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Old July 30th, 2009, 08:34 PM   #101
spyguy
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http://chicago2ndward.com/2009/06

2nd Ward Projects
Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009


Union Station:
The Union Station Head House, located at 210 N. Canal, is set for rehabilitation and redevelopment. The eight story building will be become a twenty-six story center for office and retail space, hotel lodging, conference rooms, residential condominiums, and over 250 below ground parking spaces. This development not only brings a splendid building but jobs, living space, and businesses to our Ward.


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Is this project really any closer to starting?
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Old July 30th, 2009, 09:10 PM   #102
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I dunno. Bob Fioretti needs to revise his page... I believe it also notes the original Post Office project.
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Old January 31st, 2010, 02:24 AM   #103
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Nothing about the expansion in this article but Kamin points out so good (though obvious) points about Union Station and any new HSR........


Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/travel...0,316129.story

High-speed rail is about more than trains, track
Architects could help America think differently about train travel

By Blair Kamin Architecture critic

January 31, 2010

.........But if a new order is to replace the old one, much more needs to be done than speeding up the trains. The entire passenger experience has to be thought through, from curbside to train shed. If you doubt that, take a look at the mess in Union Station, the likely hub of Midwest high-speed rail.

Envisioned by Daniel Burnham in his 1909 Plan of Chicago and completed in 1925 to the design of his successor firm, Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, Union Station once stirred the soul with spaces of Roman grandeur. Not now. Not by a long shot.

Today, the station, which serves Metra commuter rail trains as well as Amtrak trains, is (or should be) a civic embarrassment. The traveling public must endure a maze of corridors, packed waiting rooms and the stench of train fumes. The grandly scaled waiting room, with its sky-lit, barrel-vaulted ceiling, is empty most of the time — an ironic state of affairs, given the congestion elsewhere in the station. The room's most effective use these days is as a movie set or a camera-ready backdrop for local politicians, who held a news conference on high-speed rail there Friday.

A 1991 renovation by Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange upgraded ticket counters, along with Amtrak waiting areas and baggage-handling systems. But Amtrak, which owns the station through a subsidiary, runs far more short-haul trains now than it did then, so its facilities are overwhelmed. Even Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari says the situation is unacceptable. And well it should be. How do you get people to take the train instead of the plane if you're going to treat them with such disrespect?..............

There are the usual studies to be done, such as the one city transportation officials will conduct of the proposed $2 billion West Loop Transportation Center under Clinton Street, which would connect Union Station and the Ogilvie Transportation Center with CTA buses and rail lines, Pace buses and high-speed rail. But the real task is for Amtrak and Chicago's planners to come to terms with the changes that have made the once-grand Union Station a sad relic — and then come up with a vision to transform it..............
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Old February 1st, 2010, 09:02 PM   #104
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I'm always reminded of how utterly craptastic most of Union Station is, especially when I walk down the north entrance stairs. Nothing says "Welcome to Union Station" better than a face full of diesel fumes. Unfortunately, since the platforms are buried beneath buildings, it'll take a small miracle to improve anything.
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:39 PM   #105
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That seems like an odd objection, as the north entrance stairs go directly to the platforms. It was added about 1995 as a convenience, so you wouldn't have to walk outdoors all the way to Adams. And now you're complaining that when you go down to the train platform, there are trains down there?
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Old February 1st, 2010, 10:41 PM   #106
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And I assume that all of that money that's being thrown around doesn't include electrifying everything.



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Old February 2nd, 2010, 01:43 AM   #107
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No, and given that Chicago will always be the hub the transcontinental hub there will always need to take account for the diesel-electrics even if they electrified Midwest or Metra rail.

Quote:
http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....snt-work-.html

February 01, 2010
Why Union Station doesn't work: For starters, the destruction of its concourse building in 1969

In my Friday post on President Obama's $8 billion high-speed rail plan and what it means for Union Station, I didn't have space to delve into one reason the station is such a warren: The 1969 destruction of its classically-inspired, riverfront concourse building, which was replaced by an utterly undistinguished commercial complex built using air rights above the concourse.

It's a long--and sorry--tale that echoes New York's far more infamous (and equally misguided) demolition of the great Pennsylvania Station.

As you can see in this photo of Union Station (above), which was designed by the distinguished Chicago firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the station once consisted of two parts: A headhouse building west of Canal Street, which contained the main waiting room, and a vaulted concourse building, where passengers boarded and disembarked from trains.

With passenger train traffic spiraling downward in the 1960s, the consortium of railroads that owned Union Station sold the air rights above the tracks and platforms of the concourse building to allow the construction of two office buildings. The concourse building was demolished in 1969--just three years after wreckers finished destroying an even more notable example of "American Renaissance" architecture, New York's Pennsylvania Station (below).

What replaced the concourse building? Not much of architectural or civic value.

Two buildings went up: 222 S. Riverside Plaza, a bland, gridded office tower (below), and the Union Station Multiplex (originally the MidAmerica Commodity Exchange) at 444 W. Jackson Blvd., a low-slung, lower-quality version of the John Hancock Center. Amtrak, now the station's owner, didn't come into existence until 1971.

