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ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com), May 2, 2017 - St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations will design the St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station, the next phase of development at the National Historic Landmark train station in downtown St. Louis.
The highly anticipated project is currently in the design phase. Construction is expected to begin in fall 2017 with an anticipated completion in summer 2019. The aquarium's professional operator will be announced at a later date.
In a release, Bob O'Loughlin, chairman and CEO of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), said "We're very excited to have one of the top design firms in the country working with us on this project. And the fact that PGAV Destinations is a St. Louis company means that they can appreciate the value of Union Station and its history and importance to the community.
"The reception both locally and nationally to the first phase of our project has been tremendous and we know the opening of the St. Louis Observation Wheel in spring 2019 and the Train Park and St. Louis Aquarium will make Union Station a true destination hotel and entertainment complex," said O'Loughlin.
The 65,000-square-foot St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be located in the former mall area within St. Louis Union Station. The $45 million attraction will feature one-of-a-kind exhibits and tanks with 700,000 gallons of water housing thousands of aquatic species from the rivers and oceans of the world.
PGAV Destinations, located in downtown St. Louis, has been involved in the design of exhibits at many of the nation's top aquatic attractions, including the Georgia Aquarium, South Carolina Aquarium, Discovery Cove and Sea World. The company - which specializes in designing attractions, exhibits and experiences that enrich lives and create memories for guests - also has designed environments at the Saint Louis Zoo, including Polar Bear Pointe, Sea Lion Sound, Penguin & Puffin Coast, the new Grizzly Ridge opening this fall and a variety of other popular visitor experiences.
"We like to think outside the box, dream big and bring our clients' hopes and dreams into reality," said PGAV Destinations' lead aquarium designer Emily Howard, vice president. "The aquarium will be something unique to our city and Union Station's spectacular architecture and environment will make this project even more special."
The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) which holds members to the highest standards in animal care and exhibition. The facility will employ an animal husbandry team of marine biologists and aquarists responsible for the long-term care of the animals in the exhibit as well as overseeing water chemistry, animal nutrition, veterinary care, education, staffing and safety. The attraction will be open 365 days a year from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. One million visitors are expected annually.
The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be part of a $100 million family entertainment complex planned for St. Louis Union Station. Other components will include the previously announced St Louis Wheel - a 200-foot-high observation wheel with 30 fully enclosed, climate-controlled and ADA-compliant gondolas that seat up to six adults each. Wheel passengers will take three to four rotations high over the St. Louis skyline during the 10-to-12-minute ride. Located on the south side of the historic train shed, the wheel also will include one VIP experience gondola with a glass floor, no line wait time and an extended ride. The St. Louis Wheel will be a new iconic attraction on the St. Louis skyline and will be operational every day of the year, accommodating an estimated 500,000 visitors annually.
Train Travel Returns to Historic Saint Louis Union Station
ST. LOUIS, MO, (SLFP.com) - Since the purchase in October 2012, Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) has invested more than $40 million in the property. The project included renovating the historic Grand Hall, with its barrel-vaulted ceiling of unsurpassed gilt work, stained glass over the entrance, to include an award-winning 3-D projection mapping light show, new furnishings and a 65-foot-long bar.
The station's Midway was re-established as a convention and exhibit hall and the property's 539 hotel rooms were branded as the St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio Collection by Hilton™ under LHM's ownership.
Recently, nine beautifully restored rail cars began leaving the National Historic Landmark train station for private, three-hour excursions around the St. Louis metro area's rails. Corporate outings and pre-planned rolling or stationary events are now available under the train shed, including receptions, smaller meetings and parties.
The existing mall area is set to be converted into 48 train-themed hotel rooms and 30,000 feet of private event space bringing the total number of hotel guest rooms to 587 and total event space to 137,000 square feet. Guests will receive a personalized train ticket for their room at check in. Inside the new train-themed rooms, high-end features include 50-inch TVs with sound bars for an in-room theater experience, hardwood floors and walk-in showers.
The St. Louis Wheel, a 200 foot tall observation-style Ferris wheel, will be installed near the Hard Rock Café and will be open year-round. The wheel will feature 42 fully enclosed gondolas, each seating up to eight adults. One VIP gondola will feature leather bucket seats, a stereo system, and a glass floor for a unique viewing experience.
The project will transform the property's existing indoor and outdoor retail and entertainment spaces with a new food-train park under the facility's massive train shed, added green spaces, light shows and a fountain and fire show at the lake as a focal point of the new outdoor experience.
Across from Union Station is Aloe Plaza and the magnificent Carl Milles' Fountain with elaborate bronze sculptural pieces representing the meeting of the rivers.
Union Station is located at 1820 Market Street, between 18th and 20th Streets. The historic building is north of I-64 and just four blocks west of Scottrade Center. The landmark is within walking distance of Busch Stadium and the Gateway Arch.
Saint Louis was established as a trading post on the west banks of the Mississippi River in 1764 by a French fur trapper named Pierre LaClede. Business was good from the beginning. Soon the village became the center of commerce with furs as the main source of exchange for goods.
Today, elements of Old Saint Louis remain as Laclede's Landing, a nine - block industrial area that once housed companies producing coffee, leather goods, mattresses, tobacco, whiskey, candy and machinery for the barges. The historic area is located north of the Gateway Arch. At night, horse drawn carriages and live music add to the downtown atmosphere. Nearby, sightseeing excursions and gaming boats offer additional choices for entertainment.
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