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Monday, January 11, 2016

5 Things That Excite Us About the Union Station Reboot

Posted By on Mon, Jan 11, 2016 at 11:42 AM

click to enlarge Big changes will be rolling in to Union Station this February. - ST. LOUIS UNION STATION
  • St. Louis Union Station
  • Big changes will be rolling in to Union Station this February.

St. Louis Union Station will be getting a face lift starting February 16 — and we're not talking just a few swipes of fresh paint. This will be an entire concept revamp for the 122-year-old property.

Union Station's St. Louis-based owner, Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), and Groundswell Design Group of Philadelphia, Pa. are turning the wannabe mall into a family-friendly entertainment destination. So what can you expect, exactly? Here are the five things that excite us about the Union Station reboot. 

1. The Ferris Wheel
When you're mourning Six Flags during the dark days of winter, you'll be able to get your amusement fix on The St. Louis Wheel. Open year-round, this observation-style Ferris wheel will boast 42 fully enclosed gondolas, each with enough space to ride with seven of your closest friends. And if you're feeling really fancy, you can take a spin in the VIP gondola, complete with leather bucket seats, a stereo system and a glass floor. Carnival rides never looked this cool. 

2. The Light Tunnel

The kids will actually ask to go to Union Station thanks to the sights in the Gateway Light Tunnel. This illuminated archway, which will greet pedestrians entering from 18th and Clark Street, will hold a light show synchronized to music every 30 minutes in the evening. It will also be home to BBQ and beer festivals, farmers markets, live entertainment and craft fairs among other events. Then make your way to the lake, where you will find a fire show and 3-D animation activation.  

Admit it, your inner kid is grinning, too. 

3. A Train-Themed Hotel
The hotel will have room for all of your extended family, and they'll actually want to stay there instead of your house when they come to town (yay!). Gone will be the days of Union Station's retail stores; in their place will be 30,000 square feet of additional private event space and 48 hotel rooms (bringing the room total to 587).

These rooms will be high-end. Think: 50-inch TV with sound bars for an "in-room theater experience," hardwood floors and walk-in showers. But even more importantly for train enthusiasts, there's a railroad theme with some cool touches. Guests will be given a personalized train ticket for their room when they check in. 

4. More Park Space
We won't simply be adding to the concrete jungle. The plan will also include an expansion of green space, which will extend outside the Hard Rock Cafe and into a central plaza toward the lake and Landry's restaurant. 

5. Dining in Train Cars 
Despite the renovation, Union Station's history as a major rail hub will be honored in the new project. Not only will the hotel rooms be redesigned to reflect Union Station's original railroads, but the current outdoor space will offer a variety of food and drink options housed in an array of vintage train cars and repurposed shipping containers. They call it a "food-train park," and they're promising barbecue, burgers and craft beer and wine, among other options.

The official completion date has yet to be announced. Stay tuned in the meantime, as an extra 75,000 square-feet of indoor space is currently being considered for as the location for a "major family attraction." We're told details on that will be coming this spring. 

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