Union Station Reveals Renovations To Grand Hall And Shares Plans For Further Developments

By Molly Rippinger
In Culture

Recent renovations of Downtown’s Union Station, which was built in 1894, have helped lift the National Historic Landmark back to its former glory. The Grand Hall reopened on Saturday, May 10 during National Train Day to reveal an expanded 22-seat bar, a restored coffee and gift shop area and also a state-of-the-art, 3-D entertainment display that’s projected on the hall’s 65-foot ceilings. The redesigned 50,000-square-foot exhibit space has also been a hit, already hosting numerous functions including ALIVE’s Fashion Week.

Image courtesy of Union Station

Image courtesy of Union Station

Updates to the Grand Hall are only phase one of the multimillion-dollar investment made by Lodging Hospitality Management, which purchased the space back in 2012. Renovations are also being made to 539-room Double Tree Hotel and plans are in the works for the retail area of Union Station, transforming the storefronts into a family-friendly destination. Part of those plans include installation of a 200-foot Ferris wheel that’s projected to take about 18 months to build and cost around $10 million.

Even though the renovation process is still ongoing, there’s plenty to see and do at Union Station. Multiple times a day the ceiling in the Grand Hall is transformed by high-definition projection mapping that consists of 30 vivid vignettes. Technomedia, the same company commissioned for the Michael Jackson “ONE” tour with Cirque de Soliel, developed the unique technology that’s the first of its kind for a space like Union Station. The immersive 3-D experience includes music and voiceovers from St. Louis greats, such as John Goodman and Joe Buck, with historical images and engaging animations.

The Grand Hall also has new dining options that are inspired by those found at railroad stations during the 1940s. Classics, such as oysters Rockefeller and shrimp cocktail, offer a taste of the past while local favorites like toasted ravioli and flatbreads help keep everyone happy. Cocktails also nod to the traditions of railroad stations past with a menu full of riffs on gimlets, martinis and Manhattans.

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