The replacement buildings are as uninspired as their counterparts at the Pennsylvania Plaza complex in New York, and they offer the same desultory results--bland commercial modernism above, a rat-maze train station below.

What's past is prologue: If you're coming from the Loop to Union Station, you enter the station through the cramped base of 222 S. Riverside, where the grandeur of space still evident in the headhouse's Great Hall is altogether absent. The claustrophic corridors and crowded Amtrak facilities at Union Station sit beneath 222 S. Riverside.

"We're constrained by the footings" of that office building, Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari told me. "We're constrained by the cards we were dealt by the past owners."

When the Chicago Architectural Club ran a design competition for a high-speed rail station in 2008, it fancied that 222 S.Riverside and the Union Station Multiplex would disappear--or that someone would come up with the money to buy them and get rid of them.

The winning scheme, by Michael Cady, Elba Gil, David Lillie and Andres Montana (below), envisioned a flexible, ground-level public space, with openings that would provide views down into the station. The openings would admit natural light into the station--a quality sorely missing in the subterranean grotto of 222 S. Riverside. The spaces would be generous, not cramped, and it would be easy to find your way around.

"I go through [Union Station] all the time, and I still find myself confused every now and then when I'm there," David Lillie, of tvsdesign's Chicago office, told me. "Sometimes I don't really know if I'm going to the right spot."

If getting rid of 222 S. Riverside and the Union Station Multiplex is a pipe dream, where else should a new high-speed rail station go? In a refurbished Union Station where overcrowding is relieved by the proposed West Loop Transportation Center (below)? Or somewhere else downtown?

What are your ideas for getting Union Station back on track?
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 01:50 AM   #108
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
And now you're complaining that when you go down to the train platform, there are trains down there?
Yes, 'there are trains down there', and yes, it's more convenient than walking 2 blocks farther, but my evening train locomotive is parked right next to the stairwell. Hence, some serious fumes during the walk down. Nothing a solid wall along the stairwell wouldn't fix, but I wouldn't expect that to ever happen.
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 09:55 PM   #109
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^ Sometimes, in a big, bustling city, you've gotta breathe in occasional fumes... Fumes are SEXY!
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Old February 2nd, 2010, 11:24 PM   #110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Urban Politician View Post
Fumes are SEXY!
I bet the ladies go wild when you use that line.
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Old February 19th, 2010, 02:06 PM   #111
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what are they planing to do with this project..? they are planing to build that old building or build on it.
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Old February 20th, 2010, 04:46 PM   #112
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^ Huh? The plan is to build on top of the old station.
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Old February 22nd, 2010, 06:15 PM   #113
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Quote:
http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....-station-.html

Amtrak asks seven firms to dream up plans for Chicago's Union Station

February 22, 2010

Amtrak has asked seven architectural and real estate firms to submit proposals to redevelop a key part of Chicago's Union Station and plans to select a winning proposal by the end of May.

The firms include the Chicago office of architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; Chicago developer U.S. Equities Realty and the Chicago office of Jones Lang LaSalle, which currently manages Union Station for Amtrak.

The firms are being asked to come up with plans for Union Station's neo-classical Headhouse building (left), which is bounded by Clinton, Canal, Jackson and Adams streets.

"This is a pretty blank sheet of paper," said Amtrak spokesman Marc Magliari. "We will be looking for some creative, imaginative and transportation-oriented uses of the building."

The request for proposals comes amid a sputtering economy and the prospect of more people using the already-overcrowded station, which serves Metra commuter trains as well as Amtrak's long-distance and regional routes. The Obama administration recently awarded $8 billion in funds for the development of high-speed rail networks, including a Midwestern network with a hub in Chicago.

"Certainly everything points to us having more service," Magliari said.

In 2006, a joint venture headed by Jones Lang LaSalle won the bidding to redevelop the Headhouse into a hotel, condominiums, office and retail space. The company planned to redevelop the existing structure and to build an 18-story tower on top of it. Amtrak, which owns Union Station, entered into a redevelopment agreement with Jones Lang LaSalle. But the $250 million project never proceeded.

The other firms invited to participate are Boston architects Goody Clancy, Philadelphia architects Wallace Roberts & Todd: the architectural firm of KlingStubbins, which has offices in Cambridge, Mass. and Philadelphia; and New York architects Ehrenkrantz Eckstut & Kuhn.

Amtrak is requesting the proposals at a time when the real estate market has been battered by overbuilding and a credit squeeze. But the railroad concern wants to have plans in place that can be acted upon once the economy improves, Magliari said.

Magliari said the seven invited firms would be free to team up with other companies as they made proposals. Jones Lang LaSalle, for example, had worked with Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange on its previous Union Station plan.

In a separate move, the spokesman said, Amtrak has plans to improve the Headhouse's "Great Hall," the grandly-scaled, vastly-underutilized waiting room that has often served as a movie set.


The hall is not air-conditioned, which limits its ability in the summer to serve as a "customer-friendly" waiting room or as a site for special events, Magliari said. Construction on that portion of the project will likely not start, he said, until October.
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Old February 23rd, 2010, 04:36 AM   #114
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Plans, plans, plans.

