Union Station Project Details
The $500 million Denver Union Station (DUS) redevelopment is that rare project that not only elevates its immediate surroundings, but an entire city and region. By connecting Metro Denver with Colorado and the rest of the world through nine modes of transportation, DUS has transformed 19.5 acres of abandoned rail yard into a cohesive, inviting urban center featuring new office, retail and residential developments surrounding the freshly renovated Union Station.
A Global Touchstone for Large-scale, Mixed-use Projects
The redevelopment of over 10 city blocks makes this project one of the largest undertakings of its kind in a major U.S. city. But it’s also one of the country’s most complex and successful public-private collaborations. DUS embodies the public-private partnership process from which it was born, blending livability with commerce, utility with aesthetics, mobility with community and history with contemporary sensibilities.
The key entities that partnering together were the Regional Transportation District (RTD), City and County of Denver, Colorado Department of Transportation, Denver Regional Council of Governments, Union Station Neighborhood Company, Union Station Project Authority and the Union Station Alliance. All played key roles in redeveloping Denver Union Station and in creating what is now among the nation’s foremost mixed-use neighborhood.
It all began in 2005 when RTD and the City of Denver solicited proposals from private sector developers to create a design-build solution for the hub of the rapidly expanding Denver Region’s fixed rail commuter system. Continuum Partners and East West Partners decided to form a joint development entity named the Union Station Neighborhood Company to lead this complex project and the rest is history.
A project of such a large and varied scope is also well served by bringing multiple perspectives into the process. So in addition to the joint venture created by Continuum and East West that was chosen to serve as Master Developers, the Union Station Neighborhood Group, a fully integrated design and construction team was assembled.
Today, the entire Union Station Neighborhood works as a powerful economic engine for the city and the region, generating $3.8 billion in initial impact and an additional $2.9 billion of impact on an ongoing basis.
It proves that with skillful planning, expert management, collaborative spirit and vision, a massive multi-modal urban redevelopment can be completed on time and on budget, with an outcome that meets or exceeds the public’s expectations.
A Model for Sustainability
Union Station’s bus concourse was designed and constructed to receive LEED Silver certification. In fact, RTD is one of only a few transit agencies in the country with a facility that has any sort of LEED designation.
Seven skylights provide natural lighting underground. It uses low-flow toilets and an energy-efficient exhaust system that’s the first-of-its-kind.
Most unused construction materials were recycled. Extensive structural enhancements were made to the train hall canopy substructure and underground bus concourse foundations to insure that the private development of adjacent parcels would proceed unimpeded, because the taxes to be generated by their completion were the key to the plan of finance.
The Success Shareholders Envisioned
Since its initial phases opened in 2014, the project has been an unqualified success. It integrated disparate elements into a cohesive, inviting urban center, with 19.5 acres of new office, retail and residential development surround the freshly renovated Union Station.
Multiple modes of transportation, including pedestrian and bicycle traffic, converge upon new bus, light rail, and passenger rail facilities, all comfortably integrated with shops, restaurants, a boutique hotel and inviting public spaces.
And at the heart of the project stands Union Station Terminal, where preservation and adaptive reuse have reached their highest form to maintain the neighborhood’s storied history.