Media invited to join the Sound Transit Board's first tour of their new headquarters, the beautifully restored landmark Union Station

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After 14 months of painstaking renovation, Seattle's historic Union Station will soon enter a new era as the permanent headquarters of Sound Transit.

Members of the media are invited to join Sound Transit Boardmembers as they tour Union Station on Thursday, Oct. 14 from 11:30 - noon, 401 S. Jackson St. Please RSVP by calling Clarence Moriwaki at (206) 689-4946.

From the magnificent Great Hall to the tiles in the restrooms, the 88-year old historic structure has been authentically restored to its former architectural glory while still creating a state-of-the-art office building.

Sound Transit will move into their new headquarters during the first week of November, with public open houses of Union Station scheduled for the following week. The private non-profit organization Historic Seattle will hold a gala banquet in the Great Hall on Oct. 16, where Sound Transit will receive an award for preserving and restoring Union Station.

"Sound Transit is moving forward with a new transportation legacy for the people of the Puget Sound, so it's fitting that our headquarters will be at Union Station - a symbol of our region's transportation heritage," said Greg Nickels, King County councilmember and vice-chair of the Sound Transit board. Nickels, who led the Board's effort to acquire Union Station, said the board is excited to have the opportunity to help preserve such an important historical and architectural legacy to be enjoyed and used by the public for many more generations.

Union Station first opened in 1911 and for more than half a century served as a major gateway to Puget Sound for millions of people. Since 1971, it has remained dormant and unoccupied, with the exception of occasional use of the Great Hall for special events.

Total renovation and other expenses at Union Station cost about $23 million, a saving of at least $10 million compared to a more expensive long-term lease. Once the total project is completed, the previous owners Union Station Associates - a partnership between Paul Allen and the Nitze-Stagen Company - will turn over Union Station to Sound Transit for one dollar.

Sound Move, the regional transit plan approved by voters in 1996 includes Sounder commuter rail that begin two-way rush hour service between Tacoma and Seattle in 2000 and extend service north to Everett and south to Lakewood by early 2001, construction of Link light rail between SeaTac and Northgate and a 1.6 mile downtown Tacoma Link line, and Regional Express service that includes 18 new limited-stop ST Express regional bus routes and numerous improvements to transit centers, park-and-ride lots and high-occupancy vehicle lanes throughout the region.

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Sound Transit plans, builds and operates regional transit systems and services to improve mobility for Central Puget Sound.