The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) Board of Directors today approved LA-based Gruen Associates, in association with London's Grimshaw Architects, as the consultant team for the creation of a master plan for the historic Union Station and its surrounding 40 acres. Metro CEO Art Leahy was authorized by the board to execute a firm fixed price contract not to exceed $4,150,000.
“Union Station is a beloved Los Angeles icon that has played a vital role in our city’s history,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Metro Board Chair. "Now it is time to get it ready for its future as the centerpiece of our burgeoning regional transit system. Union Station has gone from handling 7,000 riders a day in its heyday during World War II to over 70,000 today. The future will bring thousands more to its doors.”
Metro anticipates signing the contract this summer with the goal of having the master plan completed within 18 to 24 months, or summer 2014. Gruen/Grimshaw has brought together a large team of specialist firms from preservation experts to sustainability and technical consultants to collaborate on the plan which will be adopted after an approval from the Metro Board. The first step in the master plan process will be a focused community outreach program that will solicit input from neighbors, particularly Little Tokyo, Chinatown, Boyle Heights and El Pueblo, and from a broad base of constituents that will help shape the final master plan.
“We are looking forward to working with our community stakeholders to develop the vision for Union Station,” said Metro Board Director and Los Angeles Councilman Jose Huizar. “This property is crucial to establishing connectivity to the many residents, businesses, and assets of the surrounding communities, in all directions. We hope and expect it to be a catalyst for further revitalization of these areas.”
“We were pleased to have six world class teams submit proposals. It was a very tough decision as these are all very strong teams with relevant experience. However, the Gruen/Grimshaw team stood out with its combination of project management strength, spot-on experience in reinventing some of the world’s most admired rail line facilities, and an extraordinary vision for Union Station as both an icon and catalyst to improve passenger experience, community connectivity and economic development,” according to Martha Welborne, Executive Director, Metro Countywide Planning.
The master plan will be a roadmap for the long-range future of the station and the 40 acres that surround it which Metro purchased in April 2011. After its acquisition of Union Station, the Metro Board saw the opportunity to take a fresh look at the current and future uses at this site and directed a long-term master planning process be undertaken. The master planning process will encompass near term passenger and other circulation improvements as well as longer term rail and joint development opportunities, including an analysis of high speed rail station alternatives. It also will create better access for pedestrians and bicyclists and clearer linkages among the transit modes on site. Finally, the master plan team is charged with exploring close linkages with Union Station’s neighbors and downtown itself that will support and catalyze activities in the city around the station.
“Once the master plan is completed and approved by our Board, we hope to move quickly with the early action station work to be identified in the plan and potentially with some of the proposed development. By that time, the economy should be in better shape and we should be able to solicit private sector investment for pieces of the mixed-use development,” said Welborne.
While there will be no detailed architectural design involved with this master plan, Grimshaw is expected to bring architectural vision to the process. Grimshaw has a long history of creating visionary master plans and architecture for high-profile rail stations that serve millions of passengers, catalyze neighborhood revitalization, and become civic landmarks. Gruen Associates, a multidisciplinary firm which will be the Prime Contractor to Metro, has worked with Metro, city and county agencies and private landowners throughout Southern California to design, manage and execute some of the area’s most distinctive urban plans and is also well known for its transit projects.
Grimshaw Architects has brought internationally renowned and wholly unique rail projects to great cities across the globe including London, Amsterdam, New York City and Melbourne. It has incorporated high speed rail lines in its station design work which will be valuable in the Union Station plan since the proposed High Speed Rail is expected to serve Union Station.
MASTER PLAN TEAM