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Amtrak unveils $7B plan for Union Station

By — Jonathan O’Connell and ,

Amtrak is proposing a $7 billion transformation of Union Station, intended to triple passenger capacity and transform the overcrowded station into a high-speed rail hub for the Northeast.

The plan released last week calls for doubling the number of trains the station can accommodate and improving the passenger experience at what is the second-busiest Amtrak station in the country, with 100,000 passenger trips per day.

The building’s corridors, concourses and platforms — many dating to the station’s 1907 opening — are regularly jammed during rush hour and major tourist events. The station’s overcrowded tracks hinder Amtrak and regional train operators from adding new trains despite growing demand.

The proposal comes as District-based developer Akridge plans a $1.5 billion complex of offices, residential towers and a hotel near the transportation center. The development, to be built on a deck built over the tracks behind Union Station, would link Capitol Hill to the NoMa neighborhood.

Amtrak’s proposal still lacks financing, which even in stages probably could require huge government funding commitments.

— Jonathan O’Connell and Ashley Halsey III

Starplex Cinemas plans

multiplex in Loudoun

Starplex Cinemas said last week it plans an 11-screen movie theater in Ashburn as part of a new development called Loudoun Station being built along the Dulles Greenway at Shellhorn Road.

Developer Comstock Partners broke ground on the project this spring and ultimately plans more than 3 million square feet, including offices, restaurants, shopping and 1,500 new apartments or condominiums. The multiplex is slated to open in 2014.

— Jonathan O’Connell

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