Jazz at Walter Circle is a culturally and environmentally-expressive ocean-liner that anchors the 15thand Bowman Metralink TOD station area in a repopulating patch of East St. Louis. Top to bottom, the building was designed to provide a high quality of life for its seventy-four senior families. The ground floor provides long lost neighborhood amenities—a fresh grocer, deli, health clinic, and an event space. Each upper-floor apartment has a full kitchen, accessible bathroom, and a French Balcony, providing access to sun and breezes, and planter boxes  that give the ability to grow fresh herbs.

Each floor offers two places where seniors can come together to entertain neighbors and friends, a common sitting room in the bridge over Walter Street and a south-facing outdoor sun patio. The south roof is designed to be a third-of-an acre urban garden, structured to carry two feet of Midwest topsoil. East-St. Louis native son Miles Davis inspired numerous music-themed murals and trumpet-shaped scuppers that visibly convey water from roof to root. This building project also created a place—Walter Circle—a beautiful traffic-calmed public space, nested in the center of the long building, setting the stage for future development. 

Signature Development provided the project with a two-part vision: a full menu of quality of life amenities and a strong sustainability agenda. The innovative project financing — New Market Tax Credits and Public Housing Replacement Funds—was a Midwest first. 

Client: East St. Louis Housing Authority

Location: East St. Louis, IL

Year: 2014

Certification: LEED NC Gold Target

Awards: CNU Illinois Charter Award

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