The Union Station Cinema was opened adjacent to the old Union Station Power House. The Union Station itself was completely renovated and turned into a shopping mall and entertainment center.
The theatre opened with a 70mm screen and two auditoriums with THX sound. The theatre itself was a 42,000-square-foot free-standing building.
The lobby area featured an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and a deli so that patrons could either eat before or after the show. There was a mural that was removed from above the old ticket counter in Union Station where passengers would buy their train tickets. The mural depicted linemen working on the rails and different types of trains. The mural was restored and placed on the wall above the concession stand in the new theatre.
The 10-screen theatre presented unique construction challenges. The 2,300-seat theatre was built under an elevated section of an interstate highway. Due to the building’s location, steel could not be lowered by crane. Instead, steel structural beams were hoisted from below with a crane and placed on the roof which passes only 10 feet under the overpass.
Four highway support piers lie in the center of the lobby and are incorporated into the building design. Special construction techniques were used to minimize vibrations and sound transmission.