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Denver Union Station Update #129: Final Grand Opening Preview

Like many large, complex, redevelopment and infrastructure projects, certain elements are completed before others, providing opportunities to celebrate more than one grand opening. This is the case with Denver’s Union Station project.

Construction began in early 2010. Here’s a photo from our Denver Union Station Update #1 on March 22, 2010, when excavation was just getting started (seems like ages ago, doesn’t it?):

A year and a half later, the new (relocated) Union Station Light Rail Station was the first major component of the half-billion dollar project to be finished, resulting in Union Station’s first grand opening celebration on August 15, 2011. That was followed by 32 additional months of construction after which the project’s two largest transit components, the 22-gate underground Union Station Bus Concourse and the 8-track Union Station Commuter Rail Station opened on May 9, 2014, which we covered here at DenverInfill with six very special grand opening posts and three bonus posts at DenverUrbanism. In the interim, there was also the first Amtrak train to arrive into the new Commuter Rail Station in March 2014. Then, there was the “soft” opening of the historic station on June 12, 2014, with the Crawford Hotel and a few of the station’s new restaurant and retail spaces welcoming their first customers. 

But now, the time has finally arrived for the grand finale of Union Station’s grand opening events! This SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014, is the public’s chance to celebrate the completion of the whole project, with tours of the restored historic station and a major party—food, drink, music and entertainment—on the new (and quite fabulous!) Wynkoop Plaza. The party begins at 10AM, the official ceremony is at NOON, and the festivities run through 3 PM. Here’s a link to the official Union Station grand opening page. PLEASE NOTE, if you want to take a tour of the historic station, you must have a ticket. Use this link which can also be found at the bottom of the official event page to reserve your tour tickets. Again, the final Union Station grand opening event is:

SATURDAY, JULY 26, 2014
10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
17TH & WYNKOOP, LOWER DOWNTOWN DENVER

DenverInfill will be there to photograph the festivities so, if you can’t make it, look for a special Union Station Grand Opening blog post soon after Saturday’s party!


Denver Union Station Update #126: Transit Center Grand Opening Preview

It’s been an amazing four years watching the new Denver Union Station Transit Center take shape. Friday, May 9, 2014, is the Denver Union Station Transit Center grand opening celebration!

Back in March 2010, as construction had just started on the half-billion dollar project, our first Union Station Update post simply stated that DenverInfill had the Denver Union Station project covered, and indeed we did. Here we are, 125 Union Station Update posts later, and that doesn’t count the dozens of posts related to the real estate developments associated with the Union Station project or the dozens of posts before March 2010 related to the planning of the project. Over at DenverUrbanism, we’ve also covered aspects of the Union Station project with numerous updates, such as Shawn’s recent post on the station’s history. Altogether, we’ve served up around 200 posts and over 1,000 photos on the Union Station project. My thanks to all of our DenverInfill and DenverUrbanism bloggers for their dedicated enthusiasm in covering this project!

Then there were our DenverInfill walking tours of the project starting in October 2010. Since then, it has been my pleasure to have led over 50 free tours for the general public, sharing information about Union Station with over 1,200 people. And, due to the generous donations tour attendees offered at the end of these tours, we raised over $7,000 for the non-profit Union Station Advocates and the CU-Denver student chapter of the American Planning Association. To everyone… THANK YOU! Some new version of our DenverInfill walking tour that will focus on general planning and development issues in the Lower Downtown/Union Station area is in the works for later this summer. Stay tuned…

Here’s a quick summary of the May 9 Transit Center Grand Opening festivities:

The celebration—open to the public—will take place from 11 AM to 6 PM in and around the 17th Street Promenade, the new public space above the underground Bus Concourse between Wewatta and Chestnut streets. The official ribbon-cutting and speech-making ceremony will run from Noon to 1 PM. Food, beverages, and other fun activities will be available including, of course, free tours of the new Transit Center facilities. For more information about the party and the Union Station Transit Center, check out RTD’s new Union Station page. It’s pretty slick and offers a lot of cool maps and diagrams about the new Transit Center, such as the one below, courtesy of RTD (click on the image to embiggen or click here to download it as a high-resolution PDF):

2014-05-08_UnionStation-Map

During the weekend celebration, buses will continue to use Market Street Station. In the early morning on Sunday, May 11, Market Street Station will close forever and buses will start using the Union Station Transit Center’s new underground Bus Concourse.

What about the historic station? The restoration of the historic station building is still ongoing and will not open on May 9. However, the completion of the historic station’s renovation and the grand opening of the Crawford Hotel and many of the dozen shops and restaurants inside the station isn’t far off: July 12, 2014. A big public celebration of the historic station’s opening will take place at that time.

The remaining public component of the Union Station project to open is Wynkoop Plaza, Downtown’s newest public space featuring a grand fountain in a beautiful granite-paved plaza. Parts of Wynkoop Plaza in front of the two new wing buildings are already open. The rest of Wynkoop Plaza, including the fountain, is supposed to open sometime in June 2014. That gives us yet another Union Station celebration to look forward to!

Once the historic station opens in July, the next big grand opening event at Union Station will be the launch of RTD’s East Line commuter rail service to Denver International Airport. Leaving from Track #1 under Union Station’s dramatic white canopy and arriving at DIA’s under-construction hotel and transit center, the East line is currently scheduled to begin service in March 2016. That’s only 22 months away!

