Friday May 11, 2014 marked the grand opening of Denver Union Station.
Here is a look into what the excitement is all about.
It was years in the making.
Countless hours of planning and negotiating, construction and other preparations. But it is here and it is now: Denver Union Station. As the Regional Transportation District (RTD) markets it, Union Station is “big, bold, modern transit.” I would have to agree. Here’s why:
Union Station truly is big. It has a 22-gate bus concourse to serve bus routes on a local and regional scale. This includes the new FREE Metro Ride, to complement the existing FREE Mall Ride. Additionally, it offers access to transit by rail on a local, regional and national scale. With RTD light rail and soon-to-be commuter rail, as well as new Amtrak service, the Union Station service area is big. Large is the size of the site: 19.5 acres! When you consider all of the infill development of high-rise residential and office buildings, the greater Union Station area is huge!
The architecture of the area certainly is very bold. The post-modern style of the train concourse is very eye-catching. It being to very close to the historic building (soon to be the Crawford Hotel) is what makes it so bold. Adjoining the two very distinct architectural styles makes a bold statement. I interpret that statement as meaning “Denver today is a modern center of transit and economic activity while it continues to celebrate its rich history.” The new buildings rising in the area, such as the completed DaVita building and the under-construction Triangle Building, are also boldly designed as far as the existing building stock is concerned.
Another point about Union Station that I also think is bold is that FREE Metro Ride that has rolled out in a fashion that coincides with the grand opening of the transit center. It will be interesting to see if the demand for such a service along 18th and 19th Streets and Lincoln Street and Broadway is actually there. If not, maybe it will create demand with its bold design and service!
Beyond the architecture of the concourses and buildings, the Union Station area is highly modern. Previous to the new influx in development, the sites were underutilized. Further back (think 1960s), the area was blighted. Some Denver residents have said that LoDo and the Union Station district would be the last place in the city where they would have been seen. Working on the fantastic successes of preservation and reinvestment in LoDo, the redevelopment of Union Station and its environs solidifies the return of those districts and presents Denver with an entirely reinvigorated downtown district. This truly ushers the city into a new era – it’s modern era.
It was predicted that the revitalization of Union Station would be hugely successful. Developers certainly thought this way as each available parcel in the Union Station district was sold long before this past week’s grand opening of the transit center. I feel that the success of Union Station is critical if Denver is to become the ‘world-class city’ that Mayor Hancock hopes for. You’ll certainly see me catching a train from there – beats a car any day.