DENVER (CBS4) – It’s only three days away from the grand opening of Denver’s remodeled Union Station, and one of the highlights is the Crawford Hotel, named for Dana Crawford.
Many might not recognize Crawford’s name, but they’re sure to recognize her work. She’s has redeveloped more than 800,000 square feet of historic property in Denver, including the Oxford Hotel and the Acme Lofts.
Workers are still putting the finishing touches on Union Station, getting ready for Saturday’s debut. In addition to a transportation hub it will feature stores, restaurants, bars and the new hotel named after Crawford.
Though she’s quite possibly formed the face of historic Denver, don’t call Crawford an architect, or a designer.
“More a generalist actually; a lot of people call me a preservationist,” Crawford said.
Sitting in one of the Crawford Hotel suites she told CBS4’s Mark Taylor about the long road to getting Union Station from what it was to where it is now.
“At one point there was a great deal of talk about tearing this building down,” she said.
Crawford is no stranger to preserving history. In the 1960s she helped to prevent the demolition of the 1400 block of Larimer Street, which led to the creation of what is now Larimer Square and LoDo.
“People like to know where their community has been and where it’s going and that they are part of it,” she said.
Crawford says Union Station is a product of moving forward, while preserving the past, with trendy new restaurants and bars that sit atop the original 100-year-old flooring.
“Many times the quality of the materials that they were using 100 years ago were far superior to anything that we use now.”
She draws comparisons of Union Station to that of Grand Central Station in New York City and hopes it becomes an integral part of the Denver’s history — and future.
“Our lease is 99 years,” she said.
Not everything is completely done at Union Station. Developers are particularly excited for the next couple years as in 2016 trains from Denver International Airport will start going to Union Station every 15 minutes.
The grand opening is this Saturday, with speeches and tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.