February 28, 2011

L.A. Metro to purchase Union Station

The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) successfully negotiated the purchase of Los Angeles Union Station from Catellus Operating Limited Partnership for $75 million, a move that sets the stage for future expansion of the "last of the great railway stations" built in North America, according to the agency.

The direct purchase includes 38 acres of land and 5.9 million square-feet of entitlements that provide Metro the right to build on the property and draw lease revenues from both transit operators and businesses. Currently, the station is home to Amtrak, Metrolink, Metro Red and Purple Lines, Metro Gold Line, L.A. FlyAway, and numerous Metro and municipal bus lines serving Los Angeles County and beyond. The station is also home to several new retail businesses.

The purchase enables Metro to better meet the station's current and future transportation needs. Union Station has experienced a boom in the number of transit patrons and others who travel through it on a daily basis. Use of the station is expected to experience strong growth through a combination of factors, including planned construction of the Regional Connector transit project through downtown, the future Metro Silver Line express bus station on Patsaouras Transit Plaza, a growing retail presence and future high speed rail plans for Los Angeles, according to Metro.

Metro's negotiations with the seller began in November 2010. In the seller's interest to conduct an expedited sale, Metro will purchase the station independently. The California High Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has indicated an interest in partial ownership of the station as it continues efforts to bring high speed rail service to the region.

Following an expected April 2011 closing, Metro will review the station premises and plan for future transportation and development needs. Metro will evaluate, among others, potential efforts to add and improve pedestrian flow through Union Station, parking and bus capacity issues on Patsarouas Transit Plaza.

Built in 1939, Union Station is a nationally registered historic landmark.

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