two clear examples of this are recent developments spearheaded by Pier Property Group in St. Louis. One is Woodward Lofts, a former 1920s printing and packaging headquarters that developer Michael Hamburg completed in Tower Grove in 2019. The former Woodward & Tiernan Printing Company building, built in 1926, was converted into 164 upscale lofts in St. Louis’ Forest Park Southeast neighborhood. ARCO Construction and architect Trivers paired on the 250,000-square-foot project, 170,000 of which features living space plus an 80,000-square-foot parking structure.

Another one of St. Louis’ 62 historic building conversions is a multi-phase conversion taking place in Millcreek Valley, a half mile from the new SSM Health SLU Hospital. The same developer, Pier Property Group, converted the 104-year-old Steelcote Paint building into the 33-unit Steelcote Lofts as phase one, with project partners Pinnacle Contracting and architect Trivers. Phase two includes the conversion of the nearby Columbia Oil Building into apartments known as Steelcote Crossing. Phase three (all new construction) are the Mill Creek Flats.

“Hospitals, churches, courthouses and even bomb shelters have been given new purpose through this process,” said Coste.

To learn about the buildings nationwide that have been transformed, see RENTCafé’s full study at

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