DENVER (CBS4) – Union Station has made an impact in Denver that dates back more than a century. It’s been a transportation hub for the West, but recently got a much needed makeover.

The grand reopening of Union Station was held on Saturday. The goal of the renovation is to move Denver into the next century with the latest in transit technology. It’s also created a booming business district.

New restaurants, shops and a hotel have been designed with both visitors and residents in mind. The grand opening has created a big buzz. In fact, all of the time-ticket entries sold out.

PHOTO GALLERY: The New Union Station

Some of the first through the doors of the revitalized Union Station were downtown Denver residents Susan and Richard Christie.

“It’s amazing. I mean this is just beautiful,” Susan Christie said.

“Something like this was too precious to not be saved,” Richard Christie said.

Saturday’s hustle and bustle is a far cry from the movement that aimed to tear down the historical landmark in the 1980s

“I think you always have to have a legacy,” Richard Christie said.

PHOTO GALLERIES: The Crawford Hotel At Union Station | Stoic & Geniune Opens In Union Station

After a $54 million 1 1/2 -year renovation, Saturday’s unveiling of the new central station shows it may once again become the heart and soul of the Denver community.

“I’m just dying to see the inside. You know, I remember the old wooden benches that you had to sit on and wait for the train to come and pick you up,” said Kay Rasmussen, who grew up in Denver.

The wooden benches now hold a spot for passengers, not just by train, but also for those coming in on 22 bus ports.

“I’m coming to see an eye doctor and I had to schlepp a suitcase through rain and snow and hail and all these other things. So this is wonderful for me,” weekly Amtrak commuter Nick Isenberg said.

In 2016 a commuter train will hit the tracks every 15 minutes from Denver International Airport.

“In a lot of ways, this is back to the future because this used to be the big hub,” revitalization developer Dana Crawford said.

Crawford says the hub’s 112-room hotel, fabulous food and sassy shops are already boosting area growth and economy. In fact, in the South Platte District, 3,500 apartment units are under construction.

Although a lot of what’s in the remodeled Union Station is new, the original flooring from when Union Station was built back in 1881 is still intact.

Watch “Destination Denver: Union Station Special” in the Video Section and read more stories in the Union Station section.



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