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Union Station Renovation To Be A Game Changer For Denver

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DENVER (CBS4) - Renovations to Denver’s Union Station are nothing short of a game changer. The project is being talked about across the nation and it will benefit Denverites for years to come.

“We are building for the next 100 years,” said RTD General Manager Phil Washington. “We are building for our children, grandchildren, and their children.”

The transportation project will include heated concrete to melt ice in the underground terminal and vastly improved acoustics within the station. They call it an “urban living room.”

“What they are doing is really insulating the whole room so we can have events in here and a better sound system,” said Washington.

The renovation also includes a new technology called Positive Train Control, or PTC. PTC will increase safety by stopping a train if it is speeding or going around a curve too fast.

“Most agencies around the country are rushing to retrofit their existing systems,” said Washington. “We are building it from the ground up.”

The new Union Station will also have several restaurants, as well as the 112 room Crawford Hotel.

A public/private partnership came together to make the project happen. So far it has created 10,000 new jobs. Private investor Chad McWhinney is happy with the partnership and calls Phil Washington and RTD “rock stars.”

“One of the reasons that we’re involved in Union Station is because RTD and the leadership of RTD,” praised McWhinney.

Washington, who grew up in Chicago, is humbled by the opportunity he’s been given to change Denver.

“I never thought that I would be a part of this great project,” said Washington. “I saw a marquee as I was driving by a church not long ago that said opportunities are seldom labeled.”

There will be two grand openings for the newly renovated Union Station. The transit terminal, which is the core of Union Station and includes the underground facility for the buses, will officially open May 9. The Crawford Hotel, along with the retail shops and restaurants, will open on July 11. The train to Denver International Airport will not begin running until 2016.

- Written for CBSDenver.com by Conor McCue

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