An artist’s rendering of the future Penn Station. Image courtesy of Amtrak.
An artist’s rendering of the future Penn Station. Image courtesy of Amtrak.

Amtrak has chosen a team of largely Baltimore-area developers, architects, contractors and others to handle Baltimore Penn Station’s much-awaited renovation.

Beatty Development Group, Cross Street Partners, Gensler, RK&K and Cho Benn Holback are among the local firms who will be on the master development team called Penn Station Partners, which is in charge of re-doing Penn Station, Amtrak announced yesterday.

They’ll be drawing up plans for a mixed-use reinterpretation of Baltimore’s historic train hub that, when finished, will encompass 1.6 million square feet of space. Key pieces will include a hotel, apartments, retail space and offices, as well as a new concourse stretching over the tracks to W. Lanvale Street.

“This development is a historic opportunity for Amtrak and Penn Station Partners to bring to life a bold future for Penn Station, generating jobs and sustained economic opportunities for our Baltimore communities and beyond,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh in a statement.

Baltimore Penn Station is the rail company’s eighth-busiest train hub in the country, but lacks much of the development and activity of other major cities’ train stations. Amtrak is expecting the number of travelers along the Northeast Corridor to double by 2040. The company is in the process of expanding its rail capacity as part of its $151 billion NextGen Vision plan.

Companies have been eyeing Penn Station for a hotel venture since at least 2001, with three separate deals proposed — most recently in 2009 — that later fell through. The goal for each has been to convert the upper floors of the historic building into a hotel with 70 to 80 rooms.

The larger redevelopment plan for the station has stalled for years, until Amtrak geared up its search for partners last year. Rep. Elijah Cummings has been pressuring the company to speed up the process. Penn Station Partners was picked for a short list of candidates last November, alongside teams headed up by Peebles Corp. and the Brandywine Realty Trust.

Beyond new retail and residential, the master plan will entail “modernizing and expanding station facilities and amenities to accommodate growth, renovating the station’s upper floors and supporting transit-oriented development that integrates the surrounding neighborhood’s unique vitality,” said a release from Amtrak.

“On behalf of the entire Penn Station Partners team, we are incredibly excited for this opportunity to reimagine one of Baltimore’s great transportation hubs,” said Michael Beatty, president of Beatty Development Group, in a statement. “The PSP team is comprised of some of the top minds from around the world, experts in their respective fields, all working together to create an ambitious vision for the future of Baltimore Penn Station.”

Details are still very much in the works. Amtrak says project, scope, design and timing will be determined in talks with Penn Station Partners, stakeholders and the public.

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...