Press Release: 11.02.2017

McCarthy Awarded Project for St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station Groundbreaking

McCarthy broke ground today for a new aquarium at St. Louis Union Station in downtown St. Louis. The announcement was made by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), which owns Union Station. St. Louis-based PGAV Destinations will be the designer.

The 120,000-square-foot St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be located in the former mall area and will feature one-of-a-kind exhibits and tanks with 1.3 million gallons of water housing thousands of aquatic animals from the rivers and oceans of the world. Construction of the unique leisure and entertainment destination is expected to be completed in summer 2019.

During construction, the project will create 500 jobs and once operational, will bring more than 100 permanent jobs to the downtown St. Louis area. 

“We’re very excited to have the nation’s top construction and design firms working with us on this project,” said Bob O’Loughlin, chairman and CEO of Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM). “The fact that both McCarthy and PGAV Destinations are based in St. Louis means that they appreciate the value of Union Station’s history and its importance to our community.”

St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station Rendering

McCarthy brings extensive experience in hospitality and entertainment construction, including the 200,000-square-foot OdySea Aquarium in Scottsdale, Ariz., the largest aquarium in the Southwest, and expansion to the St. Louis Gateway Arch Visitor Center and Museum at the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial in downtown St. Louis.

“We want to thank LHM for their investment in our community. Everyone at McCarthy and our staff who will work on the project are all very excited,” said Ryan Freeman, vice president of operations at McCarthy.

“The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station is an important and challenging project for the region. Building this aquarium, which is extremely complex construction, inside of the historic train shed is unique in its array of complexities,” continued Freeman. “Having been headquartered here for the past 100 years, we’ve been able to build some of the most challenging projects around the region and we’re pleased to be a part of adding this exciting new landmark.”

Man Speaking at St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station

The St. Louis Aquarium at Union Station will be part of a $160 million family entertainment complex planned for St. Louis Union Station. Other components will include the previously announced St Louis Wheel. Wheel passengers will take three to four rotations high over the St. Louis skyline during the 10-to-12-minute ride. Located on the south side of the historic train shed.  The St. Louis Wheel will be a new iconic attraction on the St. Louis skyline and will be operational every day of the year, accommodating an estimated 500,000 visitors annually. 

About McCarthy

McCarthy Building Companies, Inc. is the oldest privately held national construction company in the country – with more than 150 years spent collaborating with partners to solve complex building challenges on behalf of its clients. With an unrelenting focus on safety and a comprehensive quality program that span all phases of every project, McCarthy utilizes industry-leading design phase and construction techniques combined with value-add technology to maximize outcomes. Repeatedly honored as a Best Place to Work and Healthiest Employer, McCarthy is ranked the 15th largest domestic general contractor (Engineering News-Record, May 2017). With approximately 1,800 salaried employees and offices in St. Louis, Atlanta; Collinsville, Ill.; Portage, Ind.; Kansas City, Kan.; Omaha, Neb.; Phoenix; Las Vegas; Denver; Dallas, Houston; Albuquerque; and San Diego, Newport Beach, San Francisco, San Jose and Sacramento, Calif. McCarthy is 100 percent employee owned. More information about the company is available online at www.mccarthy.com or by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Google+.

About St. Louis Union Station

The National Historic Landmark St. Louis Union Station at 1820 Market Street in downtown St. Louis opened to the public on September 1, 1894 and was owned by the Terminal Railroad Association of St. Louis.  Designed by Theodore Link, it included three main areas: the Headhouse, the Midway and the 11.5-acre train shed. The Headhouse originally housed a hotel, a Fred Harvey restaurant, passenger waiting rooms and railroad ticketing offices. It featured a gold-leafed Grand Hall surrounded by Romanesque arches and topped with a 65-foot barrel-vaulted ceiling and stained-glass windows. Union Station’s Headhouse and Midway are constructed of Indiana limestone and initially included 42 tracks.

At its height, the station combined the St Louis passenger services of 22 railroads, the most of any single terminal in the world.  It was the world’s largest and busiest railroad station when it opened in 1894 and its train shed was noted as the largest roof span in the world. In 1903, the station was expanded to accommodate visitors to the 1904 St Louis World’s Fair.

Today, the station includes the AAA Four Diamond St. Louis Union Station Hotel, Curio – A Collection by Hilton. The 539-room property features four unique ballrooms, beautifully appointed guest rooms and specialty suites, and the elegant Grand Hall featuring an award-winning 3-D projection mapping light show and a 65-foot-long bar.  The Grand Hall Light Show was a 2015 TEA, Themed Entertainment Association, award winner for outstanding achievement.  The hotel also was awarded the Connie Award in 2015 for demonstrating the highest levels of quality, service and engagement throughout the Brand.

St. Louis Union Station is owned by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM). The hotel has been named one of the world’s top railway themed hotels by Condé Nast. For information, visit www.stlouisunionstation.com/union-station-hotel/.

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