The Chicago Plan Commission has approved the redevelopment of the Van Buren Metra station within Grant Park in The Loop. Formally located at 401-407 S Michigan Avenue at the northern end of the park’s grand entrance on E Ida B Wells Drive, the station features entrances on both sides of the avenue as well as the famed Paris Metro-style entrance on the east side. Now Metra is proposing a major renovation led by Muller2 Architects with new entrances and updated pedestrian flow.
Currently the station is anchored by the famed French Art Nouveau-style entrance made an exact copy from the original molds used for the Paris Metro designed by Hector Guimard, it was built in 2003 as a gift from Paris to its sister cities with others going to Mexico City and Lisbon. Now it will be carefully removed, restored, and repainted as it’s moved into storage while the Department of Cultural Affairs finds a new home for it, kicking off the greater construction project which will partially focus on added accessibility.
Starting on the westside of Michigan Avenue, the two existing entrances will have their damaged glass replaced, metal frame repainted, waterproofing and drainage improved, as well as receive a new stone base with a decorative relief pattern. Moving east the Paris entrance will be sealed and a new larger entrance will be constructed in the existing grass-patch nearby, with a curved glass design similar to some of the South Loop CTA stations. The new entry will boast an elevator, stairs, digital signage, and a flower garden behind it.
Next to the new entrance will be a new ADA ramp built onto the stairs leading up to the existing bridge, the steps will be slightly relocated and see the addition of new metal handrails as well as cuts to its original stone elements. The ramp will be built on top of the sunken station’s new green roof which will have all of its rooftop equipment consolidated into screened areas and skylights restored. The actual station house below will also receive updates to its lobby, waiting rooms, restrooms, and more.
The platform itself will also be repaired and have much of its canopies replaced leading to a new entrance on E Jackson Drive. The new entry will be anchored by a modern glass elevator shaft flanked by two new staircases on either side, this will allow for increased passenger flow and added emergency exits as well. The roughly $100 million project can now move forward with its construction process expected to begin in 2024 and finish by 2027.
The full presentation for the work can be found here.