Denver’s vaunted Union Station – once the transportation gateway to the west – recently received the nod to be renewed as a contemporary vision of urbanity and clean transportation. The Union Station Alliance’s wining proposal is a LEED Gold restoration that will be anchored by a 130 room hotel, a retail center, public plaza, and a train hub connecting Amtrak with regional trains and buses. The location of the station, smack in the heart of Denver’s popular LoDo neighborhood, helps weave together all the elements needed for a thriving downtown renaissance.
As a multimodal transit system, the development will link Denver’s neighborhoods to regional and national transportation systems — in its heyday the station saw more than 80 trains a day. An underground bus hub, now under construction, will connect to the recently developed FasTracks light rail system and Amtrak, in turn reclaiming the project as a national rail hub.
The Union Station Alliance, lead by restorationist Dana Crawford and developer Sage Hospitality, has big plans to turn the storied building back into a vital tourist center. Developed for LEED Gold certification, most of the original barrel vaulted roofed building will be fully restored. A posh hotel will become an anchor tenet, and retail and six public plazas will be developed for a go-to destination downtown.
The LoDo District of Denver is an urban renewal magnet with vigorous development of residential and retail spreading north of downtown. Completion is anticipated for 2014. This is a very tight timeline considering the historic nature and scale of the project.