Lodging Hospitality Management Announces The Next Phase of Development at St. Louis Union Station

Monday August 15, 2016

By Explore St. Louis Guest


The St. Louis Aquarium to Make a Splash in 2018

ST. LOUIS — August 9, 2016 — Something fishy is happening at St. Louis Union Station. Today, Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) announces the next phase of development at the National Historic Landmark train station in downtown St. Louis — the St. Louis Aquarium.

Construction is planned to begin in fall 2016 with an anticipated completion in fall 2018.

“All of us at LHM are excited to bring this highly anticipated attraction to St. Louis,” says Bob O’Loughlin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lodging Hospitality Management and owner of St. Louis Union Station.  “The St. Louis Aquarium will anchor the development that will transform St. Louis Union Station and reposition it as a family attraction destination similar to Chicago’s Navy Pier.”

The 75,000-square-foot St. Louis Aquarium 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 one million gallons of water housing thousands of aquatic species.

A shark tank holding one of the largest collections of sharks in the Midwest will be a highlight of the new attraction. The exhibit will feature a Shark Bridge, a unique V-shaped rope bridge that will suspend visitors just inches above the 385,000-gallon shark-filled tank.  For guests brave enough to walk across, the Shark Bridge will offer a thrilling vantage point above the sharks, stingrays and hundreds of fish.

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 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 aquarium will be an exceptional educational experience for school groups and an entertainment destination for local and out-of-town visitors. An 8,500-square-foot private event space will feature the Shark Tank as a backdrop for weddings, social events and corporate parties.

The St. Louis Aquarium will be part of a $70 million family entertainment complex located at 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. The St. Louis Wheel will be a new iconic attraction on the St. Louis skyline and will be operational every day of the year.

Other phases of the entertainment complex at St. Louis Union Station are underway in an area beneath the historic train shed that will be known as The Train Park. The Train Park will feature food and beverage concessions served out of train cars and shipping containers, the Fire & Light Show at the Lake, the St. Louis Wheel, the Hard Rock Café and Landry’s restaurants, and new retail and family attractions.

The first phase of development — the Fire & Light Show at the Lake — will open by November 2016.  The show emanates from nine fire pods submerged in the watery pool. Tube lights, hung from trees in the Train Park, and a light show projected onto the ceiling panels of the train shed above the lake, will create a display synchronized to music on view every 30-minutes on the hour.

A new boardwalk around the lake will allow guests to stroll completely around the water and connect to both the Hard Rock Café and Landry’s restaurants.  A cantilevered net lounge will be installed between the restaurants where guests can relax in a hammock-style lounge that hovers above the lake to view the Fire & Light Show.

The Train Park and Fire & Light Show are being created by Groundswell Design of Philadelphia. The company recently completed the popular Spruce Street Harbor Park in Philadelphia. That attraction was recently named in the national media as one of the best places to visit in Philadelphia and has become a popular gathering space for locals and visitors alike with floating gardens, colorful hammocks and food and drink from local restaurants. To learn more about Spruce Street Harbor Park, visit the website.

Enhancements also are continuing at the St. Louis Union Station Hotel which will add 32 new hotel rooms beneath the clock tower section on the Market Street side of the building’s northeast corner. Construction on the rooms will start in January 2017 with completion by fall 2017. The hotel currently offers 539 rooms and will increase to 571 rooms when the $5.5 million project is completed.

The hotel also will add 15,636 square feet of new meeting space by expanding the Midway east to 18th Street. Six new breakout rooms ranging from 1,600 to 2,835 square feet will be added along with another 8,700 square feet of flexible event space created with one of the shark tanks as a backdrop at the cost of $3.5 million. Construction on the meeting space will begin in January 2017 with completion by fall 2017.


Renderings of the St. Louis Aquarium, the Train Park and the Observation Wheel are available here.

About St. Louis Union Station

The National Historic Landmark St. Louis Union Station at 1820 Market Street in downtown St. Louis opened to the public on September 1,1894 and was owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.  Designed by Theodore Link, it included three main areas: the Headhouse, the Midway and the 11.5-acre train shed.  The Headhouse originally housed a hotel, a Fred Harvey restaurant, passenger

waiting rooms and railroad ticketing offices. It featured a gold-leafed Grand Hall surrounded by Romanesque arches and topped with a 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows. Union Station’s Headhouse and Midway are constructed of Indiana limestone and initially included 42 tracks.

At its height, the station combined the St Louis passenger services of 22 railroads, the most of any single terminal in the world.  It was the world’s largest and busiest railroad station when it opened in 1894 and its train shed was noted as the largest roof span in the world. In 1903, the station was expanded to accommodate visitors to the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.

Today, the station includes the AAA Four Diamond St. Louis Union Station Hotel, a DoubleTree by Hilton. The 539-room property features four unique ballrooms, beautifully appointed guest rooms and specialty suites, and the elegant Grand Hall featuring an award-winning 3-D projection mapping light show and a 65-foot-long bar.

St. Louis Union Station is owned by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM). The hotel has been named one of the world’s top railway themed hotels by Condé Nast. For information, visit www.stlouisunionstation.com/union-station-hotel/.

About Lodging Hospitality Management

Established in 1986, Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM) is an independently owned and operated lodging and hospitality management company. The largest privately held hotel company in the St. Louis region with 5,000 guest rooms,

LHM has expanded its portfolio over the past 28 years to include 17 hotel properties including upscale, independent and brand-affiliated hotels, eight restaurants and two commercial properties. LHM has acquired and repositioned such iconic hotels and real estate as the Hilton at the Ballpark which features Three Sixty, one of the 10 Best Rooftop Bars in the World; Union Station which features a popular holiday train ride and the award-winning 3-D light show in the Grand Hall; and The Cheshire Hotel, which includes the new restaurant Boundary, as well as dining spots Basso, The Fox and Hounds Tavern and Starbucks.

LHM contributes heavily to the St. Louis region in philanthropic ways by supporting the St. Louis Zoo, Police Foundation, Logos School, Pathways to Independence, United Way, The Boy Scouts, the American Cancer Society, and many other charitable entities. For more information, visit www.lhmc.com

Media Contacts:  Mary Hendron and Nancy Milton, Insight PR St. Louis at Insight@InsightRocks.com or 314-962-6400.