MALL ABOARD!

STAID OLD UNION STATION FINDS ITSELF IN THE SWIRL OF LODO DEVELOPMENT SCHEMES.

In the absence of a specific offer from Trillium, Uhrich says, assembling a hip clientele in the existing structure is the most likely option DUT has for keeping pace with the LoDo boom. And that option, says city planner Bar Chadwick, could be desirable to the four other owners who may worry about emerging as a "stepchild" to the huge Trillium proposal, which among other things calls for Union Station to be sandwiched between two new buildings.

A low-key attempt at station renovation would give the Denver-based Broe more control over his latest acquisition. And it would leave the three railroads that still own shares in the terminal free to concentrate on their bread-and-butter issue: transportation. The station owners recently took part in a six-month study of DUT's potential as a hub for commuter rail, Amtrak trains, local and regional buses and shuttle vans. The Union Pacific has been an avid supporter of the city's vaunted "Air Train," which would run along its tracks; the Burlington has its own visions for commuter lines to the northern suburbs; and Phil Anschutz's Southern Pacific (formerly the Rio Grande) continues to operate the much-loved Ski Train.

The train station's new ownership structure is a "difficult group" that has yet to come to terms with its conflicting interests, notes Trillium's Utter. Her company--which has backed away from its projection of a 1995 grand opening and now says 1996 is "acceptable"--hopes its colleagues on the DUT board will make a decision on the Denver Union Center concept this summer, she says. "Our statements at the DUT board meetings have been, `Just do something, just do something,'" she says. "The building is deteriorating, and there are lots of things they could do--just pick one and do it."

But hurrying things along has never been part of the corporate culture at Union Station. Like the Amtrak passengers who each day line the wooden benches in the great hall, Trillium and the other players in the LoDo scene may just have to get used to waiting.

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