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Working on the Railroad

 Working on the Railroad

You already know the Recovery Act means Amtrak riders  will soon be able to get from Chicago to St. Louis at 110 mph on high-speed rail. But Amtrak  is also investing $40M  in federal funding to make sure passengers are comfortable when they're waiting for those trains at Union Station, Gov. Pat Quinn said at a press conference in Union Station's Great Hall yesterday morning.

Frank Tverdek with the Governor Pat Quinn

JLL's Frank Tverdek, right, with the governor, says the renovations will include a new, $5M HVAC system to replace the current 1950s version. In addition, more bathrooms will prevent lines from spilling out onto the concourse. And the First Class Lounge  will be moved underneath the famous Untouchables staircase to make room for about 40 more seats.

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JLL's Michael Parlato and Ewa Weir

JLL's  Joe Caprile  and Ewa Weir are helping with a feasibility study for the project, slated for completion in 2011. Amtrak will reduce its cost by moving its regional offices to the station from a space leased elsewhere after the improvements are made, and Frank expects the renovations will draw new restaurant and retail  tenants, previously deterred by the lack of air conditioning in the  Great Hall. The new high-speed rail may also create the need to build another station in the West Loop to accommodate the increase in train passengers.