Union Depot Historic Structures Report (HSR), St. Paul

Built between 1917 and 1926, Saint Paul Union Depot, located in the Lowertown area of downtown Saint Paul, was the largest 20th century construction project in the city.  It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, both individually and as a contributing building in the Lowertown Historic District.

After years of limited use and with a significant portion of the Depot vacant, it took visionary leadership to recognize Union Depot’s potential.  In steps the Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority.  The Authority purchased the ailing building and site in 2009 in order to convert it to a multi-modal transportation hub.  By 2014, the Depot will host the Central Corridor Light Rail; Amtrak; Greyhound and Jefferson bus lines; Metro Transit bus service; taxi service; and a bicycle center.  Union Depot’s future may also include a possible high-speed rail line connecting St. Paul to Chicago and commuter rail to Hastings.

As part of the Central Corridor LRT project, a Section 106 Programmatic Agreement (PA) was executed by the Federal Transit Administration, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office, and Metropolitan Council.  The PA required preparation of a Historic Structures Report (HSR) for the property, including the Head House, concourse area, train deck, and associated trackage.  The report documents the history of the building within a broader national transportation and economic context; evaluates its significance; assesses existing conditions; and recommends activities for future rehabilitation.

This award recognizes the HSR team for the thoroughness of the document, the quality of the research that went into its creation, its critical role in the sensitive conversion of the historic Union Depot to a next generation multi-modal transportation hub, and the sheer beauty of every single page.

Owner: Ramsey County Regional Rail Authority; Architect: HGA Architects and Engineers; Report Research and Preparation: Beyer Blinder Belle; Preservation Consultant: Luken Architecture