Amtrak reaches deal with developers to invest $90 million into Penn Station

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The long-awaited overhaul of Penn Station is one step closer, with Amtrak announcing today that it’s signed a master development agreement with developer team Penn Station Partners.

Amtrak said it will invest $90 million into the 108-year-old transit hub, with the first phase of rail infrastructure work including the renovation of an existing, out-of-service platform and the construction of an additional new platform.

An Amtrak spokesperson said Friday that design work for the improvements was completed in 2018, “and construction may be able to start as early as this year.” The schedule and timeline will tie in with Amtrak’s introduction of new Acela Express trains, set to happen by 2021.

With its investments, “Amtrak seeks to transform central Baltimore into a premier regional transportation hub that will provide new amenities and transit connections,” company president and CEO Richard Anderson said in a statement.

Amtrak picked Penn Station Partners to complete the re-do of the station in late 2017. The group is led by Harbor Point developer Beatty Development Group and Cross Street Partners, and also includes Gensler, RK&K, JLL, HR&A Advisors and others among its partner consultants, contractors, engineers and architects.

Plans have yet to be released, but they’re looking to re-work Baltimore’s historic train hub into a 1.6 million-square-foot mixed-use development, complete with a hotel, apartments, retail space and offices, as well as a new concourse stretching over the tracks to W. Lanvale Street.

Penn Station Partners held a public meeting last summer to collect feedback about the redevelopment effort and what people want. According to summarized survey results, attendees said they desired a “strong identity around local arts and culture” with the redesign, “walkable and green” public space, a hub for buses and other transit connecting to the station and more.

Penn Station Partners is now planning other public meetings over the next six months, developer Michael Beatty said in a statement. “This is an important project for the city of Baltimore and one that we need to get right. It’s so important that we stay engaged with the community and get their continued input.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings, who’s been pressing Amtrak for years to redevelop the station, said he’s “thrilled to learn that Amtrak will be committing significant capital to support revitalization of this Baltimore landmark.”

This story has been updated.

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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
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