What once was a sanitarium for wounded war veterans is now a sleek Downtown salon.

What once was a sanitarium for wounded war veterans is now a sleek Downtown salon.

The newly opened Erika Taylor Urban Spa's building has a rich history - it was the site of a farmers market during the 1940s and 1950s, later becoming a high-end hotel and the recuperation site for soldiers.

These days, the "urban spa" lives up to its name. The location - in the Red Brick District - and decor were selected with Downtown residents in mind. The clientele tends to be well-traveled, well-off people who live, work and play Downtown, said Erika Taylor, the salon's owner.

"This can be your sanctuary in your busy, crazy life," Taylor said.

The spa, which opened at the beginning of October, offers hair and spa services such as manicures ($20-$30), haircuts and styles ($45 and up), and massages ($45 and up).

It's the only salon in the state with a SkinMaster machine for ultrasonic microdermabrasion treatments. Also available is keratin hair therapy, which uses keratin protein to smooth hair, keep it healthy and make it easier to style.

Currently the spa has 12 staff members, but there are plans to expand to 20 employees in the coming month.

Taylor has made giving back to the community a main focus for the spa. Recently it held a special day for breast cancer awareness - all washes and cuts were $25, with all proceeds benefitting local programs.

Taylor hopes to contribute to The Wellington School and St. Vincent Family Centers in the future, and the salon will promote sustainability by encouraging clients to ride bikes to the spa. Bike racks will be placed outside the building, and customers who ride to their appointments will receive a 10 percent discount on services.

"It's important for salons to remember to be community-oriented," Taylor said. "They forget what a difference they can make. You want to have an impact now but also have a long-term impact."