Wednesday, October 17, 2012

[UPDATED] Hey, How About Turning Union Station Into...A Soccer Stadium?

Posted By on Wed, Oct 17, 2012 at 8:00 AM

Soon to be invaded by rampaging soccer fans? - IMAGE VIA
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  • Soon to be invaded by rampaging soccer fans?

Update October 17: Alert reader Mike M. from Arlington, Virginia, has written in with a hopeful message about St. Louis' prospects for a Major League Soccer team. Find out what it is at the end of this post.

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Original Post: As far as malls go, Union Station has always been kind of a dud. Sure, the layout is much prettier than the one at the Galleria and the Whispering Arch is pretty neat, but the place might as well have "Tourist Trap" written on it in big neon letters.

As of today, though, the station has a new owner, Lodging Hospitality Management, a Westport-based company that owns, among other properties, the Hilton at the Ballpark and the Cheshire Inn. LHM promises a complete overhaul of the mall -- including a Major League Soccer stadium.

Originally when LHM announced that it planned to buy Union Station, its goals were more modest: trading retail for office and meeting space, converting the hotel from a Marriott to a Double Tree, installing a train museum and maybe offering private train service to Chicago and wineries in Hermann.

But now, nextSTL reports, it is thinking about a soccer stadium, too. Never mind that St. Louis doesn't have a Major League Soccer team (though the dream never dies). We have Saint Louis University! We have youth teams! We have lots of people who would want to kick a ball around a 20,000-seat stadium!

Well, and OK, our prospects for getting an MLS team appear brighter than they have in several years.

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