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Denver Union Station: Final Update – A Look Back

I didn’t start posting on Denver Union Station until Update 103, when construction of the project was in full swing. Before that, Rick Anstey was the Denver Union Station guru and avid poster. At the time Update 103 came out, the underground bus facility was capped from Chestnut to Wewatta, the old light rail station was long gone, the parking lots were torn up along Wynkoop Street, and construction for the North Wing Building had just started. It was still a whole different story than it is today; there was still a lot of dirt and not much vertical construction, as everything was still underground. In this post every ‘before’ picture will be accompanied by a present day photo. Let’s begin!

UnionStation8.10.5 2014-07-27_DUSGO-07

UnionStation8.10.6 2014-07-27_DUSGO-14

UnionStation8.10.4 2014-05-10_SouthWing-03

Update 103 was also the last time we had a look inside the historic station. Remember Ken’s Union Station tours? That particular day attracted a large crowd as he and Dana Crawford discussed the future of the historic station.

UnionStation8.10.2 2014-07-27_DUSGO-13

Fast forward to Update 105 and 106. I had my first hard hat tour of the project, which was very exciting for both DenverInfill readers and me personally. The foundation for the canopy had just started to go in and the underground bus facility was still a concrete shell.

USTour8.18 2014-05-10_ThePlatform-04

DUSBus8.23 2014-05-09_DUSGrandOpeningP2-05

Then things started to get exciting above ground. My favorite piece in the whole project, the commuter rail station canopy, started to go vertical.

DUS10.14 2013-11-28_DUSCanopy-01

DUSCanopy2.1.26 2013-09-01_DUSPlatforms-05

As months passed, there was a lot of visible construction which made for some exciting photos. In Update 115, Ken snapped a great picture of the first fabric pieces getting installed to the commuter rail station canopy.

2013-05-05_union-station-115-canopy 2014-07-31_DUSLB-01

Jumping to Update 121, the plazas were starting to take shape and the historic station was wrapped in scaffolding while it was undergoing a full restoration. The North Wing building had just topped out and the glass facade was peeking out from under the plastic.

2013-07-14_DUS-NorthWing-03 2014-07-27_DUSGO-08

Then the most exciting aspects of the project came around: sections were starting to open to the public. It was before my time reporting on Union Station when the light-rail station opened back in May 2012 however, I did get to witness the 17th Street Gardens, commuter rail train station, underground bus facility, historic station, and Wynkoop Plaza opening!

2014-07-13_UnionStation-01 2014-05-09_DUSGrandOpeningP2-09

2014-05-09_DUSGrandOpeningP1-02 2014-07-27_DUSGO-02

 2014-07-31_DUSLB-03

This project has completely transformed what was once a barren wasteland situated between two great neighborhoods. Denver Union Station is now the new hot spot in Downtown Denver and will continue thriving as the private sector developments keep rolling in. This was my personal experience from when I started covering this project to sitting here tonight typing up this post. Needless to say, it has been quite a ride. Welcome back to Downtown Denver, we are so glad you are back! I’m looking forward to hearing your experiences and stories during this project’s journey!

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5 Comments

  1. Lance Newcomb says:

    How many “Final” updates are there going to be?

  2. Nathanael says:

    Should I await the Union Station update in 2016 when the East, Gold, and NW Rail Lines arrive? :-)

  3. Dan says:

    What months are each line supposed to open in 2016?

    • Ryan Nee says:

      I have struggled to find specifics on this, but from a chart on the Eagle P3 website it looks like the lines should open in this order at roughly these times:

      — Spring 2016: East line to DIA
      — Summer 2016: Northwest segment to South Westminster (the beginnings of the Northwest/Boulder line)
      — Fall 2016: Gold line to Ward Road / Arvada / Wheat Ridge

      I would love to see a DenverInfill or DenverUrbanism post detailing any known future dates about Fastracks / Union Station / etc. I feel like a lot of the major milestones are behind us, but I’m wondering what’s next.

  4. Ryan Nee says:

    Even though I have been watching the project almost daily since its inception, I can’t get over some of the “before” pictures. So much dirt!

    I can’t wait until the whole Central Platte valley is unrecognizable by today’s standards and neighborhoods like Prospect and Riverfront Park so connected to everything that you would never know they existed in any other way.