Return of Rail Could Be Ticket to Reviving Landmark St. Louis Station
The sale of St. Louis's Union Station to Bob O'Loughlin's Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) for $20 million is due to be completed this week. As soon as the ink is dry, LHM plans to embark immediately on plans to revive the national historic landmark with "more hotel and office space, less retail – and maybe even a return of trains, along with a transportation museum," reports Tim Bryant.
"Union Station fell empty after Amtrak left [in 1978]," notes Bryant. "A $140 million renovation and restoration by the Rouse Co., of Baltimore, produced a grand re-opening in 1985 under Rouse's model of 'festival marketplace.' Business was good for a few years, but without a strong anchor the station fell out of favor with St. Louis residents and tourists."
"O'Loughlin said he hopes Union Station will succeed this time with a mixture of stores, offices and a hotel similar to Westport Plaza, where LHM is headquartered. Anchoring Union Station with trains should help bring back the good times, he added."