National Trust for Historic Preservation Responds to Amtrak's Plan to Expand Union Station

Statement by Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation

Today, Amtrak released its draft master plan for Union Station, giving the public and the preservation community their first opportunity to view and evaluate Amtrak’s proposal. The following is a statement from Stephanie Meeks, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

“Union Station is one of the most treasured historic resources in Washington and is an important public landmark for tens of thousands of travelers and commuters who pass through it on a daily basis. Amtrak’s proposed expansion of Union Station offers an unprecedented opportunity to usher the rail station into the future as a fully modernized transportation center. We applaud Amtrak for taking these bold steps to enhance Union Station’s efficiency, but caution that great care must be taken now to preserve what makes the 1907 station so special: its irreplaceable historic character.

“With appropriate planning and integration of Akridge's proposal for the adjacent Burnham Place, Union Station can become an international model of balancing historic preservation, 21st century transportation uses and sustainable, pedestrian-friendly development. The National Trust for Historic Preservation would welcome the opportunity to work with Amtrak, the Union Station Redevelopment Corporation, Akridge and other parties to achieve this goal." 

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BACKGROUND ON UNION STATION

Designed by Daniel Burnham and completed in 1907, Union Station is a nationally significant architectural icon. Its construction enabled the creation of the National Mall and set the standard for monumental Washington as we know it today. Visited by 32 million people each year, Union Station serves as an internationally renowned gateway to the nation’s capital and a major transportation hub.

Union Station now stands at a critical junction. Several groups have proposed major developments that would expand and alter the station. In addition to Amtrak, Akridge's Burnham Place plan would create a 3-million-square-foot mixed-use development over Union Station's railyards. These projects create unparalleled opportunities to ensure that Union Station’s historic character is protected while enhancing its modern functions.

 

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded nonprofit organization, works to save America’s historic places.
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