Union Depot $243 million restoration completed in St. Paul

          Union Depot $243 million restoration completed in St. Paul

"Explore, Experience, Embark" Celebration marks public's first return to
renovated icon since 1971

PR Newswire

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 8, 2012

ST. PAUL, Minn., Dec. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Ramsey County Regional Railroad
Authority (RCRRA) today commemorated the end of construction of the $243
million historic restoration of the 90-year-old Union Depot train station and
the return of transportation services to the iconic structure.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20121208/CG26389)

The "Explore. Experience. Embark. The Journey Begins Again" community
celebration is the first time since 1971 that the public has been able to walk
through the historic 27,000-square-foot waiting room that welcomed immigrants
settling in Minnesota, orphans sent westward to new homes, soldiers departing
or returning from war, travelers, redcaps and porters who worked at the Union
Depot and many more. The last passenger train left Union Depot in 1971, and in
1974, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Festivities for the free daylong December 8 celebration include tours of the
historic Union Depot, historical performances and reenactments by Bedlam
Theatre, artists, music, dancing, food from Lowertown restaurants and an
information fair showcasing transportation features of the Union Depot.

December 8 also marks the first day that Metro Transit buses arrive and depart
from Union Depot, with some 300 arrivals and departures scheduled every
weekday. In addition, in early 2013 Jefferson Regional Bus Lines will move its
St. Paul terminus to Union Depot. Later that year One-on-One Bike Shop will
open and Amtraktrains will start arriving and departing from Union Depot. In
2014, Central Corridor Light Rail—the Green Line—will serve Union Depot on
Fourth Street.

"Today we celebrate an important milestone for Union Depot," said Ramsey
County Commissioner Jim McDonough, chair of the RCRRA. "Construction is
completed, the public again has access to this grand neoclassical structure,
and Union Depot will return to its original purpose of being a regional
destination and transportation hub."

Restoration of the near century-old depot, located on a 33-acre site along the
Mississippi River, included returning its original 1920s color scheme through
complete repainting and plaster restoration of the waiting room and head
house; reconstruction of the carriageway; and returning the Fourth Street
entrance to its original design. In addition, new construction involved
rebuilding the train deck and tracks and building a new multilevel passenger
drop-off entrance with ticket and baggage counters.

Mortenson, design-build contractor for Union Depot, with URS Corporation and
HGA Architects, worked to assure that all aspects of the project met historic
guidelines of the State Historical Preservation Office and Saint Paul Heritage
Preservation Commission.

"We are honored to have the privilege to restore Union Depot to its original
grandeur," said Dan Mehls, Vice President, Mortenson. "Workers on this site
recognized the significance of their work in preserving historic memories and
laying the groundwork for future growth and development in the Lowertown
neighborhood."

In summer 2012, RCRRA contracted with national retail management company Jones
Lang LaSalle (JLL) to manage Union Depot operations and lease commercial
retail space. JLL currently operates historic train stations in Chicago, New
York and Washington, D. C., and is in the midst of planning for Union Depot's
future.

"This site, in the heart of the lively artist and entertainment district of
Lowertown, offers businesses an opportunity to interact with thousands of
residents, employees and visitors, as well as passengers arriving daily on
mass transit," said Rick Balow, JLL manager of Union Depot. "Union Depot will
be a vibrant destination offering food, fun and enjoyment for all."

In addition, the historic building will soon be the site of some $1.25 million
in public art, commissioned from America's best public art innovators. Among
the public art installations, which will be installed in 2013, will be a
suspended kinetic sculpture in the Kellogg Boulevard passenger entrance and
historical wall murals in the waiting room that celebrate the site's
multicultural roots.

RCRRA executives are planning a series of celebrations in2013 to mark
milestones of the return of Union Depot as a regional transportation hub.

"We will be recognizing each transforming event in Union Depot's new life as
the Living Room of Lowertown St. Paul, from the opening of the bike station to
the arrival of Amtrak and Green Line LRT trains," McDonough said. "When you're
in St. Paul, you are going to want to stop by and see us."

ABOUT UNION DEPOT
Owned by Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority (RCRRA), Union Depot,
originally built in the 1920s, was placed on the National Register of Historic
Places in 1974. RCRRA secured federal, state and county funding to finance the
$243 million restoration, and major renovation began in 2011 with Mortenson as
the design-build contractor with URS Corporation and HGA Architects &
Engineers. In 2012, RCRRA hired the international retail and management
corporation, Jones Lang LaSalle, to manage the Union Depot and create "The
Living Room of St. Paul" experience at the historic landmark. True to its
roots, by 2014, Union Depot will offer transportation services via Amtrak,
Central Corridor light rail, Jefferson Regional Bus Lines, Metro Transit buses
and One-on-One Bicycle Studio. For more information, go to www.uniondepot.org
or follow Union Depot on Facebook at http://facebook.com/uniondepot.

SOURCE Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority

Website: http://www.uniondepot.org
Contact: Josh Collins, Communications Managers, josh.collins@co.ramsey.mn.us,
direct: +1-651-266-2778, cell: +1-612-524-8011
 
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