×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

L.A.’s Union Station Makeover Plans New Restaurant, Streamlined Train System

Firms overseeing the renovation of the venerable transit hub, also a popular filming spot, consider its history along with the needs of high-speed rail

The classic noir film “Union Station” (1950) showed the 1939 train depot in its heyday as the last of America’s great railway stations, even if L.A. subbed for Chicago in typical Hollywood fashion.

But “Blade Runner” (1982), another one of the hundreds of productions shot there, may be a more appropriate model for today’s jumble of uses that includes Amtrak trains, the Metro Rail subway, buses, filming and events that often take over the serene Spanish-tiled courtyards.

Some of the most significant architectural features of the Mission Revival building with Dutch Colonial Revival touches are hidden from travelers: The pristinely preserved Fred Harvey restaurant (he of “The Harvey Girls” fame), with its Streamline Moderne features and the soaring trussed ceilings of the main ticketing hall can only be seen by location crews or those attending private events.

But Union Station is prepping for a new era with a master plan being finalized in the next year to kick off a more efficient and attractive complement to Downtown’s revitalization.

L.A.’s Gruen Associates and London’s Grimshaw Architects were awarded the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s commission to bring the 40-acre site into the 21st century and prepare for an eventual high-speed rail line.

While preservationists and location managers are concerned about keeping the building’s vintage character intact, the architects are also sensitive to that concern.

“It is unique and iconic, and everyone has a memory of the historic station, either from a personal experience or a favorite movie,” says Gruen partner Debra Gerod. “It is really important to us that it is appropriately revitalized.”

Gerod says in addition to making public transportation easier to use and more inviting for passengers, the project needs a better connection to the rest of downtown. A bridge across the 101 freeway could solve that problem.

“Right now it’s so blocked off,” admits L.A. County Metro’s Jenna Hornstock, project manager who envisions underground parking and a space for large public celebrations and performances.

While funding and construction will take many more years, one aspect should be ready much faster: According to communications manager Dave Sotero, Metro is talking to some “visionary restaurateurs” about getting a restaurant into the Fred Harvey space in time for the building’s 75th anniversary in May that will “capture the right energy of Union Station.”

More Biz

  • Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale

    Woodstock 50 Festival Postpones Ticket On-Sale Date

    The troubled Woodstock 50 festival has run into more difficulties, as multiple sources told Variety late Friday that the April 22 on-sale date for the event has been postponed. Agents for artists scheduled to perform at the festival — which include Jay-Z, Dead & Company, Chance the Rapper, Miley Cyrus, Imagine Dragons and Halsey — [...]

  • National Enquirer - Jeff Bezos

    Hudson Media CEO James Cohen Purchases the National Enquirer

    Hudson Media’s CEO James Cohen announced Thursday that he will purchase the National Enquirer as well as American Media’s other tabloids, the Globe and the National Examiner. With the purchase of the National Enquirer, which Cohen reportedly bought for $100 million, he plans to strengthen their collaborative efforts, documentary shows, weekly podcasts, and theme parks. [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music’s Free Tier Is More Advertising Play Than Spotify Killer, Analysts Say

    When news began to spread last week that Amazon Music’s long-anticipated free streaming tier was imminent, headlines emerged about its threat to Spotify and Apple Music, with some stories saying that Spotify’s stock price dropped in response to the news. But not only was today’s launch of the free tier basically a soft one — [...]

  • Nicki MinajCFDA Vogue Fashion Fund Dinner,

    Nicki Minaj Parts Ways With Longtime Managers (EXCLUSIVE)

    Nicki Minaj has parted ways with Gee Roberson and Cortez Bryant and Blueprint/ Maverick Management, a source close to the situation confirms to Variety. She had worked with the pair for the majority of her career. The source says the decision was mutual and amicable, and there was no specific reason for the split, adding [...]

  • Amazon

    Amazon Music Launches Free Streaming Tier, Through Alexa Only (for Now)

    Amazon Music today basically soft-launched its free streaming tier, in which U.S. customers of its Alexa voice assistant will have access to top Amazon Music playlists and thousands of stations, at no cost. The limited access that the new free service provides — it’s only available through Alexa, and when the listener requests a song, [...]

  • Donald Glover and Adidas Launch Short

    Donald Glover and Adidas Launch Partnership With New Shoes and Short Films (Watch)

    Donald Glover and Adidas Originals today announced Donald Glover Presents, a creative partnership that unveiled a new line of shoes and a series of brief — and very funny — films to accompany them. (Watch them below.) Donald Glover Presents reimagines threeAadidas styles, the Nizza, the Continental 80, and the Lacombe. The shoes feature uneven [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content