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Stamping Lofts to open Wednesday

St. Louis Stamping Lofts wind damage

Crews work to stabilize the the northwest corner of the St. Louis Stamping Lofts on Collins Street on Thursday, March 1, 2012, after strong winds damaged the building Wednesday. High winds heavily damaged an old factory the same day developer Craig Heller got financing to convert the building into lofts as part of his indoor fish farm project. Photo by Emily Rasinski,

Stamping Lofts, the housing component of a planned indoor fish farm and other urban agriculture endeavors, is set to open tomorrow afternoon in an old factory north of downtown St. Louis.

Developer Craig Heller is behind the project of 56 low-income studio apartments in what had been the St. Louis Stamping Co. building, constructed in 1870. The housing is part of a development called FarmWorks, which will focus on aquaponics, hydroponics, vermiculture and vertical growing systems.

Gateway Greening, a nonprofit organization, and St. Patrick Center will help Stamping Lofts residents grow and market FarmWorks' products. Novus International, a producer of animal health and nutrition products, will assist with aquaponics, fingerling production and fish processing.

Mayor Francis Slay and Missouri Treasurer Clint Zweifel are among those scheduled to speak at the Stamping Lofts opening.

The project overcame a wind storm in that in March 2012 blew down part of the four-story brick building at 219 Cass Avenue. Heller said then that the setback wouldn't halt the project.

Stamping Lofts is a facility that will offer St. Patrick Center support services to ex-offenders, veterans, people dealing with homelessness and others with special needs.

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Tim Bryant is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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