Have fun this weekend at the Transit Center grand opening and look for additional DenverInfill and DenverUrbanism posts on this weekend’s festivities over the next few days!


Denver Union Station Tour This Saturday, November 16, 2013

Please join me this Saturday, November 16, 2013 for an informative walk around the Denver Union Station project area and a discussion about this major transformative project. Construction activity is everywhere and the project will be finished next summer, so come on down and check out all that’s going on before it’s finished!

Please note: This will be the last tour until March 2014 at the earliest.

Here’s how it works: Go to the LoDo side of the historic station at about 9:50 AM—meet at the corner of 17th and Wynkoop. Whoever shows up, that will be our tour group. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 AM and conclude around 11:15 AM at the light rail/mall shuttle station  by the Millennium Bridge.

The tour is free and open to the public; however, at the end of the tour, I will collect donations for the non-profit Student Chapter of the American Planning Association at the University of Colorado Denver. You are more than welcome, however, to take the tour whether you make a donation or not. See you Saturday!


Denver Union Station Tour This Saturday, November 2, 2013

Please join me this Saturday, November 2, 2013 for an informative walk around the Denver Union Station project area and a discussion about this major transformative project. Construction activity is everywhere and the project will be finished next summer, so come on down and check out all that’s going on before it’s finished!

Here’s how it works: Go to the LoDo side of the historic station at about 9:50 AM—meet at the corner of 17th and Wynkoop. Whoever shows up, that will be our tour group. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 AM and conclude around 11:15 AM at the light rail/mall shuttle station  by the Millennium Bridge.

The tour is free and open to the public; however, at the end of the tour, I will collect donations for the non-profit Student Chapter of the American Planning Association at the University of Colorado Denver. You are more than welcome, however, to take the tour whether you make a donation or not. See you Saturday!

Please note: I typically take December, January, and part of February off from doing our Union Station tours, so this is likely to be one of the last of our tours for 2013. Additionally, by the time March 2014 rolls around, the project will be almost finished (it’s planned to open in May 2014), so I’m not sure if I’ll even do any Union Station tours next spring given how close it will be to the grand opening. Therefore, this coming Saturday may be one of your last opportunities to take our Union Station tour before the project opens.


Denver Union Station Tour This Saturday, October 19, 2013

Please join me this Saturday, October 19, 2013 for an informative walk around the Denver Union Station project area and a discussion about this major transformative project. Construction activity is everywhere and the project will be finished next summer, so come on down and check out all that’s going on before it’s finished!

Here’s how it works: Go to the LoDo side of the historic station at about 9:50 AM—meet at the corner of 17th and Wynkoop. Whoever shows up, that will be our tour group. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 AM and conclude around 11:15 AM at the light rail/mall shuttle station  by the Millennium Bridge.

The tour is free and open to the public; however, at the end of the tour, I will collect donations for the non-profit Student Chapter of the American Planning Association at the University of Colorado Denver. You are more than welcome, however, to take the tour whether you make a donation or not. See you Saturday!


Denver Union Station Tour This Saturday, September 21, 2013

Please join me this Saturday, September 21, 2013 for an informative walk around the Denver Union Station project area and a discussion about this major transformative project. Construction activity is everywhere and the project will be finished next summer, so come on down and check out all that’s going on before it’s finished!

Here’s how it works: Go to the LoDo side of the historic station at about 9:50 AM—meet at the corner of 17th and Wynkoop. Whoever shows up, that will be our tour group. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 AM and conclude around 11:15 AM at the light rail/mall shuttle station  by the Millennium Bridge.

The tour is free and open to the public; however, at the end of the tour we will collect donations for the non-profit Student Chapter of the American Planning Association at the University of Colorado Denver. You are more than welcome, however, to take the tour whether you make a donation or not. See you Saturday!


Denver Union Station Tour This Saturday, September 7, 2013

Please join me this Saturday, September 7, 2013 for an informative walk around the Denver Union Station project area and a discussion about this major transformative project. Construction activity is everywhere and the project will be finished next summer, so come on down and check out all that’s going on before it’s finished!

Here’s how it works: Go to the LoDo side of the historic station at about 9:50 AM—meet at the corner of 17th and Wynkoop. Whoever shows up, that will be our tour group. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 AM and conclude around 11:15 AM at the light rail/mall shuttle station  by the Millennium Bridge.

The tour is free and open to the public; however, at the end of the tour we will collect donations for the non-profit Student Chapter of the American Planning Association at the University of Colorado Denver. You are more than welcome, however, to take the tour whether you make a donation or not. See you Saturday!


Denver Union Station Tour This Saturday, August 24, 2013

Please join me this Saturday, August 24, 2013 for an informative walk around the Denver Union Station project area and a discussion about this major transformative project. Construction activity is everywhere and the project will be finished next summer, so come on down and check out all that’s going on before it’s finished!

Here’s how it works: Go to the LoDo side of the historic station at about 9:50 AM—meet at the corner of 17th and Wynkoop. Whoever shows up, that will be our tour group. We’ll start promptly at 10:00 AM and conclude around 11:15 AM at the light rail/mall shuttle station  by the Millennium Bridge.

The tour is free and open to the public; however, at the end of the tour we will collect donations for the non-profit Student Chapter of the American Planning Association at the University of Colorado Denver. You are more than welcome, however, to take the tour whether you make a donation or not. See you Saturday!