As someone interested in local history, walking through the former John Shillito Company building at 7th and Race, which was built in 1878, is genuinely exciting. Once Cincinnati's flagship department store, it sold all manner of higher-end goods. As you might expect, the name ultimately didn't survive the test of time. It eventually merged with and was purchased by modern brands; Shillito's in due time became Lazarus, which later became Macy's.
It's called The Lofts at Shillito Place today. Gone are the handbags, stationery, scores of clothing racks, and home goods that filled eight floors of retail and the afternoons of gleeful shoppers. Today, it's an apartment building with office space at street level. Multiple floors of quiet halls link apartment doors, and a gargantuan atrium topped with a skylight runs like a vertical artery from a lower floor to the rooftop. Sunlight bleeds in through the hexagonal window, giving life to the intricate detail that surrounds its perimeter. All the artistry of this unique architectural feature was touched up in 1999 when the building opened for residential use after a lengthy renovation.
That was the last time the apartment building was majorly renovated—until now.
Towne Properties is in the process of rejuvenating the building with new amenities, updated apartments, fresh paint, new floors, and more. If you've been inside The Lofts at Shillito Place within the last 19 years, you'll notice they've anchored the update at the lobby level. The old lobby was merely the gateway to the elevators. Post-renovation, it's a destination. The ceiling was raised, modern lighting was installed, glass-walled management offices were placed in the middle of the room, and a new high-tech coffee machine is available to residents. New auto-locking package lockers were added to give residents the option of picking up their deliveries any time of day. Lounge and work areas were also included in the design.
The apartments are being updated, too. New features include:
- Updated color scheme to highlight Art Deco elements
- New carpet
- Luxury vinyl plank flooring
- Updated countertops and appliances
- Side-by-side washer and dryer units in multi-bedroom apartments
- Modern roller shades over the windows
To complement the new apartments, Towne Properties spared no expense with its amenities:
- Brand new yoga and pilates studio with a reformer
- TVs with DVD players for workouts
- New flooring to the indoor basketball court
- New flooring in the recreation and weight rooms
- A new shuffleboard table, flat screen TVs, Sonos music system, and updated seating in the rec room
Suffice to say, The Lofts at Shillito Place is slowly ditching the dated Y2K look of its former incarnation in favor of a more modern aesthetic for a more modern Downtown lifestyle. See it for yourself by visiting the gallery above.
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The Lofts at Shillito Place are located at 151 W. 7th Street (45202).