DENVER -- After years of renovation planning and work and nearly $500 million, Denver Union Station will finally celebrate its grand opening Saturday. RTD's transportation center is the new crown jewel of lower downtown Denver.
It officially opens at 10 a.m. Saturday, with bands, family fun, food trucks and vendors.
The Grand Old Lady, now 134 years ‘young’ has spurred more than $1 billion in commercial and residential development. Developers have completed 14 construction projects in the area, with 11 more underway. They have added 2,100 housing units and two million square feet of office space.
It's also set to be a cultural hub as well with 14 new restaurants, shops and the new luxurious Crawford Hotel all inside the historic building.
Numbers suggest since 2013, 13 corporations have relocated to the Platte Valley bringing lots of jobs, in the past six year nearly 25,000 jobs with an economic impact of more than $3 billion.
“We knew this would be a costly project,” said developer Dana Crawford, the person who the new hotel is named after. “But just as city leaders did in the 1870s –when they built a spur line between Denver and Cheyenne—now city leaders are spending money on trains to planes, in an effort to bring more than 200,000 travelers right into downtown every day.”
Denver Union Station is praised as a major economic engine for the entire region that's now a model for city leaders and planners from around the world to try to emulate.
It will be a transportation hub for buses, trains, bike riders and thousands of downtown commuters. In 2016, a new RTD commuter rail line to Denver International Airport opens for business. Two other new commuter rail lines will also start operations out of Union Station that same year. The North Metro Rail Line, which just broke ground, will start running out of Union Station in 2018.
"I got to see the lobby and the lobby's beautiful, and the hotel is gonna' be great, and I can't wait to access everything here," visitor Stephanie Beville said.
"They incorporated some of the old antique stuff down there with the new stuff and it looks really great," visitor Stephen Clark said.
Added Mayor Michael Hancock: "It's creating new opportunities for people traversing through our city, people who want to live downtown. It's making LODO even more vibrant."
The grand opening was initially scheduled to happen two weeks ago but it was delayed to allow businesses more time to settle into their new spaces and prepare for the crowds.
Some restaurants, bars and retail outlets will not be ready to open to the public Saturday but there will still be plenty to do, see and eat. The street festival begins at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. The opening ceremony happens at 12:00 p.m.
With Manchester United and Roma in town for a match on the Mile High pitch, the Rockies and Bucks at Coors Field, and the big grand opening … lower downtown will be impacted. There are some street closings and many meters will be bagged. If you go, light rail or RTD buses might be the way to get around.
- Wynkoop from 16th to 18th
- Wynkoop to Wazee on 17th
- Wazee from 17th to 18th