We've been here before..
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Old April 3rd, 2010, 05:20 AM   #115
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oshkeoto View Post
If they do that, it had better be damn good architecture.
I agree with you.
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Old June 14th, 2010, 12:28 PM   #116
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Not exactley a surprise

Quote:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/classi...6567067.column

Chicago on the low end of high- speed rail

New study predicts $6.1 billion annual boost from faster passenger service

Jon Hilkevitch
5:51 p.m. CDT, June 13, 2010

..........Chicago's share of new tourism and business dollars would be lower than the three other cities studied because Chicago is "already a very well-developed and mature urban center that has good connections with air travel,'' said Steven Fitzroy, director of operations at the Economic Development Research Group, based in Boston.

Still, Midwest high-speed trains operating through a Chicago hub would help the downtown by spurring more mixed-use, high-density development near Chicago Union Station, the report said. It noted that plans to expand Union Station include building an 18-story tower over the station..........
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Old June 18th, 2010, 05:04 PM   #117
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AMTRAK IS WORKING ON THE RAILROAD IN CHICAGO

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/Conten...=1241267278292


Of particular interest to this thread is the news that a "new Chciago control center" will be built. See last paragraph....

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 16, 2010
ATK-10-081
Contact: Marc Magliari
312 880.5390

AMTRAK IS WORKING ON THE RAILROAD IN CHICAGO
$115 million in projects underway in the nation’s rail hub
to improve reliability and safety

CHICAGO – Amtrak is using $115 million in funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to improve tracks, buildings and control systems in Chicago this construction season, as part of a $1 billion construction program to fund capital projects designed to rebuild the critical infrastructure of America’s Railroad.
“We are investing in our infrastructure in Chicago to improve our operations and support the growing demand to travel by Amtrak,” said President and CEO Joseph Boardman.
He noted America’s intercity passenger railroad posted a ridership increase of more than seven percent nationally in the last nine months, including double-digit increases on the Chicago corridor to and from St. Louis, with strong results also on the Hiawatha Service corridor to and from Milwaukee and the Wolverine Service corridor to and from Detroit/Pontiac.
“These Chicago projects will create jobs and make a significant investment in the future of Amtrak and the Midwest rail system,” said U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, D-Ill. “These improvements are in tandem with the $1.2 billion in Recovery Act funding for work in downstate Illinois that will help bring high speed rail to the Chicago to St. Louis line.”
More than three million Amtrak passengers used Chicago Union Station last year, with more than 50 daily trains, making it the fourth-busiest in the national network. In addition, the nearly 130,000 commuters who pass through the station on an average weekday, with 248 weekday commuter train arrivals or departures, will also benefit from the infrastructure improvements.
These projects in Chicago are underway and expected to be finished by February 2011.

Chicago Terminal & Facilities
Amtrak has awarded a $106.2 million contract to replace or renew approximately five miles of track and to renovate or repair buildings used to inspect and maintain Amtrak trains at Chicago Union Station. Water, air, lighting, natural gas and heated track switching systems will be replaced or upgraded to improve service reliability in Chicago’s harsh winters and to meet the demands of growing ridership. Jacobs Inc. and subcontractors Kiewit Western Co. and Swanson Contracting are performing the work.

Chicago Control Center
A new $9 million control center in Chicago is being built to manage and dispatch Amtrak and other rail traffic in four geographically separate areas, including Chicago Union Station North, Chicago Union Station South, New Orleans Terminal, and the Amtrak Michigan District. Operations at the center involve interconnections with territories owned by Metra (Northeast Illinois Commuter Rail Corp.), Norfolk Southern Railroad and the Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian National railways.
When finished, the Chicago Control Center will improve the ability of Amtrak to manage daily train operations and extraordinary circumstances, with back-up capabilities elsewhere in the Chicago Terminal and at the Central National Operations Center in Delaware.
Pepper Construction Co. and vendors including Lucien Lagrange Architects, Environmental Systems Design Inc., ARINC Inc. and Jones Lang LaSalle are involved in the project.
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Old June 19th, 2010, 12:48 AM   #118
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too bad the actual building/center probably won't be as cool or as colossal as its name makes it out to be.
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Old August 7th, 2010, 05:26 AM   #119
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A more modest plan now

http://featuresblogs.chicagotribune....ad-effort.html

Amtrak moves ahead with plans to revamp Chicago's historic Union Station; picks Jones Lang LaSalle to head effort
Blair Kamin


...This time, the plans are expected to be more modest. Instead of a high-rise addition, the focus is expected to be on filling the seven floors of vacant office space above the Great Hall. Amtrak plans to occupy a couple of the floors, moving from nearby offices it now leases. Jones Lang Lasalle is charged with determining the best uses for the other floors. Offices, apartments and a hotel are all being considered.

The firm, whose team includes Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange, will also look at bringing shops and services for passengers into the Great Hall. And it will examine the possibility of making the headhouse a more street-friendly structure, with shops along Canal and Clinton Streets, Caprile said.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:33 PM   #120
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Hmmm...I thought Lucien was bankrupt (er, retired) now? Kinda strange.
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