Groundbreaking For Raleigh Union Station March 21, 2015

Public Meeting for Raleigh Union Station, September 2014

I’m at the Raleigh Union Station meeting and wanted to get this out. The mayor announced a groundbreaking for March 21, 2015.

More to add later.

The meeting tonight was more open house than new information. The groundbreaking announcement was the biggest piece of news and the March 21 date is not an accident. March 21, 2015 is the 175th anniversary of the first train to arrive in Raleigh.

In addition to the already posted renderings, a fantastic model of the Union Station site was on display.

Public Meeting for Raleigh Union Station, September 2014

They estimate about two years for construction so look forward to the new station opening sometime in 2017.

[UPDATE: 9-11-14]
For posterity I’m copying the city’s press release on the topic that came out after this event.

On March 21, 1840, the people of Raleigh were witnesses to history. On that Saturday in the spring, a train rumbled into Raleigh for the first time. Over the next century, the era of the locomotive would dominate transportation in the modern world. Eventually, cars and planes would supplant the locomotive. But few inventions shaped the physical destiny on nations like the train.

On March 21, 2015, the people of Raleigh will once again have the opportunity to witness history. On that Saturday, officials will break ground on the first phase of Raleigh’s Union Station, a joint initiative of the North Carolina Department of Transportation Rail Division and the City of Raleigh. The estimated cost of the first phase of the project is $73 million. Current funding for the project totals $66.25 million through a series of federal grants, and state and local matches. The City’s contribution to the construction is $5.75 million. The first phase will include the renovation of the Dillon Supply Company Warehouse at 510 West Martin Street into a passenger rail facility.

Once completed (estimated date of 2017), the station will transform the transportation infrastructure of Raleigh. Not only will the station serve Amtrak passengers, the station will add new retail and commercial office space to its warehouse district location. The station will feature three levels of restaurants, shops and offices, and offer visitors a rooftop view of the Downtown Raleigh skyline.

Throughout the design process, architects from Clearscapes sought public feedback on the aesthetics and amenities. The firm strove to honor the City’s railroad heritage while looking at how other cities have reused warehouses. Planners envision a vibrant, active and economically viable space that benefits rail passengers and creates a new Downtown destination. Upon full-build-out, Raleigh Union Station will serve as a transportation hub for local and regional commuter and passenger rail, buses, taxis, bicyclists and pedestrians.

On September 9, the final public information session at the Contemporary Art Museum gave people a last chance to look at the designs and scope of the project and ask questions of the designers.

“Creating great public spaces, both interior and exterior, are significant goals for this project,” said Steve Schuster, the designer of the project for Clearscapes, PA. “That is very much in line with having this facility be authentic, memorable, and unique. We were very pleased when the national Amtrak architect spent the day with us reviewing the project and remarked at the end of the day that the Raleigh Union Station is, in his view, the most exciting rail station project happening in the nation.”

In 2012, Raleigh’s Amtrak Station served 164,000 passengers, making it one of the busiest Amtrak stations in the southeast. But the location and size of the current train station cannot accommodate the expected increases in ridership. Additionally, the current station only has 1,800 square feet of passenger waiting space and only 54 parking spaces.

“This design solves a lot of longstanding problems associated with this large railroad junction, and does so in a way that creates new opportunities,” said City of Raleigh Planning Director Ken Bowers. “The design respects and builds on what’s special about the warehouse district. The reuse of existing industrial building will result in a unique and dramatic space. The echoes of the area’s rail and industrial heritage are reflected throughout the design. The new plaza creates a signature open space at the terminus of Martin Street that will serve as a focal point for a growing arts and innovation district, and connect pedestrians into the Downtown core. The result will be a gathering place that will be a magnet for not just travelers but also area residents, workers and visitors.”

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  1. I can’t wait for this to open. I’m 16 and I graduate from Millbrook 2016. So maybe in college I can take the train to Charlotte to see a Carolina panthers game. By then The north tower in Charter Square and the Office Building will be built. Downtown Raleigh is gonna be something else by 2017.

  2. I agree, it does sound exciting. 2017 should be a interesting Year.Lets just Hope that this momentum continues with other stuff going on Downtown.

  3. I was there as well and quite honestly was shocked that they finally gave a groundbreaking date. Very exciting stuff. Now we just have to find another $6 million or so to top out the budget.

  4. This is definitely an exciting project for the whole city. It adds to the growth that is occurring in Raleigh the past 10 years, and will hopefully attract more business and residents to the downtown area.

  5. Yay I’ll be almost 35 by the time we have a real train station. Maybe by then someone will actually have started building high speed rail or a commuter rail to Durham. So that by the time I’m 45 I can give up my self-driving, electric car. I don’t know where I was going with this. Anyways, exciting to see progress on this.

  6. “Maybe by then someone will actually have started building high speed rail or a commuter rail to Durham.”

    The fact that we don’t have this already is depressing. If I could commute to Durham by train my stress level on work days would plummet.

  7. Same Here,Now they can Start to Plan and build a light rail system,I can’t wait to commute again.This time by train from RTP to Raleigh.

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