Joplin Union Depot--What's Going On?
Located at the northern edge of downtown Joplin, the Union Depot has sat vacant for decades. The community has long desired to see adaptive reuse of the property but hurdles along the way have prevented its restoration.
In May of 2022, DJA’s Endangered Properties Program established an agreement with Missouri’s Dept. of Natural Resources, the owners of the property since the late 90s. This agreement would allow the EPP to conduct studies and create a marketing plan concerning the property in hopes of finding a developer for the property.
Since that time, DJA has conducted a structural assessment, environmentals, community input sessions, gap analysis and feasibility studies. The results of these evaluations are now available to prospective developers. Proposals are being sought for redevelopment of this iconic piece of Joplin’s history.
Joplin Union Depot RFQ Instructions
- RFQ Submission Process opens soon (date tbd)
- Proposals can be submitted until February 2024
- Proposals should be submitted preferably by email but will also be accepted by USPS, commercial carrier or hand delivery to:
PO Box 176
Jefferson City, MO 65102
Physical Address: 1101 Riverside Drive, Jefferson City, MO 65102
Joplin Union Depot Visioning
During the winter of 2023, four faculty and eight students from South Dakota State University’s (SDSU) School of Design (SoD) collaborated with community members to imagine a new and viable purpose for the historic Union Depot in Joplin, MO.
Funding for this project was provided through a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Technical Assistance to Brownfields (TAB) program coordinated through Kansas State University (KSU).
Dr. Sabine Martin worked closely with Lori Haun (Executive Director of Downtown Joplin Alliance) and Joplin Mayor Doug Lawson and staff to coordinate appropriate logistics technical assistance.
The SDSU SoD, as a TAB partner, provided site inventory and ideation in the form of generating images to capture potential reuse ideas for the Historic Union Depot and its surrounding property based on community input.
The City of Joplin is interested in revitalizing the Historic Union Depot which has sat empty since the last train departed the station in 1969. According to Joplin’s application for technical assistance, “several attempts have been made to re-purpose and rehab the facility, (but) nothing has come to fruition.” The application describes the situation as follows:
The community generally loves the building and understands its value, but after years of vacancy and multiple failed starts, the Depot has started to feel hopeless to the community.
Our organization has recently partnered with Mo DNR and a local commercial real estate firm to be able to list and market the property. While we’ve had inquires and interest in the property, we are working to create a detailed package to share with developers that will help them understand the potential and the community needs and desires for the property.
The building is unusual and doesn’t really fit the typical loft over retail conversions we’ve seen in recent years in downtown. As downtown has recently had significant investment and revitalization, we think it is time that a project at the depot can be successful, but are not sure exactly what will be the best fit for the location and space.
There’s also an adjacent 12 acres that could be purchased to add to a larger development that might include townhouses, apartments, hotel, etc. Ultimately, if we could come up with a concept that could then have a request for proposal and/or feasibility planning done, that would go a long way towards a prospective investor understanding the project potential.
Union Depot Timeline
- 1908 – Joplin Union Depot Company formed by Joplin civic leaders
- 1909 – Missouri, Kansas, and Texas Railroad firms join the Joplin Union Depot Company
- 1911, June 30th – About 2,000 spectators attended opening ceremonies
- 1969 – Last train leaves the Depot, thus beginning its nonuse
- 1972 – The Joplin Centennial Association recommended to Joplin City Council that they acquire the Depot for a history/mineral museum; this was ultimately rejected
- 1973 – Joplin Union Depot placed on the National Register of Historic Places
- 1980 – Unsuccessful plans for restoration/reuse of the Depot
- 1990s – the Missouri State Historic Preservation Office acquires the Depot
- 2000s – Unsuccessful plans for restoration/reuse of the Depot
- 2021 – The Depot is named a 2021 Missouri Preservation Place In Peril