Friday, 13 September 2013

News: Revitalized Union Station to Include New Retail

Station overhaul to restore historic elements while modernizing transit hub for future growth.

Front Street Elevation
For the past two years the area around Union Station has been in a state of flux, with Front Street torn up and traffic diversions the norm. But in another two year's the city's busiest main railway station will be completely modernized.

Announced as part of Metrolinx's Big Move plan, Union Station is undergoing a dramatic revitalization that includes the overhaul of station concourses and railway platforms. Most dramatically a new glass atrium train shed is being constructed over the railway tracks and platforms. Starting in 2015 there will also be a new express train service to Pearson Airport.

Beneath the GO train level a new retail concourse is being constructed, linked to the adjoining TTC subway station (which is also undergoing significant renovations and gaining a new platform) and PATH. From this same level new escalators will connect with the GO concourse.

Union Station Retail Concourse Rendering

Union Station Retail Concourse Rendering
Many high profile railway stations in Europe incorporate significant retail elements. London's St. Pancras has an expansive retail level with well known brands such as Marks & Spencer and The Body Shop. New York's Grand Central Terminal has 68 shops and an eclectic mix of food purveyors.

As the station's previous retail offerings extended to a newstand and chocolate shop, it will be interesting to see what retailers the station will secure for this new space. New retailers are certain to have access to a high degree of foot traffic. Union Station, which first opened in 1927 and is a National Historic Site, sees 200,000 commuters every day and is the busiest transit hub in Canada.

The City of Toronto, which owns Union Station is now advertising retail leasing opportunities on its website.

[Images via the City of Toronto]