If the words “train shed” don’t conjure images of architectural grandeur, the city of Richmond is trying to change that.
(Photo by Jay Paul)
“You can see it now: glass panels on the east and west sides. It’s 47,000 square feet of space with clear views through. It’s incredible.” So says Jeannie Welliver, the project manager for the Richmond Department of Economic and Community Development. “And the drama of the roof — it’s one of the last gabled-roof-shed train stations in the country, a beautiful example of riveted steel.”
The installation of heavy black timber from Washington was expected to be complete by the end of summer.
“We’re capitalizing on this gateway architecture for the entire region,” Welliver says of the historic Main Street Station, to which the shed connects. “It’s like our Eiffel Tower or Big Ben.”
The shed’s renovation is the third phase of an $86 million project to revitalize the station. The 1901 structure will serve as an indoor market, a welcome center and an event space.
“This piece of property is within the nexus of our transportation network like no other site in our region,” says Welliver, citing Amtrak, GRTC routes, the inter-city bus depot across the street, the proximity of the Virginia Capital Trail and the interstate that comes a mere 75 feet from the station’s clock tower.
The original timetable called for completion of the train shed this fall, but Welliver now says it will be late spring of 2017.
“We’ve had some unforeseen conditions,” she says. “The condition of the steel from 1901 has had some impact. There are a number of reasons.”
The results of a community survey on the shed project, which Welliver says that city staffers used “intensively,” will be presented to the Richmond City Council in September.
What retail goes in that space, which had its first run as a mall from 1985 to 1987, also remains to be seen. Welliver says, “We’re working on inking those deals now.”