(KMOV) - - Union Station, a historical St. Louis landmark, may have a lively future after falling on hard times in recent years.
On Tuesday, Union Station’s owner announced it’s putting $50 million toward redeveloping the property.
“We opened it up so we have 50,000 square feet so we can put 140 8-by-10 booths in here," said Bob O’Loughlin. He is the man behind the redevelopment of Union Station.
He showed News 4’s Steve Savard one of the biggest changes, the shops are gone. A new exhibition hall is nearly complete in their place. Considered to be a mini convention center, O’Loughlin said the new place already has ten conventions booked. He plans to bring in thousands of guests per week.
He said these are smaller conventions that wouldn’t normally book at America’s Center and don’t normally come to St. Louis.
Some of the retail at the other end of Union Station will leave as well.
"We’ve talked to all the local attractions that have traveling exhibits; the Zoo, the Planetarium, the Magic House and they'll be putting their traveling exhibits down there,” said O’Loughlin.
The Grand Ballroom will get a makeover, the bar and all the seating will be re-done to make it more comfortable. The historic architecture will get a high-tech addition to include a variety of 3-D shows.
We've done 18 hotels in St. Louis and we're pretty successful,” said O’Loughlin. “I think this is going to be one of the premiere places in St. Louis when we are finished with it.”
The plan also called for having train trips leave from Union Station to wine country, the Kentucky Derby, Cardinals, Cubs baseball games and the Super Bowl.
All the hotel rooms will also get a facelift and a new “train” themed restaurant will join Landry’s and the Hard Rock Café.
The entire project should be finished by the end of 2014.