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News release


JLL Sells 1501 Washington in Downtown St. Louis’ Washington Avenue Loft District

Buyer has successful track record for boutique hotel conversions of historic buildings

ST. LOUIS, FEB. 17, 2016 — JLL announced the sale of 1501 Washington Ave., a 10-story, 140,000 square-foot building in the Washington Avenue Loft District of downtown St. Louis, Missouri. The 105-year-old building has a rich history in St. Louis and is now slated for conversion into a 140-room boutique hotel.

John Warren, a vice president in the St. Louis office of JLL, represented the seller, IBC Investors, LLC in the transaction. This is the second historic building Warren has sold in the district in the past month. Fe Equus, a Milwaukee-based development firm with a strong focus on urban renewal, is the buyer of the 1501 Washington building. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Built in 1911, 1501 Washington was one of the area’s many early-20th Century “Garment District” buildings that housed shoe, clothing and fashion manufacturers. The revival style building was the long-time headquarters for the International Shoe Company, one of the largest shoe companies in the world. Tennessee Williams, one of the most highly regarded playwrights in American history, worked in the factory at 1501 Washington and referenced the building in his first successful play, The Glass Menagerie.

“Downtown St. Louis is experiencing a tremendous resurgence, as investors look to repurpose the city’s classic architecture into hotels, condos, and restaurants that appeal to today’s residents,” said Warren. “Fe Equus has a unique plan and a solid track record for creating innovative urban environments that can help transform neighborhoods.”

The building most recently housed the Imagine Academy of Cultural Arts, which moved out in 2014.

Milwaukee-based Fe Equus, a development company focused on urban and rural renewal, mixed-use development, and hospitality, intends to convert the building into a unique hotel, complete with a rooftop bar and restaurant and restaurant/bar on the ground floor.

The company is well known for its Iron Horse boutique hotel project in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The firm converted a 200-year-old building into a sophisticated urban hotel and has won multiple ‘Boutique Hotel of the Year’ awards; been ranked among Conde Nast Traveler’s top hotels in the world; and is currently ranked number 11 of all U.S. hotels on

“We are excited about the opportunity to bring new life to a building that has played such an important role in St. Louis history,” said Tim Dixon, owner of Fe Equus. “We believe this new hotel will be an important catalyst for the continued redevelopment of Washington Avenue.”

Aries Capital is the investment partner working with Fe Equus on this development.

This rejuvenation of the downtown area is being fuelled, in part, by the growing movement of millennial renters and buyers who want to live and work in lively urban communities. As these buildings are converted and residents move downtown, and new hotels begin operation, retail, restaurants and other entertainment-oriented activity generally follows.

This sale follows closely behind Warren’s sale last month of the former CPI Building, the nine-story, 270,000 square-foot office building at 1706 Washington Ave. Kansas City investor Revive Capital Development, LLC acquired that property with plans to convert the 1912 vintage building into loft apartments.
This ‘new urbanism’ is helping to reshape St. Louis and many cities across the country. “These two Washington Avenue projects will play an important role in continuing to attract younger workers and, ultimately, bring additional employers to the downtown area,” Warren said.

Over the past 10 years, the Washington Avenue corridor has transformed into one of the city’s premier nightlife destinations. As shoe factories and hat manufacturers became loft-style condos and apartments, trendy retail stores and a wide array of restaurants followed. Washington Avenue has also become an entertainment corridor with venues like the MX movie theater, the America’s Center Convention Complex and City Museum, which is just to the north of 1501 Washington.

About JLL
JLL (NYSE: JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. A Fortune 500 company with annual fee revenue of $5.2 billion and gross revenue of $6.0 billion, JLL has more than 230 corporate offices, operates in more than 80 countries and has a global workforce of more than 60,000. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services for a property portfolio of 4.0 billion square feet, or 372 million square meters, and completed $138 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2015. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $56.4 billion of real estate assets under management. JLL is the brand name, and a registered trademark, of Jones Lang LaSalle Incorporated. For further information, visit