A seasoned hand has been hired to manage the day-to-day operations of the Union Depot train station in St. Paul.
Actually, it will be a “multimodal transportation hub” serving all sorts of transport — passenger trains, buses, cars, pedestrians and bicycles when it’s completed by the end of this year.
The neoclassical gem, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has been undergoing renovations or talk of renovation for the past decade. Now, the Ramsey County Regional Railroad Authority has hired Chicago-based Jones Lang LaSalle to operate the space and implement a retail strategy.
Jones Lang LaSalle is well versed in running transit stations — it counts Union Station in Washington, D.C., Chicago’s Union Station, and New York City’s Grand Central Station as clients. Plus, it already employs more than 200 commercial real estate professionals in the Twin Cities, has an office in downtown Minneapolis, and manages Rosedale Center in Roseville and Calhoun Square in Uptown.
Mark Hunter, the Midwest regional head of JLL’s retail division, says the firm will start with “traffic-driving” events to bring people into the newly restored building, including music events and art displays.
“It’s a great historic building, we want it to be the living room for Lowertown, St. Paul and the Twin Cities as a whole,” he said. He said many people haven’t been to the Depot in years — especially after the last train left the station in the 1970s.
The five-year contract with the Railroad Authority pays JLL $300,000 annually, plus reimbursable expenses.
Meanwhile, the authority continues talks with One on One Bicycle Studio Inc. of Minneapolis to operate a bike center on the ground level of Union Depot. The center will feature bicycle storage, repair and retail services, plus showers and lockers for commuters.
The space will have entrances off Sibley Street, and will also offer a gallery, grab-and-go food for commuters and coffee.
Janet Moore covers commercial real estate for the Star Tribune.