Union Station: All aboard for saving the model train sets in the basement!

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Like the Little Engine that Could, the come-from-behind proposal by the Union Station Alliance to redevelop Union Station just keeps chugging along. And at yesterday's executive session of the RTD board, it pulled ahead of its competitor, Union Station Neighborhood Co., which had been out in front early. The race is so close that RTD is now delaying its decision by two weeks.

There are many differences between the plans, most notably the 130-room boutique hotel that the Alliance wants to put at Union Station, which would be affiliated with the Oxford Hotel just down the street. But both proposals also emphasize restaurants/bars, retail and offices.

And although it's not a major component of either proposal, both would-be developers have promised to keep the model train clubs that run layouts in the basement as key tenants of the revived Union Station. Those two clubs will both open houses on Friday night, November 25, when the under-construction station will be illuminated; read about that later today in Night & Day. We're on board for that idea!

RTD will hold a special board meeting on December 6 to determine whether to follow the recommendation of its advisory panel, and go with the Alliance proposal; whatever the board decides, Union Station is supposed to be reborn by 2014.

Union Station has gone through many incarnations over the years. Look at our historic slide show here, which accompanied Joel Warner's August 2008 cover story on plans to redevelop the station, "Union Station may become Denver's gateway again -- if it stays on track."

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