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Metro's Union Station Redevelopment: Architects Balk At "Gifts to the Public"

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The city county's transportation agency recently paid $75 million to buy Union Station and it's first plan of action is redeveloping 42 acres around the 72-year-old train depot. Yesterday, Metro hosted the Union Station Master Plan Industry Review, where they requested planning proposals from numerous architecture firms, including Gensler and Rios Clementi Hale. The Architect's Newspaper reports that some of the firms were miffed that Metro not only wants development proposals, but is also asking the agencies to create a "Vision Plan" for the area, which will be presented to the public but may not necessarily be acted upon. "The Vision Plans will hold no weight in the selection of a winning team. They will instead be considered 'gifts to the public,'" said a Metro rep. It's not yet clear if the agencies will get a check for the VPs. One unnamed architect told A/N, "It's disingenuous to the firms to say you're going to do all this work and present it to the public, but nothing will come of it." Vision Plan or not, Metro will issue a Request for Information and Qualifications for firms a week from today, select a short list by October 27, issue a Request for Proposals on October 31, and select a winning team by March or April of 2012. Metro wants the master plan for Union Station in the can by August 2013. The firms will be partly guided by a 1996 document that called for accommodating future transit needs (which now may include a high-speed rail terminal), improving connections to the greater city (yes, please), and creating "an iconic place of extraordinary design." There's been rumblings that several towers could rise near the station. Image by annjoch
· Downtown Dreams [A/N]
· Metro: Development Coquettes [Curbed LA]

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