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Metro moves one step closer to choosing Union Station master planners

By Andrew Lopez
Published: Wednesday, June 20, 2012, at 04:58PM
Courtesy of Metro

Gruen Associates and project partner Grimshaw Architects are the front-runners for Metro's contract to develop a master plan for Union Station.

Metro moved one step closer today to choosing an architecture team that will design what the iconic Union Station will look like by 2050. The design team will focus on improving the station's chances at becoming the center of regional transportation for Los Angeles.

The master plan will create better access for pedestrians and cyclists, aim to make surrounding communities safer and improve the historic terminal and adjacent properties overall, according to a Metro document.

At Metro headquarters this afternoon, committee members recommended that Gruen Associates and project partner Grimshaw Architects be awarded a contract that isn't to exceed $4.15 million, according to The Source. The firms make up one of six architectural teams chosen by Metro in December 2011 to submit their ideas for what Union Station might look like in a few decades.

Gruen was involved in the design of Metro's Expo Line and Gold Line and Grimshaw was part of the design team for Melbourne Metro.

The next step is to get approval from the entire Metro Board of Directors on June 28, said Metro spokeswoman Gayle Anderson. There they will authorize the contract and begin the master planning process.

Anderson said the selection process, which began last year with 22 responses to requests for interest and qualifications, has been "very, very competitive."

"They're quite highly qualified, all of them," she said.

If the board for some reason decides not to go with Gruen, the next most-qualified firm will have a chance to negotiate for the contract. Metro also said they have the option of moving forward without a master plan, but acknowledged it wouldn't be a wise move.

"Absent a master plan, near and longer term land use decisions would be made without the knowledge of the impact such decisions will have on future uses of the property," according to a Metro document.

Union Station and 40-acres of land surrounding it were acquired by Metro in a $75-million deal in April 2011.

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