Wednesday, December 21, 2011

RTD board goes ahead with hotel plan for Union Station

In an article on the by Margaret Jackson 12/20/2011 at 7:24 pm it is reported that the RTD Board approved last night moving forward with the recommendation to redevelop Denver Union Station as a hotel with a 14-0 vote.

Members of the Union Station Alliance, the group that proposed the winning use of this historical monument, agreed to let Denver resident Anne Hayes speak for them. Hayes expressed that the team took into consideration the opinions of the stakeholders in the area and that its project will generate more revenue and tax money, since the building will be used 24 hours a day, seven days a week for 365 days a year. It was also mentioned that with the hotel plan, it would become a tourist destination. Others, who chose to speak in favor of the hotel, expressed they thought the number of jobs that would be created with this plan are critical.

Floyd Jones, a downtown resident and membership director for the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce said, “We can create our own economic stimulus.”

The project must still pass approval to qualify for the needed $7.5 million dollar payment from Denver’s Landmark Preservation Commission, which is charged with preserving districts and structures that hold architectural, geographical, or historical significance within the city. In order to receive the money the National Park Service must sign off on the plan.

Union Station Alliance, the group that defeated Union Station Neighborhood Co. proposes the project will be done when the transit at the station opens in 2014. The difference was significant when it came to comparing revenue for the proposed projects. Union Station Alliance had a proposal that would plan to pay RTD 65 million over the 60-year term of the lease and generate 130 million in tax revenue.

Union Station Neighborhood Co. says its plan would generate $42.5 million for RTD over the next 60 years it leases the building from the agency but they did not disclose the estimated tax revenue it would generate.

The main difference in the two plans is that one uses the second floor for office space and the third floor for mechanical systems and the winning plan uses the two floors for 130 hotel rooms. Both plans use the great hall as a hub for transit users surrounded by retail and restaurants.