With $90 million pledged from Amtrak and a master development agreement now in place, the overhaul of Baltimore’s centrally located transit hub is fast approaching. If you’re someone with strong feelings about how this could reshape Station North or the city as a whole, tomorrow is your time to chime in.
Tuesday marks the second of three public meetings to establish a “shared vision among stakeholders and the community,” according to a press advisory. It’s happening at 6 p.m. at the H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, located at 1415 Maryland Ave. on the University of Baltimore campus.
This meeting will cover ground from last summer’s first town hall about the project, which drew more than 200 attendees, and let the public chime in on the current “Vision Plan Framework” that’s still being finalized.
This one’s expected to draw a crowd as well. Penn Station Partners, a group of companies led by Harbor Point developer Beatty Development Group and Bill Struever’s Cross Street Partners, announced it was relocating the meeting this morning due to a “high level of interest” from the public.
Amtrak spokeswoman Beth Toll said they’re “anticipating a similar turnout” to the first meeting, with between 200 and 250 attendees expected.
Penn Station Partners also includes engineering firm RK&K, architects Cho Benn Holback, Mahan Rykiel and Gensler, graphic design company Younts Design, Network Rail Consulting and others.
Station owner Amtrak signed a master development agreement with PSP in the spring, committing $90 million for track and station improvements, and leasing out an adjacent parking lot between N. Charles and St. Paul streets to the developers for the next 98 years.
Amtrak’s plans include bringing an old, unused platform back into service and building an entirely new one to accommodate more passengers.
“By investing in the modernization of Baltimore Penn Station, Amtrak seeks to transform central Baltimore into a premier regional transportation hub that will provide new amenities and transit connections,” Amtrak president and CEO Richard Anderson said in a statement this spring.
The project will surely reshape Station North and surrounding midtown neighborhoods, covering 1.6 million square feet over roughly five acres. Preliminary plans include a hotel, apartments, retail space, offices and a new concourse stretching over the tracks to W. Lanvale Street.
Penn Station Partners has already signed on commercial real estate firm CBRE to lease out future office space at the train station.
The first hour of tomorrow’s meeting will include a presentation of Penn Station Partners’ and Amtrak’s existing framework for the project, followed by an hour of Q&A and public feedback. Those who plan to attend can RSVP here.
For those who miss it, Toll said the presentation will be uploaded online afterward for public review and accompanied by a web-based survey to collect feedback.
Moving forward, the project’s website points to several other required steps before crews can break ground, including presentation of a draft vision plan at another meeting in the fall and the unveiling of a final plan this winter.
Toll said there will be “multiple groundbreakings” in the future due the project being broken out into various phases, though no dates have been pinned down just yet.
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