The area around Union Station has recently gained several high-profile restaurants, including Coohills and Charlie Palmer's pair of spots, District Meats and Wazee Wood-Fired Pizza (opening next week), with The Kitchen and the Squeaky Bean coming next year.
Now Union Station itself could gain some flashy new tenants. On Tuesday, the RTD board is slated to finally decide which of the two proposals submitted for the station will get the go-ahead; in the meantime, the developers have been making some last-minute announcements regarding their plans. Union Station Neighborhood Co., for example, just revealed that the market and food hall it proposed for the space will be run by Bobby Stuckey and Lachlan MacKinnon-Patterson of Boulder's Frasca Food and Wine.
Stuckey, who owns Frasca (where I once worked), Pizzeria Locale and Caffè with MacKinnon-Patterson, emphasizes that this isn't a done deal yet. "We're only in on the project Mark Falcone is proposing," he says of Continuum Partners, one of the groups involved with Union Station Neighborhood Co. "It's not a done deal yet. We have to make sure they get it before we can run with it. Otherwise, there will be a hotel there."
That hotel is part of the plan submitted by Union Station Alliance, which just moved the proposed lobby from the first floor to the second. That plan also includes retail spaces to be occupied by undisclosed tenants, with Joe Vostrejs of the Larimer Group coming up with the lineup.
Stuckey acknowledges that he and MacKinnon-Patterson are already working on plans in case the Union Station Neighborhood Co. proposal is chosen, although those plans are still vague. A market is part of the scheme, but more ideas are floating around, too. "The idea is to have a couple of options for commuters, whether that's coffee, after-work aperitivos, pizza or pastas," he explains, adding that salumi, wine and cheese, and gelato are also possibilities.
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"But we're still three years out, and we don't even know the square footage we'd be allowed," he notes. Still, he says he's excited about the prospect of being part of the development: "It'll be a great thing for the city and for downtown."
Would the partners still come to LoDo if the Union Station deal fell through? "I don't think we could really do a Frasca down there," says Stuckey. "The terroir for that is here, and it wouldn't be good for Frasca here for us to do another one down there. But I could see doing a pizzeria down there."
Don't hold your breath, though. "We're slow movers," he says. "It would take us a long time."