ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – The success of the holiday Polar Express train trip from St. Louis Union Station is the inspiration behind the new renovation plans for the nearly 125 year old railroad station.
The public’s love of trains and the history surrounding Union Station at 18th and Market will be evident in the $100 million development planned by Lodging Hospitality Management and Groundswell Design Group of Philadelphia, PA.
Part of the shopping area will be turned into train themed hotel rooms that overlook train tracks. When complete the St. Louis Union Station Hotel operated as a DoubleTree by Hilton will have 587 rooms and 137,000 square feet of event space. The developers promise more activities surrounding trains including train trips in special railroad cars to Chicago for Cardinal-Cubs games.
Lodging Hospitality Management owns Union Station. The firm’s CEO Bob O’Loughlin says the investment is a sign of his firm’s commitment to St. Louis. The company owns 17 hotels in the area and will have invested close to a billion dollars in the market in the past 15 years.
That comes on the heels of a scathing attack on the region’s viability by St. Louis Rams Football team owner Stan Kroenke.
The plan calls for a 200 foot high Ferris Wheel at the southern edge of the train shed and a family friendly attraction in part of the indoor space.