DENVER, March 19, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The most exciting project in downtown Denver in decades will open on July 12, 2014 with the restoration of the city's Union Station. The historic train terminal will be home to eight new restaurants and dining spots, a branch of the famous Tattered Cover Bookstore, a local Little Man hand-churned ice cream shop, a cocktail lounge and beer garden, retail stores, and the independent 112-room Crawford Hotel. Local powerhouse chefs Jen Jasinski (winner of the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest) and Alex Seidel (Food & Wine's Best New Chef of the Year 2010) will both have restaurants in the new complex.
The station will also fulfill its original role as the "Grand Central Station" of Denver – the city's major ground transportation hub. AMTRAK and Light Rail will arrive at a new 8-track terminal behind the station, while express and local buses will use a 22-bay underground complex (with service starting on May 12, 2014). Coming in 2016 will be direct commuter rail service from Union Station to Denver International Airport. Free electric shuttle buses will leave from Union Station and travel up and down the 16th Street Mall, stopping on every corner. A new free shuttle called Denver MetroRide will leave Union Station to travel up and down 18th and 19th streets, stopping every two to three blocks. The two shuttles will make it convenient, fast and free to get virtually anywhere in downtown Denver.
The components of the project include:
In the late 1800s, it was the railroads that made Denver the largest and most important city between St. Louis and San Francisco. By 1880, there were dozens of railroads passing through Denver, and the city had four stations. Jay Gould and Walter Cheesman consolidated this network into one central location called Union Depot. Although nothing remains of the original station which burned down, the current wings were part of an 1895 rebuilding. The central depot, designed in the Beaux Arts style by local architects Gove and Walsh, was completed in 1914. The restored station will incorporate dozens of details from the "Golden Age" of railroading.
The old waiting room will be re-christened "The Great Hall." With its soaring arched windows and architectural details, this grand room will be open to the public 24-7. The old ticket windows are being turned into The Terminal Bar, which will feature more than 30 Colorado craft beers and will open onto to a huge outdoor patio overlooking a new park at the front of the station along Wynkoop Street.
Looking down on the Great Hall from a terrace above, The Cooper Lounge will offer a glamorous old-Hollywood vibe with high-end cocktails and an extensive wine list.
In the wings of the Great Hall will be the new hotel and a mixture of restaurants and retail.
THE CRAWFORD HOTEL
This high-end, elegant independent 112-room hotel is being built as part of the redevelopment of Denver's Union Station and will be run by Sage Hospitality and affiliated with the existing 80-room Oxford Hotel, located across the street. The Crawford will have 3,000 sq. ft. of meeting space.
The hotel is named after local developer and preservationist Dana Crawford, who in 1969 was responsible for preserving Larimer Square and transforming the block of brick and stone Victorian buildings into one of the city's hippest shopping, dining and entertainment centers. It was the first re-developed city center historic area in the nation, predating the development of Boston's Faneuil Hall and New York's South Street Seaport. Dana Crawford is also involved in the redevelopment of Union Station.
The hotel will come with three styles of rooms. The "Pullman" rooms on the second floor are modeled after the luxury private sleeping cars of old. The "Classic" rooms on the third floor come with tall ceilings and large windows. The former attic area will host "Loft" rooms, featuring exposed wood timbers, vaulted ceilings and a more contemporary design. To make the most of the architectural features, most of the rooms in the hotel will be one-of-a-kind designs and shapes.
The hotel will share meeting space and The Oxford Club Spa with the award-winning Oxford Hotel across the street. Another architectural gem, The Oxford is Denver's oldest hotel, built in 1892 and designed by the same architect as the Brown Palace Hotel, Frank E. Edbrooke.
The hotel will feature room-service from all the locally owned restaurants.
RESTAURANTS & RETAIL
On the wings around the Great Hall will be some of Denver's finest new restaurants and classic retailers. Restaurants include:
- Chef Jennifer Jasinski (winner of the 2013 James Beard Award for Best Chef Southwest and finalist on the Food Network's Top Chef Masters) and her business partner Beth Gruitch, who own Rioja, Bistro Vendôme, and Euclid Hall in Larimer Square, are opening S&G Fish, a seafood-centric restaurant. The name of the restaurant combines initials of the words Stoic and Genuine, which fits the model of the restaurant to present clean and precise seafood preparations sourced from the finest ingredients in the grand tradition of the Oyster Bar in Grand Central Station, New York.
- The Kitchen [Next Door] got its start in Boulder nine years ago as The Kitchen. The owners opened a second version on Denver's 16th St. Mall in 2012. The Union Station version will occupy 4,432 square feet at the south end of terminal and will provide a community pub focused on simple food and Colorado beers with a beautiful outdoor deck to take advantage of Denver's 300 days of sunshine.
- Alex Seidel (Food & Wine's Best New Chef of the Year 2010) of Fruition will fill 4,900 square feet at the North end of the building. Called Mercantile Dining & Provision, the restaurant will be a spot for early morning coffee and pastries, a full-blown breakfast, lunch and dinner menu, and a market for locally made foodstuffs, many of them produced at Fruition Farms, Seidel's 10-acre sheep dairy and creamery in nearby Larkspur. The market will sell everything from pickled beets, fruit spreads, cheeses, breads and yogurts to jar-preserved sturgeon rillettes and duck confit.
- Snooze, A.M. Eatery will serve breakfast and lunch daily at Union Station from 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m on weekdays and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends. Denver entrepreneurs John and Adam Schlegel opened the first popular Snooze in the Ballpark neighborhood in 2006 and now have five Colorado locations.
- More than 16 flavors of hand-churned, local favorite Little Man Ice Cream will be served at the Milkbox Ice Creamery. Little Man opened in Denver in 2008 and is famous for selling their ice creams and sorbets from a 23-foot tall replica milk can in the nearby neighborhood of Lower Highlands (LoHi).
- Pigtrain Coffee will be operated by Denver's family-owned Novo Coffee, who work directly with farmers in Central and South America to buy sustainable coffee at fair prices. Their Union Station outlet will feature a "steampunk" aesthetic with rich mustard-colored walls, steel trim, and oak butcher block tabletops.
- The Tattered Cover will open their second downtown bookstore selling bestsellers and magazines. The main downtown Tattered Cover Bookstore is located a block away and has been called "one of the best privately owned bookstores in America" by The New York Times.
- Bloom, an elegant Cherry Creek North florist, will have a second shop selling eclectic jewelry, décor, accessories and gifts, as well as a kiosk offering fresh cut flowers.
About VISIT DENVER, The Convention & Visitors Bureau
Celebrating more than 100 years of promoting the Mile High City, VISIT DENVER is a nonprofit trade association that contracts with the City of Denver to market Denver as a convention and leisure destination, increasing economic development in the city, creating jobs and generating taxes. A record 13.6 million visitors stayed overnight in Denver in 2012, generating $3.6 billion in spending, while supporting nearly 50,000 jobs, making Tourism the second largest industry in Denver. Learn more about Denver on the VISITDENVER website and at TOURISMPAYSDENVER or by phone at 800 2 Denver. Follow Denver's social media channels for up-to-the-minute updates at: Facebook.com/VISITDENVER; Twitter.com/IKnowDenver; Instagram.com/VISITDENVER and YouTube.com/VISITDENVER.
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