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ST. LOUIS-The 90-year-old former Ely & Walker Dry Goods warehouse has been renovated into 174 lofts and more than 39,000 sf of retail, with an included parking garage. About 100 of the new Ely Walker Lofts, at 1520 Washington Ave., have been occupied. Chicago-based Orchard Development Group was the developer, and locally based Clayco handled the construction of the $44.2-million, historic renovation process.

The warehouse had been a mess when the project was started, says Bob Fritz, a Clayco project executive. “The structure was in good shape, but the roof was shot, the wood floors were trashed and there was junk everywhere,” he tells GlobeSt.com. It took about 15 months to clean up and renovate the building for multifamily use, Fritz says.

The lofts range from 1,000 sf to 1,700 sf, and sell for up to $200,000, not including the top seventh penthouse floor. Clayco couldn’t fill the entire 372,300-sf building with residential, so the company created a six-story atrium at the center, as well as the retail and parking garage. The construction firm had to balance historical needs with modern designs, and cleaned and tuck-pointed 97,200 sf of the exterior, and added balconies to 24 of the units. The developer is set to receive $6 million in TIF incentives for the project.

Gundaker Commercial is the leasing representative for the 39,000 sf of available retail, with an asking price of $12 per sf, triple net. The building already is leasing space to English Living and the London Tea Room.

Fritz says it’s getting tough to find buyers due to a slowdown in the condo market. “There’s almost too much of these loft projects, it’s getting a tad overbuilt,” he says.

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