DENVER (CBS4) – The Regional Transportation District has a decision to make about the future of Colorado’s most famous train station — whether to add a fancy restaurant or boutique hotel.

The redevelopment of Denver’s Union Station is already under way. The $500 million project will transform the historic site into a transportation hub for trains, buses and cars.

RTD now is considering one of two options for how to transform the inside of the old terminal.

“There’s a real passion for this building,” RTD’s Bill Sirois said.

Two different teams have unveiled competing proposals. The restaurant concept comes from a group called Union Station Neighborhood and includes a specialty market along with leasable offices.

The other plan for a 130-room boutique hotel is the brainchild of Union Station Alliance and includes retail space and an eatery.

The hotel project would create as many as 300 jobs and cost $48 million. The restaurant represents up to 100 new jobs and costs $21 million. RTD will decide which way to go based on two considerations.

“One is how they are proposing their strategy — does it make sense? Does it preserve the historical integrity of the building and the financial side? Does it pay for itself?” Sirois said.

RTD hopes to pick a winner and start negotiations the end of November.

The project selected must have space available for Amtrak’s return to Union Station in 2014.


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