Historic Station Reuse: Union Station Neighborhood Company

This is one of two special DenverUrbanism blog posts looking at the preliminary plans by two development teams competing for the opportunity to renovate and redevelop Denver’s historic Union Station building. You can view the post about the other team’s plan here.

As you may know, Union Station Neighborhood Company (USNC) is the team comprised of East West Partners and Continuum Partners that won the master developer job for the new construction at Union Station. They recently revealed their proposed ideas for the reuse and renovation of the historic station, which they plan to formally submit as part of RTD’s process to solicit proposals from the development community later this year.

USNC has put together a PDF brochure describing their historic reuse plans (from which the images below were taken). You can download the full PDF using this link (8 MB), or you can click here to view it as an online book.

The USNC plan would restore the grand train room into a transit waiting area with a cafe and lounge, along with transit-supportive uses such as an information kiosk, newsstand, business center, and retail in and around the train room’s edges. Restaurants and retail would be located on the ground-floor of the north wing, while a public market would anchor the ground-floor of the south wing. Commercial office space would occupy the upper floors on the wings.

First, the ground-floor plan, which also shows the two new “wing” buildings to be built on either side of the historic station:

Two renderings of the public market (left) and train room (right):

And finally, another rendering showing how the public market can spill out onto the new Wynkoop Plaza during nice weather:

Many thanks to Frank Cannon at USNC for the images and information!

By | 2011-05-05T15:15:13+00:00 May 5, 2011|Categories: Historic Preservation, Transit-Oriented|10 Comments


  1. Daniel May 5, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I really like this design’s accessibility and usefulness to the community at large. A local market at this location (outdoor farmer’s market in the summer?), along with the additional restaurant space, could make Union Station the focal point for northern downtown. Which is what the building deserves to be. At any rate, I’ll take the market over the giant and I assume swanky restaurant in the other design.

    Still, a boutique hotel would also be perfect for this building. What about combining the two? Use USNC’s ground floor and DUSRT’s hotel, instead of commercial office space, for the upper floors.

  2. Derek Berardi May 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    Not sure about the other concept at this point. Union Station is a unique space and deserves a unique use. The open-air market would bring something to Denver that doesn’t exist yet. Count me in!

  3. David May 5, 2011 at 5:56 pm

    This plan seems to have had more thought given to what will be taking place when a train arrives and departs from a train station than the hotel plan does. Specifically, space for checking and claiming checked baggage is provided in this plan…… but not in the other.

  4. Rob May 6, 2011 at 5:36 am

    I really like this idea better than the hotel. How many hotels can Denver support? Didn’t Sage just buy the old Excel Building on 15th for use as a hotel? And what about the old Colorado Bank building??? I like that there is retail, but there isn’t an overabundance of retail. Yes, the market would be considered a huge amount of retail BUT it’s specific to a certain use. And although a market in a train station is not unique, it would be welcomed (IMO) in Denver. It all comes down to money and who will have it to get this project off the ground and finished. I really truly want Union Station to be a gem and I want the station restored to its former beauty BUT made even better by contemporary touches and accents. Anyway, that’s just my opinion. Too bad, we cant call this neighborhood, UnSto…in honor of LoHi!! :)~

  5. Andy May 6, 2011 at 6:59 am

    I like this concept a lot more than the boutique hotel. The overall theme of the concept seems to make Union Station not just a transportation hub – but an anchor of the neighboorhood and downtown where locals (business types and residents) will frequent often. If executed properly, the market could evolve into something special – potentially centralizing and consolidating the disparate farmers markets throughout Denver, increasing revenue for merchants and options for consumers.

  6. Corey May 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm

    I love the public market idea. A public market is one thing that Denver doesn’t have that would be a tremendous asset. San Francisco, Kansas City, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Washington D.C., Seattle, New Orleans, San Antonio, Baltimore, etc. all have thriving public markets. I agree that a public market and a boutique hotel together would be the optimal use for the building. Commercial space upstairs isn’t necessary.

  7. Mark B May 6, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    This plan isn’t perfect, but it’s superior to the other one. I agree with the other folks posting: the central room can’t be half hotel lobby and half Amtrak–this design respects the original use in a more appropriate way. I love that Dana Crawford is (yet again) introducing the “market” concept, and that it’s in both plans. I’m old enough to remember not only when she owned Larimer Square, but when she first opened The Market. At the time, it was meant to house different food vendors, a la Pike Place, but she had a very difficult time in those pre-historic days getting it to work. It didn’t help that to get to Larimer Square from downtown you had to go through a sea of parking lots. At first on two levels, she had to scale back to just one, leasing the downstairs to an upscale Chinese restaurant, Antonio Tsai (it’s now Osteria Marco), and the multiple vendor idea was replaced with a single operator. Denver is a tad more sophisticated now than it was in 1980 (or whenever that was–1978? 1979?), so this time it might just work.

  8. Matt Pizzuti May 7, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I like this plan a lot, but I would tweak it.

    The hallway that is perpendicular to the train room should line up on both wings of the building to make a straight walk through the building. I might also widen it a tiny bit.

    I’d remove the back row of “pews” to allow the walkway to move unobstructed through the train room and into into the opposite wing.

    That also creates a walkway going through the market. Maybe that walkway could also go through the restaurant on the South wing. That creates more foot traffic through the building as a whole, and helps people get from both wing buildings during the cold months without having to spend as much time outside. Big public buildings like this need more than 2 big entrances; there should be one on each side.

  9. What/s Up? May 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    This is a far better plan! I like it.

    Mr. Puzzuti’s comment about the pews is right on. However, I push the pews together, and, elminate the center aisle. In addition, I would take the center row out for central access. After hours, say 700p, passengers would not mind walking past shuttered stores like within a mall.

    Nice design!

  10. BC May 10, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I like the USNCo plan best, especially the open market. I do like the hotel concept with the other plan however. If they could combine the USNCo plan with the hotel concept for the upper floors it would be ideal.

Comments are closed.