Eugene L. Meyer | The New York Times

A rendering of the proposed plans for Burnham Place at Union Station in Washington. Credit Akridge and Shalom Baranes Associates
A rendering of the proposed plans for Burnham Place at Union Station in Washington. Credit Akridge and Shalom Baranes Associates

This city’s venerable Union Station, which opened with much fanfare in 1908, was never about the federal union but about the union of two railroads whose separate terminals had formerly occupied valuable space blocks apart, even encroaching on the National Mall.

But, over time, the monumental Beaux-Arts building and its rail yards that united railroads divided the city it served, its 20 north-south tracks bisecting neighborhoods rather than linking them. Now, under an ambitious plan, the air rights over the tracks are to be developed with three million square feet encompassing 1,300 residential units, 100,000 square feet of retail space, more than 500 hotel rooms, and parks and plazas.

The 14-acre project is to be called Burnham Place, after the Chicago architect Daniel Burnham, who designed the station. The new platform atop the tracks will extend a renovated and reconfigured station that will adjoin the mixed-use project. Read more