$100M Remake of Union Station Moves Ahead, Ferris Wheel Included

LHM file photo 2

According to the Post-Dispatch, the next redevelopment of St. Louis’s historic Union Station is set to break ground next month. Planned are more hotel rooms and more entertainment, including light shows, a fire show, and a 3D experience.

Past plans for a roller coaster are no more, but the 200-foot Ferris Wheel is still planned, and the historic train shed will see a full restoration. The total project is expected to be near $100M.

Recent investments at Union Station, such as the Grand Hall laser light show and specialty train excursions have proved popular and so the larger redevelopment plan was tweaked to capitalize. Most retail tenants, save a Cardinals shop and The Fudgery, are expected to go, again according to the Post-Dispatch.

The Ferris Wheel will be similar to SkyView Atlanta, which features 42 enclosed gondolas and rises 200 feet above Centennial Park. The Union Station Ferris Wheel is planned to open in 2018. Also planned are shipping containers converted to accommodate food venders and a new pedestrian entrance at Clark Avenue and 18th Street.

US Ferris Wheel


From our previous story, $70 Million Amusement Park Project Next Phase for Union Station Redevelopment:

{looking east on Eugenia Street toward the train shed – image by Paul Sableman}

The $50 million phase one included renovation of the historic Grand Hall, which also serves as the lobby for the St. Louis Union Station Hotel. The Grand Hall, with its sweeping archway, fresco and gold leaf detailing, mosaics and art glass windows, stands 65 feet at its tallest point.

{the immaculately renovated Grand Hall is home to a laser light show – image by Paul Sableman}

The second phase will also include historic rehabilitation. LHM intends to renovate the 11.5-acre train depot shed. Noted engineer George H. Pegram designed the enormous single-span train shed. It was not only one of the largest train sheds ever built, but it also covered the greatest number of tracks at the time it was constructed.

Earlier this year, LHM announced an excursion train billed as the Polar Express, based on the popular children’s book, would depart Union Station. The train rides begin November 22. The idea has proved to be popular. Last month, half a dozen additional dates were added to the calendar.

Union Station - St. Louis, MO

Union Station - St. Louis, MO

{imagining how a Ferris wheel at Union Station might appear}

According to the documents, LHM expects the second phase of the development will allow the City to maximize the potential of productive properties in this portion of downtown. LHM claims parking and infrastructure improvements will augment properties close by including the U.S. Post Office, Scottrade Center, and Peabody Opera House.

In October 2012, LHM purchased the nearly vacant property for $20 million. The company also intends to utilize federal historic preservation and Missouri historic tax credits along with Brownfield tax credits on the second phase of the project.

{the train shed has been partially developed into a hotel, restaurants, and retail shops – image by Paul Sableman}

{a small pond with boat rentals and adjacent restaurants fills part of the shed – image by Paul Sableman}

{a view of the shed looking north across the existing parking lot}

Union Station - St. Louis, MO

*top image by Paul Sableman – pasa47 on Flickr