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DENVER-The Regional Transportation District and partners agreed to pay $49.6 million for the historic Union Station in Lower Downtown, which it plans to convert into an intermodal-transit hub. The sellers are a partnership of the Union Pacific Railroad, Trillium Corp. of Bellingham, WA, and Denver real estate and railroad investor Pat Broe.

The price is about 17% less than the maximum of $60 million RTD was willing to pay. The price was reached from two independent appraisals. The city of Denver is kicking in as much as $10 million.

The purchase, which will include $20 million from the Denver Regional Council of Governments, includes the station, which was built in 1881 at Wynkoop and 17th streets. The building sits on an 18.5-acre site.

RTD also purchased the seller’s rights to a high-rise development, which could include offices, residential and retail. Observers tell GlobeSt.com it was an opportune time to sell, as the high-end real estate market is softening.

Next April, RTS will pen its first light rail line behind the station, the 1.8-mile loop in the Central Platte Valley, which will connect the Auraria Higher Education Campus, the new Invesco Field at Mile High football stadium and the Pepsi Center.

Eventually, RTD hopes to have a train connect from Union Station to DIA, as well as light rail lines from suburban areas such as Arvada, Lakewood, Boulder and Adams County.

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