Best Renovation Minneapolis 2014 - St. Paul Union Depot
Just a few years ago, St. Paul's Union Depot was a striking edifice in need of new lifeblood, a grand old building with far less purpose than it had before the Amtrak station relocated to a dingy cinderblock carbuncle off University. While its housing and restaurant tenants kept it alive through the aughts, it was the reclamation of the space as a major transit hub for buses, light rail, and commuter trains that finally revitalized it, with the notable help of a gorgeous restoration that made it feel like the Depot had never really gone away. The high ceilings and graceful arches built nearly 100 years ago remain striking, and the return of the skylights — painted over since World War II — give the space some of the most vibrant indoor natural light in the metro. As a transportation hub, it's a crucial center of the city, but the Depot's additional utility as an entertainment venue and community gathering space — as exhibited by the 2013 "Station to Station" tour and President Obama's visit last February — means it's also grown into the fabric of Lowertown's artistic community.