Post-Makeover, Union Station's Reincarnated in Wolfgang Puck's Image

Patrick Michels

Mayor Tom Leppert and City Council Member Sheffie Kadane tenderly declare Union Station open for business.

After a $23-million renovation, Union Station is back in business downtown, this time as a Wolfgang Puck-catered feed lot for hungry Hyatt guests. The 93-year-old building has been stripped down to its original brick walls and quarry tile floors in some areas, leaving a wide-open main hall and seven other conference/dining rooms.

The tall windows on the building's south side provide a majestic view of downtown's scenic fringes: to the left, the Hyatt, and to the right... well, more of the Hyatt. It's a big hotel. "The engine that will drive Union Station," in fact, said Woodbine president and CEO John Scovell.

The station's history popped up in metaphors and vintage posters Thursday, but the future was written across the sea of meeting room chairs and overhead projectors in each room. This is going to be one of the nicest places in town to watch a Powerpoint and nosh on spicy tuna tartare, courtesy Wolfgang Puck Catering.

Course, the building is still city-owned, so when it came time to cut the ribbon, Mayor Tom was the lead scissors-bearer (though Sheffie Kadane was there to add a little muscle). In his speech, Leppert recalled the station's storied history with cinematic flair: It's the place where so many got their first glimpse of Dallas, the spot where soldiers shipped off for World War I and World War II. And now, the place where the huddled white-collar masses can escape from their Hyatt squalor for a marinated haricot vert with goat cheese.

More photos from the opening in our slide show here. --Patrick Michels