By fall 2018, St. Louis will be home to a new 1-million-gallon aquarium. The aquarium is part of a larger redevelopment of St. Louis Union Station, a National Historic Landmark.
The St. Louis Aquarium is being developed by Lodging Hospitality Management (LHM), the St. Louis-based hospitality management company that’s also behind the larger re-imaging of Union Station. The $45 million aquarium will house thousands of aquatic species and will include a 385,000-gallon shark tank. Visitors will be able walk inches above the tank on a v-shaped rope Shark Bridge. The shark tank will also be the backdrop of a 8,500-square-foot private event space for weddings and corporate events.
“The St. Louis Aquarium will anchor the development that will transform St. Louis Union Station and reposition it as a family attraction destination similar to Chicago’s Navy Pier,” explained Bob O’Loughlin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Lodging Hospitality Management and owner of St. Louis Union Station.
STL Wheel (Courtesy LHM)
Along with the aquarium, the redevelopment will also include a 200-foot-high observation Ferris wheel, a Fire & Light Show at the Lake, a new boardwalk around the site’s pond, and a new food area called the Train Park. The redevelopment also includes work on the hotel, which will add 32 new rooms to its current 539 rooms.
Construction on the aquarium is planned to begin this year, with an anticipated completion in fall 2018. The 75,000-square-foot attraction will take the place of the mall area in Union Station. The current hotel and mall at Union Station were designed in 1985 and were part of a revitalization of downtown St. Louis. The popularity of the mall has declined over the last decade and the new redevelopment hopes to bring families from the entire St. Louis region back to the area.