Did you know?

That the Beaux Arts style center of the station replaced an earlier Victorian style tower? This explains why it is a different style than the two wings of the building, which are original.

Union Station

On November 6 the Denver Landmark Commission reviewed proposed plans for the conversation of Denver Union Station into a 21st century transportation hub and hotel.  The selected development team, Union Station Alliance, made the presentation and the LPC provided preliminary approval.

Previously, the National Parks Service granted approval to the proposed designs.  NPS approval is required because Union Station Alliance intends to employ the federal preservation tax credits.

Historic Denver will post details on these reviews as soon as they become available.


On December 20, 2011 the board of RTD voted in favor of a proposed hotel redevelopment at Denver Union Station.  The transit agency board voted 14-0, with one abstention, in support of a $48 million proposal by a consortium called Union Station Alliance.  The USA plan calls for redeveloping the upper levels of the historic train depot as a 130-room hotel, with retail and restaurants on the ground floor.  RTD staff and an evaluation committee earlier had recommended the USA plan over a competing proposal by Union Station Neighborhood Co., which called for a fresh food marketplace on the station’s ground floor with restaurants and retail, and office space on the second and third floors.

Prior to this decision the Board of Historic Denver communicated our position to the RTD Board, indicating that while some meaningful preservation challenges lie ahead, both proposals represented credible options that could be accomplished in keeping with our long-term aspirations for the structure. 
As an organization focused on seeing local historic legacies such as Union Station saved and responsibly re-purposed in ways that respect the building’s history and its important structural elements, we were gratified and reassured to see that these same considerations clearly informed both proposals.

We also recognize that any proposed changes to the exterior of the structure will be subject to design review oversight by the Denver Landmark Preservation Commission and its experienced staff. In addition, to the extent either of the groups intends to rely on federal historic preservation tax credits, both interior and exterior changes will be the subject of review and oversight by the National Park Service and the Colorado State Historic Preservation Office.

In months prior to this decision Historic Denver participated in the Stakeholders Group meetings convened by RTD to help construct recommendations to the RTD Board on the future of the historic station.  After months of meetings with representatives from the residents and businesses of the LoDo neighborhood, the City of Denver, DUSPA, Union Station Advocates, Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP), and RTD, Historic Denver felt that the recommendations will help guide the preservation of this icon, activate its interior and plaza spaces, and connect the station more efficiently with the neighborhood, city, and region.

Furthermore, in July 2011 Historic Denver completed a full Historic Structures Assessment of Denver Union Station.  The project, funded by the Colorado State Historical Fund, provided in-depth analysis of the historic station's key characteristics and systems.  The assessment was completed by Slater Paul Architects, with grant management services provided by Historic Denver.  The HSA provides a road map for anyone who wants to redevelop the station in a manner that will honor the historic integrity of the building while providing space and services for new uses.

Download the final HSA here
 for all the details.  (Please note, the document is more than 700 pages, so it may take several minutes to load onto your screen).


More Information:

Union Station Alliance - Selected to develop the historic Union Station building.

Denver Union Station Project Authority
 - The Denver City Council created the Denver Union Station Project Authority (DUSPA) which is responsible for the financing, acquiring, owning, equipping, designing, constructing, renovating, operating and maintaining the Denver Union Station redevelopment project.

Union Station Neighborhood Company - Master Developer of the 19.5-acre site around Union Station.

Slideshow presented at Downtown Denver Partnership's Member Forum: “Denver Union Station: Downtown Denver's Emerging District"

Denver Infill

Past Discussions on Design

On February 11, 2009 the Union Station Neighborhood Company and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) released draft #5 of the Urban Design Standards and Guidelines for Denver’s Union Station.

A meeting was held on February 18, 2009  in which SOM summarized the make-up of the document and outlined its desired intent.  An invitation to comment on the document was made concurrently to the members of the Union Station Advisory Committeeand other consulting parties to the process.  A deadline was set for March 5th for the public and advisory members to comment, while a deadline of March 16th was set for consulting parties’ comments based on an earlier agreement. Those comments are now in and are being analyzed.  A summary of comments from the public and consulting parties have been compiled and grouped according to popular categories:

  • Public Space
  • Sidewalks/Streetscapes
  • Historic Station
  • Transit Architecture
  • Mixed Use Building Design
  • Bicycle Circulation
  • Parking
  • Sustainable Design
  • Interim Conditions

The General Development Plan for Denver Union Station was presented to the Land Use and Urban Design break-out group (BOG) and has now been sent to the City for review.  Much of the content of the General Development Plan has been crafted over the seven year run of the Union Station Advisory Committee which momentously ended its existence as of Wednesday, March 18, 2009.  

Historic Denver has had a representation on the advisory committee and participated actively in visioning efforts. The new authority taking the place of the Advisory Committee is named Denver Union Station Project Authority (DUSPA) and was created by Denver City Council. It has a Board of Directors with membership incorporating representatives of all the partner agencies. DUSPA will be the primary financing entity for the project and will be the contracting entity for the construction contracts.  It is likely also to be a key component of any governance structure that is developed for the project.  The DUSPA Board meets twice monthly.

For more information about the Denver Union Station’s Urban Design Standards and Guidelines, visit www.denverunionstation.org.