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Amtrak moving forward with Union Station food hall, new Clinton Street entrance

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The new dining and retail complex would open next year

A street-level view of Union Station’s western wall, lined with round columns with windows in between. A new entrance canopy reads “Union Station Food Hall.”
A rendering of Union Station’s new Clinton Street entrance shows a new canopy, signage, and the reinstallation of blocked-off windows.
Courtesy Amtrak/Goettsch Partners

Amtrak’s ongoing redevelopment of Chicago’s Union Station is turning its attention toward building a new food hall and western entrance along Clinton Street. The proposed dining and retail complex would occupy a cavernous fire-damaged space which has sat vacant for nearly four decades.

As part of a city search to seek out potential restaurant operators, Amtrak released a batch of updated renderings showing the multi-level space. It will occupy the former Fred Harvey restaurant—a nationwide chain that catered specifically to rail travelers. The plan calls for a new exterior canopy as well as the reinstallation of windows removed following a 1980 fire.

A large train terminal with soaring ceilings and beaux arts architecture. Three doors topped by large windows and a sign reading “The Food Hall” lead to the new dining space.
A view of addition from the station’s historic Great Hall. The future food hall is currently obscured behind a large black curtain.
Courtesy Amtrak/Goettsch Partners
A rendering shows customers enjoying a split-level dining area with restaurants lining the wall and occupying a central counter. Doors in the back lead to the station’s Great Hall.
The new food hall will span multiple levels and will reuse the four existing columns from the former Fred Harvey restaurant.
Courtesy Amtrak/Goettsch Partners

Goettsch Partners is overseeing the Fred Harvey renovation. The Chicago-based architecture firm led several recent Union Station projects including the addition of the Metropolitan Lounge, the restoration of the Great Hall and its new skylight, and the adaptive reuse of the old women’s lounge into the Burlington Room event space.

Amtrak aims to open the food court by next summer. The rail operator is funding the project with more than $10 million generated from the sale of its nearby parking garage, which will be redeveloped into a 700-foot-tall BMO Harris-anchored office tower. Demolition work is expected to begin before the end of the year.

Plans are also in the works to redevelop the empty upper floors of Union Station’s headhouse into a pair of hotels with a combined 400 guest rooms. The project, which includes a modest single-story addition to the historic building, was approved by the city late last year.

A drawing of an ornate dining room with four classical columns, a large wall of windows, and hanging chandeliers. There are tables and diners in old fashioned hats and clothing.
An illustration of the Fred Harvey Lunch Room in its heyday.
Courtesy Amtrak
A dark, windowless space with raw concrete columns and walls. The ceiling is scorched black from a previous fire.
The fire damaged space in 2016.
Jay Koziarz

Union Station

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