Ambitious Restoration and Redevelopment at Chicago Union Station

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by George K, Feb 18, 2016.

Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Nov 14, 2018 #101

    AGM.12

    A

    AGM.12

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    Jan 3, 2018
    Messages:
    50
    When all of the redevelopment is done, how much additional income can Amtrak expect? I feel that maybe Amtrak should follow the lead of FEC and try to gain as much real estate revenue, even if it means forming a subsidiary to deal with it.
     
  2. Nov 14, 2018 #102

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    cpotisch

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2017
    Messages:
    7,509
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
  3. Dec 7, 2018 #103

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Just a few newer renderings of the office building planned for the Amtrak parking lot.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    image source - Chicago Department of Planning and Development

    Updating an earlier post I made in this thread, Salesforce eventually decided to locate to the yet-to-be-built Wolf Point South. The commitment has prompted the developer to push up groundbreaking on the project. The developers of the Union Station office tower are trying to hammer out an agreement to sign BMO Financial, which would combine current Chicago operations, currently spread out among several Loop locations, plus the transfer of some functions from BMO's Montreal home office.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2018
  4. Dec 7, 2018 #104

    cirdan

    cirdan

    cirdan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,310
    Not exactly ana mazing feat of architecture in my opinion, but at least it's sufficiently respectful of the old Union Station, so that's one thing to be please about, and also an improvement on the hotchpotch of concrete that's on that site now.

    What i don't get is that these modern office towers all have massive ground floor lobbies with esentially wasted space, which essentially leads to the streets feeling like a ghost town if you're  a pedestrian outside of office hours. I would have thought with the proximity to Union Station and all that, they could easily find tenants for some eatery or take out or convenience store on at least one part of that otherwise wated floor area.
     
  5. Dec 7, 2018 #105

    neroden

    n

    neroden

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7,297
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    I hope the new building construction quickly leads to an underground connection to the Blue Line.
     
  6. Dec 7, 2018 #106

    Manny T

    Manny T

    Manny T

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2015
    Messages:
    430
    Location:
    Chicago IL
    The redevelopment plan calls for the addition of "175,000 square feet of office, retail and public space inside the station, including a new entrance and windowed shops along Clinton Street." This is in addition to whatever will be left of the current food court and retail operations. So the area is not likely to be a ghost town.  As for the lobby of the office tower, it will be the entrance of the BMO Harris bank HQ (500,000 square feet) and a 400 room hotel. I think from a branding point of view, they would want a dignified entrance space for their enterprises. Putting fast food,  Panera or Starbucks in that lobby would probably not fit the corporate image of the hotel or BMO Harris. I think this revised plan is about the best we can get.
     
  7. Dec 8, 2018 #107

    Steve4031

    S

    Steve4031

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2002
    Messages:
    5,525
    Location:
    Chicago
  8. Dec 12, 2018 #108

    cirdan

    cirdan

    cirdan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,310
    True, yes, but then maybe the hotel could run something that is more aligned  with their own clientzele,, such as an up-market wine bar or piano bar or a dignified and classy restaurant that could be out to attract  both their own guests and people using Amtrack.
     
  9. Dec 12, 2018 #109

    cirdan

    cirdan

    cirdan

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Messages:
    2,310

    The article makes some interesting points.

    The whole crowd handling and crowd flow side needs to be re-thought if passenger numbers are to increase, and just adding commercial space and ad-hoc passages is not the solution.

    Just wondering though, how great a problem is it really not having thru tracks connect between the North and south sides. Is this being overstated? All trains presently  terminate. Would there be a significant number of trains running thru if this was possible, and would this genuinely open new markets, or is this just a wish disconnected with reality?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 12, 2018
  10. Dec 12, 2018 #110

    jis

    jis

    jis

    Conductor AU Lifetime Supporter Gathering Team Member

    Joined:
    Aug 24, 2003
    Messages:
    24,418
    Location:
    Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
    CUS certainly has very poor pedestrian circulation plan, if there is one at all that is. I think the article makes a very good point about that. It also suffers from extremely narrow platforms, even worse than Penn Station NY. What were they thinking?
     
  11. Dec 13, 2018 #111

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Actually, now that the apartment component has been mercifully exorcised from the head house plan, the developers have decided to divide the 400 planned hotel rooms into two separate hotels, under different flags. 240 rooms for one, 160 rooms for the other. And it appears as if the 240 room hotel will, in fact, be more upscale. The entrance for the 160-room hotel will be located on the Jackson Street side; the entrance for the 240-room hotel will be located on the Adams Street side. ETA-Now that BMO will be locating its offices in the Union Station tower, perhaps the upscale hotel will located on the Jackson Street side, so that accessing the hotel will just require crossing Jackson. Who knows?

    When I get the chance, I'll upload some graphics from the approved plan that show the layout for both hotels. But I will mention now that one feature that was thrown into the redesign, that surprised me, will be the installation of a swimming pool in Union Station's basement. If I have the location correct, it will be located somewhere under the Burlington Room, where the women's restrooms were located.

    Also, the developers are going to bring the taxi drive back into service, for valet parking for hotel guests. Guests will drop off their cars at the entrance of whatever hotel they are staying. Valets will then park the cars on the lower level of the head house. To pick up their cars, guests from both hotels will have to go to the old north taxi drive to get them.

