Raleigh’s Amtrak station is on track for a new location and modern design complete with retail and commercial office space on three levels in an effort to make the facility pay for itself. The Raleigh City Council recently approved preconstruction services for the new station, which consists of engineering work in support of the design. Construction is scheduled to begin in early 2015 and to be completed in early 2017.
The Union Station project is a collaboration between the city of Raleigh, the Federal Railroad Administration, and the North Carolina Department of Transportation rail division. Together they plan to align their visions and funding to accommodate passenger rail, commuter rail, light rail, city bus, regional bus, taxis, bicycles, and other modes of transportation.
The project calls for reusing an industrial building on West Martin Street, the Dillon Supply warehouse, which has been vacant since 2005. The renovations will create glass-paneled walls and sunlight through much of the building, while keeping remnants of old steel panels. Passengers and other visitors will enter through a canopied civic plaza.
The Raleigh Amtrak Station served 164,000 passengers in 2012, making it one of the busiest stations in the Southeastern U.S. The location and size of the current train station cannot accommodate expected ridership growth, nor does it accommodate a desired downtown multimodal transportation center.
“We want this to be a vibrant and active space,” said architect Steve Schuster, adding that renting out a chunk of the building will also bring in revenue. “The goal is to have this building be economically viable long term, so it pays its own bills…in ways that benefit rail passengers and create a destination for downtown.”
Consultants for the city have narrowed their search to four possible sites for the proposed bus station, which would be built after Union Station is complete. They are also looking at how to create enough parking to serve both facilities. According to the NCDOT, “it is inevitable that a certain amount of private property must be acquired.” For information on this process, read the brochures here.