Landmark Becomes 21st Century Transit Hub
The Neo-Classical style Union Depot, designed by architect Charles Sumner Frost, opened to the public in 1926 and was served by nine different railroads. Considered the “Gateway to the West” at its peak, there were 282 trains daily, with ten platforms serving twenty passenger tracks and four freight tracks.
Union Depot was then shuttered until the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority (RCRRA) initiated the conversion of the property in 2001. The impetus: the arrival of Light Rail Transit to St. Paul.
Our team worked with the RCRRA to transform the Union Depot into a 21st century multi-modal transportation hub, consisting of five historically significant components: the three-story head house, the elevated two-story concourse and waiting room, the train deck, and the parking garage below. Additionally, Union Depot connects with several major street arteries, including Kellogg Boulevard, nearby Interstates, recreational bicycle trail system, and the Mississippi River corridor one block away.
Our design for Union Depot combines historic restoration and new construction with extensive infrastructure and civil engineering upgrades. Design details include a new main entrance along Kellogg Boulevard for the new Light Rail Transit line and bus connections, new platform/circulation structures, a refurbished grand waiting room with restored skylights (which had been blacked out for fear of air raids during World War II), Amtrak and Jefferson Lines ticketing booths, and modernized train deck with public park amenities. The project also required extensive parking deck reconstruction.
As a way to connect with the local community in new and exciting ways, Union Depot also includes extensive space for events, arts, and cultural programming, and provides opportunity for the public to enjoy the building once again. The project has helped ignite a Renaissance of the Lowertown neighborhood of St. Paul, and the unique combination of historic preservation and future multi-modal transportation has made Union Depot a model for the rest of the country.Portfolio
St. Paul, Minnesota
Lobby/Public Space, Transit
Awards & Recognition
- 2014 Sustainable Saint Paul, Commercial Green Building Design Award
- 2014 Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission/AIA Saint Paul Restoration Award
- 2014 IES/IIDA Regional Guth Award for Interior Lighting Design
- 2014 IES/IIDA Section Guth Award for Interior Lighting Design
- 2014 GE Edison Sustainable Design Award for Lighting
- 2014 IFMA Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter, Best of Show
- 2014 IFMA Minneapolis/St. Paul Chapter, Adaptive Re-Use Award of Excellence
- 2013 AIA Minnesota Honor Award
- 2013 Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Honor Award
- 2013 American Public Works Association Project of the Year
- 2013 Finance & Commerce Magazine, Top Projects of 2012
- 2013 Design-Build Institute of America-Upper Midwest Region Design-Build Excellence Award, Best Project
- 2013 Design-Build Institute of America-Upper Midwest Region Design-Build Excellence Award, Best Rehabilitation/Renovation/Restoration Project
- 2013 Minnesota Concrete & Masonry Contrators Association, Honor Award for Excellence in Concrete Design & Construction
- 2012 Minnepolis/St. Paul Business Journal Best in Real Estate Best of Show Award
- 2012 Minnepolis/St. Paul Business Journal Best in Real Estate Adaptive Reuse Award
- 2011 Saint Paul Heritage Preservation Commission/AIA Saint Paul Cultural Heritage Award (Historic Structures Report)
- 2011 Preservation Alliance of Minnesota Honor Award (Historic Structures Report)