By MELISSA CROCKETT MESKE
Cottages at Cathedral Square, a modern residential urban development designed for senior living, now stands in place of what once was a block of deteriorated structures near St. Peter Cathedral in downtown Belleville. Fairview Heights-based architectural firm EWR Associates, Inc. designed the $6 million, 31,000-square-foot residential complex.
“The opportunity to revitalize and repurpose this site into something new and vibrant yet purposeful while retaining the period aesthetic that defines historic Belleville turned out to be an extremely rewarding experience for our firm,” said EWR’s Bill Reichert.
The design took its form as a contemporary version of Belleville’s historically known “street houses,” German-style row houses of the 1700s and 1800s era. Period features incorporated into the design included such details as iron fencing with brick piers and gates that surrounds the development, serving both as security and as boundary definition.
The 32 new units envelop a landscaped courtyard square containing a gazebo, gardens, walk paths, a water feature, sculptural pieces and internal parking courts.
The development includes a 16-unit, two-story complex with three two-bedroom units, 13 one-bedroom living units and shared community spaces. The remaining units are in four one-story buildings containing one or two bedroom options with front porches and individual laundry areas. All units are adapted for accessibility.
The concept behind the design was to develop the property for seniors as an affordable independent living option that also took advantage of its location and nearby healthcare services, restaurants, and shopping. Proximity to the Cathedral and the YMCA added to its available amenities. The development is bordered by South First Street, West Harrison Street, South Second Street and West Garfield Street.
A first of its kind for Belleville, it is also the first in town to receive certification from ICC 700 National Green Building Standard for incorporating “green” practices throughout its design and construction.