In case you haven’t heard, it’s a very exciting time for the Garment District of downtown St. Louis—and we LOVE that our campus is right in the center of all the action! From the addition of a high-tech knitting facility to the upcoming grand opening of a boutique hotel whose name pays tribute to our neighborhood’s roots in garment production, we’re constantly reminded why it was such a good idea to relocate our campus to Washington Avenue nine years ago.
When we chose this location for our permanent home, it was significant that the building and others around it are steeped in history. Fun fact: 1521 Washington Avenue was constructed in 1917 for the George E Keith shoe factory, and one of our closest neighbors is the world-famous International Shoe Company (which has since been partially re-purposed as the world-famous City Museum). In recent years, interest has grown in revitalizing the area with an eye towards its roots in the garment manufacturing industry. We welcomed St. Louis Fashion Fund to our block in 2017, and they have worked tirelessly toward making our neighborhood a hub for fashion innovation, inspiration, and entrepreneurship.
Even more recently it was announced that Evolution, a high-tech knitwear manufacturing facility, will be opening in on Washington Ave in Grand Center which further advances St. Louis as a great city in which to produce clothing again. Evolution is scheduled to open in August 2019 with 35 state-of-the-art knitting machines. In the first three years, the apparel manufacturing firm aims to grow to 300 machines and employ up to 60 employees.
The Last Hotel, located just to the east of us at 1501 Washington Avenue, is nearly done with a major 18-month renovation of another building in the former International Shoe Company complex. It is scheduled to open in just a few weeks and is already taking reservations for July. We are especially excited about their rooftop pool and restaurant that will be open to the public!
Other new businesses the neighborhood include local grocer, Field’s Foods, as well as the unique, photo-op-friendly art exhibit space, The Selfie Room. These great additions to other established businesses and organizations like City Museum, Sliced Pint, and Star Clipper round out our fabulous corner of St. Louis.
It is so gratifying to see the diverse expansion and growth of Downtown West in the near-decade since we’ve called Washington Avenue home, and we can’t wait to see how the Garment District and St. Louis’ fashion footprint continues to develop!