    As an aside, in addition to the 400 hotel rooms that are being built in the head house, an additional 615 hotel rooms are slated to be added at 320 S. Clinton, currently a vacant lot across the street from the current Amtrak parking garage. The planned property will be a Toyoko Inn Hotel, which is a Japanese-owned chain which tends to lean on the "no frills" side. There have been some delays over a dispute with the local alderman, but they did some caisson work earlier in the year, and about 6 weeks ago the city finally gave its approval to some design changes, so construction might get started in earnest soon. I mention it because I find it amusing that within a span of 18 months to 2 years, the number of available hotel rooms within spitting distance of Union Station will go from virtually nil to 1015 rooms.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2018
  12. Dec 13, 2018 #112

    NorthShore

    NorthShore

    NorthShore

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    982
    Location:
    Chicago
    There's already a swimming pool at that level: The Chicago River!
     
  13. Dec 13, 2018 #113

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,992
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Got your cement flip-flops?
     
  14. Dec 14, 2018 #114

    zephyr17

    z

    zephyr17

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2009
    Messages:
    3,853
    Location:
    Washington State
    As designed, with the original open Concourse building, it had great flow.  Of course, they torn down half the station and replaced it with a rabbit warren underneath office towers in its place, a rabbit warren so cramped it kind of makes Penn Station look good.  Then for many years Amtrak essentially moved out of the great hall, and all services were stuffed into the rabbit warren that replaced the original open Concourse, making things worse.  That is a mistake they are starting to undo.

    The narrow platforms are probably at least in part because they had the separate baggage platforms on the other side of the track from the passenger loading platform so that checked baggage handling (and maybe red caps back in the day, don't know about that) didn't conflict with passengers.  They are talking about taking at least some of those out so they can relocate some tracks and widen the platforms, btw.
     
  15. Dec 20, 2018 #115

    neroden

    n

    neroden

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7,297
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    Thanks for the information.  I really hope it's possible to enter the hotels in the headhouse directly from the station, like in Denver; it feels stupid to walk out onto the street in order to go back into the same building.  I'd appreciate an upload of the layouts.
     
  16. Dec 21, 2018 #116

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Sorry for the delay. With the holidays upon us, time is at a premium.

    The images posted here were extracted from a presentation hosted on the local alderman's website. The entire document is available right here.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    You probably noticed the mention of the swimming pool in the above graphic. Looking at the location of the pool (shown as a slight divot in the basement floor) in the following two graphics, I'm guessing that the pool will be located under the Burlington Room, in the northwest corner of the basement.

    Also the floorplan for the concourse level shows the space under the north staircase is designated as "f & b", but does not include the square footage as part of the plan. That leads me to believe that the space will serve as a kitchen for hotel room service and for the Burlington Room and what will probably be function rooms on the roof. That space has direct access to an elevator marked as "F/S", which, I assume, means "Food" and "Service" . The kitchen would have likely been located in the basement, had the basement not been relegated to serve as valet parking space.

    [​IMG]

    The diagram for the concourse level does indicate that both hotels can be accessed from inside the station, by either stairs or elevator.

    Looking at the old Harvey lunchroom, there is much more pedestrian space set aside at concourse level for people who might access the new Clinton St. entrance than renderings previously showed. To compensate for the lost revenue-producing floorspace, it looks like the developers are building a full second floor(save for a small cutout over the entryway). [​IMG][​IMG]

    Below is the layout for the "penthouse" expansion. It does not specify the purpose for that space, whether it will be premium rooms/suites or serve as function space.[​IMG]

    Here's the page that shows the valet pickup for both hotels, that will be located at the old north cab stand, and that hotel valet drop-off will take place at the front of each hotel.[​IMG]

    Hoping that the info answers any questions you might have.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 21, 2018
  17. Dec 21, 2018 #117

    CAQuail

    C

    CAQuail

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2015
    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    Westchester County, New York
    Some of those hotel rooms look absolutely tiny.
     
  18. Dec 21, 2018 #118

    NorthShore

    NorthShore

    NorthShore

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2013
    Messages:
    982
    Location:
    Chicago
    Are they to be converted office spaces from the existing building?
     
  19. Dec 21, 2018 #119

    John Santos

    J

    John Santos

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2018
    Messages:
    37
    They're not rooms.  They're roomettes. ;)
     
  20. Dec 21, 2018 #120

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,120
    Location:
    South Florida
    Looks like the inside rooms have a view into the 'atrium', or 'light court' as named in that...could be more interesting view than an outside view....
     
  21. Dec 21, 2018 #121

    DSS&A

    D

    DSS&A

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    Messages:
    311
    Here are a few photos I took today.  The Burlington Room has blue light bulbs for the Polar  Express train.  The PE train this season consists of GE #64, followed by Horizon coaches 54514, 54577 & 54544, then baggage 61014 (to stage staff and supllies) followed by 3 more Horizon coaches; 54522, 54567 & 54502.

    20181221_120040.jpg

    20181221_115828.jpg

    20181221_115650.jpg

    20181221_115629.jpg
     
  22. Dec 21, 2018 #122

    DSS&A

    D

    DSS&A

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2015
    Messages:
    311
    One more photo of CUS the other day.

    20181207_072609.jpg
     
  23. Jun 22, 2019 #123

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    MisterUptempo

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2014
    Messages:
    173
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    Just a blurb...Demolition of the Amtrak parking structure, directly south of Union Station's headhouse, is scheduled to start on the first or second week of October. It will make way for the 715 ft. BMO Tower.

    I believe that during construction of the foundation and sub levels of the new building that the promised passage from Union Station to the Clinton CTA Blue Line station will take its first step, going as far as the corner of Van Buren and Clinton. It will be up to Chicago DOT to build the final block of passageway to the Blue Line station at Clinton and Congress/I-290/Ida B Wells Dr.
     
    Pere Flyer likes this.

Share This Page

arrow_white