From the Job Site: Denver Union Station

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The $484 million renaissance of Denver’s Union Station will cement its standing as an important transportation hub for the entire Denver metropolitan region. Union Station is not only the connection from downtown Denver to a variety of ground transportations, but it is catalyzing downtown Denver’s continued growth as a hip, walkable, diverse regional center. Union Station will serve local and national travelers via everything from pedicabs and shared cars to light rail and Amtrak. Construction is well underway, is on budget, and (just like the buses and trains of its well oiled Regional Transportation District) is on schedule.

From the Job Site: Denver Union Station Credit: Denver Union Station Project Authority

Union Station’s construction has been covered thoroughly and favorably by local news outlets and blogs, which capture the excitement of Denver residents about the prospect of Union Station acting as an important genius loci for the region. Lower Downtown, or LODO, is already a bustling, engaging urban center, the product of hugely successful public planning efforts and public–private partnerships; the completion of Union Station will only bolster its continued success. Indeed, the redevelopment of Union Station is rooted in the station’s origins as a turn-of-the-century building that housed the “union” of competing railroads coming into Denver as the city transformed itself from an agrarian community to a regional gateway to the Rocky Mountains.

Denver Union Station Construction Progress Images

Colorado’s new Governor, John Hickenlooper, a long-term supporter of the Union Station Project, mentions in a video titled “Denver Union Station: Portal to Progress” by Havey Productions: “One of the great things about any really great historic building is that it allows people living today to actually breathe the air, as it were, of people that lived not just 20 years ago but several generations before, especially a place like Union Station. This is a point where the past meets the future, and it’s got to maintain and preserve that sense of continuity.”

Denver Union Station: Portal to Progress - USA Trailer from Havey Productions on Vimeo.

Dana Crawford, Denver developer and founder of the Larimer Square National Historic District, adds, “I know of almost no one who isn’t in favor of preserving Union Station. Union Station is one of the most important buildings in the area. It was originally one of the most important gateways to the City of Denver; it’s also emotionally and symbolically important to the people of Denver. The open spaces, particularly the historically important plaza and courtyard -- there’s an opportunity here to make this space a classic public gathering place that will identify Denver for many, many years to come, much as we think of the piazzas of Italy."

Denverites are now looking forward to the completion in the summer of 2011 of the first phase of the project, a new light rail station and its connection to downtown’s 16th Street Mall free shuttle.

Denver Union Station Construction Progress Images

As of February 2011, a temporary and totally handicapped-accessible Amtrak station, with 19 parking spaces and drop-off and pick-up access, is open and operating. Rails for the project’s light rail connections are being placed, bringing a sense of tangible reality to the project’s progress. Likewise, the fabric canopy of the shuttle/light rail station is being placed, helping to orient curious urbanites to the station’s placement and future. Locally organized on-site tours are well attended and sponsored by the nonprofit Union Station Advocates.

Morey Bean, AIA, LEED AP

Colorado's 1999 Architect of the Year and Vice Chair of the Boulder Chapter of the Urban Land Institute, Morey’s experience includes the successful development of the Colorado Architecture Partnership, an architecture firm dedicated to sustainability and green building. Morey was appointed by the Chief Architect of the GSA to the National Register of Peer Professionals. He serves as a ULI Service Advisory Panelist and was a charter member of the Colorado Chapter of the USGBC and past president of the Colorado South Chapter of the AIA. He is a construction litigation services expert witness, land development analyst and sustainability strategies consultant.

The author was honored by the Colorado Component of the American Institute of Architects as their Architect of the Year in 1999 and is on the Roster of Neutrals for the American Arbitration Association (AAA), providing dispute settlement for the design and construction industry.

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