- Associated Press - Tuesday, August 9, 2016

ST. LOUIS (AP) - The owner of Union Station in downtown St. Louis is planning a $45 million aquarium that will feature sharks and thousands of other aquatic species.

Construction should begin this fall and its opening is planned for late 2018, officials with Lodging Hospitality Management said. The St. Louis Aquarium will be built in what had been Union Station’s shopping mall.

LHM’s chairman and chief executive, Bob O’Loughlin, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (https://bit.ly/2bgZLvL ) the aquarium is expected to help establish Union Station as a family attraction similar to Navy Pier in Chicago. The aquarium will have shops and restaurants aimed at families also visiting the Gateway Arch, City Museum and other downtown attractions.

St. Louis Aquarium will be open year-round. The 75,000-square-foot facility will have fish tanks containing a combined 1 million gallons of water, and a rope-and-steel bridge that will suspend visitors above water.

O’Loughlin said the company will coordinate Union Station projects with Metro Transit, which plans to rehabilitate the MetroLink tunnel that runs beneath a train shed at Union Station.

LHM said plans also include a 200-foot-tall observation wheel that was announced in January 2015.

Union Station was opened in 1894 and is a National Historic Landmark. It closed in 1978 when Amtrak relocated its St. Louis station.

Union Station’s $140 million transformation into a festival marketplace was completed in 1985.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, https://www.stltoday.com

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