Construction on the city’s new Union Station train depot will begin on March 21, Mayor Nancy McFarlane announced Tuesday evening.
Architects held a final public forum on the $73 million station’s design Tuesday as their work wraps up. They’ve planned a sweeping renovation of the old Dillon Supply Viaduct building in downtown’s Warehouse District, which will feature restaurants, shops and a civic plaza.
Construction is expected to take about two years, with the first Amtrak trains arriving in early 2017. It will replace a cramped station on Cabarrus Street.
“This is more than just a train station,” architect Steve Schuster said. “This is truly one of the next great public spaces for our downtown.”
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Schuster noted that Amtrak’s chief architect recently visited Raleigh and called the plan “the most exciting train station project happening in the country today.”
City officials hope the retail and commercial office space will help the building pay for itself. One restaurant space will have a rooftop view of the downtown skyline. With glass-paneled walls, the design will create a sweeping transformation from the existing brick warehouse building at the foot of Martin Street.
“This design really respects and builds on the heritage and unique attributes of the Warehouse District,” interim city planning director Ken Bowers said. “We’re getting a far more interesting and unique space than we would have gotten with new construction.”