Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Denver Union Station

An interesting article about Denver providing a "moral obligation" "backstop" for federal loans to rebuilt Union Station. This in turn inspired me to check out the future, or rather futuristic, renderings of what the station will look like. I'm sure this will all go smoothly and there will be no need for Denver to tap up to $300 million of general-fund money - just like Invesco Field ($47 million overrun), or DIA ($3.1 billion overrun), or FasTracks ($1.8 billion overruns to date). Also interesting that heaven help you if you want to build a modern-style duplex in Denver, but the renderings indicate an outrageous swoopy white canopy structure clashing wildly with the historic station.

As construction is to start next week, I headed down to take a few pictures and look around. When I started working downtown in 2004, I took the Boulder express bus, which first stops at Union Station. I quickly realized that I could walk through the Union Station faster than the bus could get to Market Street Station. So for a few years my work day started with a trip into the past:





Some days the station was full of people waiting for a train. Other days, like today, it was starkly empty:



It's quite a surprise to step out of LoDo, one of the most highly redeveloped (and gentrified) areas in the West into a real live operating train station, complete with old timey schedule:



But real it is, as I found out a few weeks ago when I took Will-J down to look at the trains. A real live stationmaster told us that we were trespassing (even though we weren't) and contemplated calling the real live police.

I can't say I'll miss the "old" Union Station, although I'd rather revamping it didn't include my portion of a possible $300 million bill. It is a pretty old place, though, and I'm interested to see how the construction develops.

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