The Lofts of Washington University development opens for business, students​​​

Mixed-use project features student apartments, a grocery store and 24-hour diner

The Lofts of Washington University, a new $80 million mixed-use development, brings green architecture, new residents and, at last, a grocery store to the Delmar Loop.

On Saturday, Aug. 23, some 400 Washington University in St. Louis undergraduates will move into The Lofts’ 167 fully furnished three-bedroom, two-bedroom and efficiency apartments. Amenities include a rooftop garden, multi-purpose rooms and great views of the Delmar Loop, named “One of the 10 Great Streets in America” by the American Planning Association.

“Washington University is fortunate to be located in close proximity to vibrant neighborhoods,” said Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. “The Lofts of Washington University provides a unique opportunity for students, visitors and residents alike to enjoy the amenities of the Delmar Loop. We are proud that The Lofts will further enhance this exciting area, which sits at the nexus of University City and the City of St. Louis.”

Washington University’s Office of Residential Life will manage The Lofts. Sharon Stahl, vice chancellor for students, says The Lofts’ incoming residents are excited to join The Loop neighborhood.

“Our students are eager to move into The Lofts and become a part of The Loop neighborhood for many reasons,” Stahl said. “In addition to the excitement of living in an eclectic, urban environment, many of our students are deeply committed to public service. The Loop is home to numerous organizations that enrich the lives of neighborhood residents, and students will have new opportunities to engage with these groups on a deeper level.”

The Lofts development includes underground residential parking, open green spaces and improved sidewalks and pedestrian lighting.

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The Lofts of Washington University features United Provisions, a full-service grocery store. Shoppers may buy basics like milk and eggs, as well as gourmet and international items. Below: The Lofts features three-bedroom, two-bedroom and efficiency apartments for Washington University undergraduates. (Credit: Joe Angeles/WUSTL Photos (2))article photo

Peacock Loop Diner owner Joe Edwards said The Lofts will transform The Loop into a true 24/7 neighborhood and strengthen the connection between the east and west Loop. Edwards predicts the project will draw more residents and businesses to The Loop, already home to more than 100 restaurants, galleries, nightclubs, shops and music venues.

“The ripple effect of this investment will be enormous,” Edwards said. “Washington University recognizes that good urban design — mixing apartments with retail and improving green spaces — can have a huge impact on a neighborhood. This makes The Loop an even more livable, walkable neighborhood.”

And greener, too. The Lofts project is on track to earn Platinum LEED certification, the highest rating. Solar panels heat 25 percent of the buildings’ hot water, photovoltaic cells convert sunlight into electricity, rain gardens treat stormwater and the buildings’ signature aluminum sunshades serve as both a bold design element and an effective tool to keep apartments comfortable.

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“When we plan sustainable living and working spaces at Washington University facilities, we are thinking beyond bricks and mortar; we are thinking about a way of living that is environmentally responsible,” said Art Ackermann, associate vice chancellor of facilities. “We believe that this strategy supports both the students and the community.”

Serving a long-standing need

In addition to the residential units, The Lofts of Washington University includes a grocery store, which will serve surrounding neighborhoods in University City and the City of St. Louis. University City Mayor Shelley Welsch said residents have been calling for a grocery store on the Loop for decades.

“After many, many years, the residents of University City finally will have an opportunity to shop for groceries on The Loop,” Welsch said. “The Loop is a wonderful destination for visitors, but it is also our main street. The arrival of United Provisions makes The Loop even stronger.”

Lyda Krewson, St. Louis’ 28th Ward alderwoman, agrees.“A grocery store that serves surrounding neighborhoods, including Skinker-DeBaliviere, will help meet a critical need in this part of the city. Urban food markets such as United Provisions offer attractive shopping options for both residents and visitors,” she said.

United Provisions is owned by the Prapaisilp family. Shayn Prapaisilp, project manager for United Provisions, said the store will carry the basics as well as a broad array of gourmet and specialty items.

“You can get your standard eggs, milk and butter here, but you’ll also be able to find kimchi, Indian curry and Turkish coffee,” he said.

United Provisions also will feature a deli counter, sushi and ceviche bar, fresh pastries, a coffee bar, and an array of grab-and-go prepared foods.

The Peacock Loop Diner, which is slated to open in September, will serve an expansive menu of diner fare, international favorites, vegan and vegetarian dishes and adult milkshakes. The Diner will feature Edwards’ collection of peacock memorabilia.

Investing in the future

The Lofts of Washington University is the culmination of a collaboration between the university, University City and the City of St. Louis that began in the fall of 2011. The project was developed to meet the goals of significant community studies that found that the Delmar Loop was a prime location for additional retail and higher-density housing.

“Washington University is committed to working in partnership with our neighbors to build a strong, vibrant St. Louis,” said Henry S. Webber, executive vice chancellor for administration. “The opening of The Lofts is a concrete example of the university’s ongoing investment in the Delmar Loop and we could not be more pleased with the finished product.”

Other significant university projects in the neighborhood include the 2004 transformation of a vacant uniform factory into the university’s North Campus, and the construction of the 19,900-square-foot Washington University Family Learning Center in the same location. In addition, the university is a founding member of the Cortex Innovation District, 200 acres of state-of-the-art biomedical science and technology facilities that also will include retail and housing opportunities.

More about United Provisions
Square footage: 14,939 square feet at 6241 Delmar Blvd.
Opening: Monday, Aug. 11
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily
Features: The store will offer everyday staples such as bread, milk and toothpaste as well as international and gourmet groceries. The Dining District within United Provisions will feature a coffee bar, prepared foods, evening table service. Ben Poremba, the James Beard-nominated chef from Elaia and Olio, will operate the Dining District.

More about Peacock Loop Diner
Square footage: 4,875 square feet at 6261 Delmar Blvd.
Projected opening: Late September
Hours: 24 hours daily
Features: Peacock-themed restaurant will offer a full bar and will serve breakfast classics, diner staples, Asian favorites, vegetarian/vegan dishes and a selection of pies.

More about the construction
Project architect: William Rawn Associates of Boston, with Tao + Lee Associates Inc., of St. Louis serving as the local firm.
General contractor: Paric Corp. and several other engineering and consulting firms are working on the project’s landscaping and sustainability features.