Businesses have also been steadily attracted to the area, among them many fine-dining restaurants, cafes and pubs, and importantly, the St. Paul Farmers' Market in 1982, now regarded as one of the finest in the US. Although not strictly inside the confines of Lowertown, the St. Paul Saints moved here in 2015 when CHS Field was opened adjacent to the farmers' market. The design of the new ballpark was so well received that 'World Architecture Magazine' soon after voted it the best minor league sport stadium in the world.
If Lowertown were viewed as an ellipse, the other elliptical focus would be Mears Park, a landscaped project opened in 1992 in its current design. With its bandstand and man-made rocky stream, the park has received rave reviews and is the annual home to festivals such as Music in Mears, and the Twin Cities Jazz Festival, amongst others. Gardening and landscaping is maintained by the Friends of Mears Park, a volunteer group.
With the USA Today rating Lowertown in its Top 10 up-and-coming neighborhoods in the nation, and the 'Top Hipster' zip code being awarded to 55101, the future of this quaint but vibrant historic nook is looking very rosy.
Lowertown, St. Paul, is an historic district north of the Mississippi River and consists of 16 blocks of warehouse and wholesale buildings constructed between 1870 and 1920. The area is roughly bound by Kellogg Boulevard, Broadway, 7th Street, and Jackson Street.
After several decades of neglect following the Depression of the 1920's, Lowertown Redevelopment Corporation (LRC) was formed in 1978 with the task of renewing the vitality of the area and creating an urban village. With the benefit of a $10 million grant from the McKnight Foundation, Lowertown was designated a Heritage Preservation Site in 1983 and, along with the associated tax credits, the LRC set about driving reinvestment by redevelopment rather than demolishing. Because buildings have remained intact, the area has taken on a culturally raw, bohemian feel, attracting working artists of all types, be they painters, musicians, sculptors, artisans, etc.
In order to offer a further example of area revitalization, 2012 saw the completed renovation of Union Depot, an historic railroad station and transit hub, at a cost of $243 million. This was followed soon after, in 2014, by St. Paul being made the new Amtrak service stop between Seattle and Chicago, coupled with the opening of a terminus for the local Metro Green Line offering travel into Minneapolis. The Green Line is unofficially the Baseball Line, with CHS Field at this end, and the Minnesota Twins' Target Field at the other. Union Depot is also home to a bus terminus that sees several intercity bus lines operate - including Greyhound and Jefferson Lines - alongside the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority regional buses. All in all, Lowertown has become a highly significant hub offering many national, regional and local travel options.