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Amtrak to pick developer for Baltimore’s Penn Station overhaul

Development East News Transportation
Baltimore's Penn Station (Ltvine / Wikimedia Commons)

Amtrak will pick a developer for Baltimore‘s Penn Station overhaul by summer 2017.

The railroad is soliciting a request for qualifications from designers and engineers to add amenities, make the station A.D.A. compatible, open 40,000 square feet of unused office space, revamp the plaza that fronts the station’s main entrance, and revitalize the surrounding neighborhood by developing adjacent properties.

Although Amtrak is exploring financing options, including private equity financing and a public-private option, there is no cost estimate for the project available at this time, the Baltimore Sun reported.

After the news conference to announce the renovation, Amtrak officials and Congressman Elijah E. Cumming gave a presentation to the bidders. Representatives from Arup and FXFowle were in attendance.

Officials cited Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station and Washington, D.C.’s Union Station as inspirations for the Baltimore’s station overhaul. “The redevelopment of Penn Station is incredibly important, as it is the first impression of Baltimore to anyone traveling by rail to the city,” Susan Yum, spokeswoman for the city’s economic development agency, told the Sun. “The station has much more potential as both a transit hub and a key gateway, and we hope that Amtrak will be able to see this project through to completion.”

The announcement follows a spate of planned train station overhauls along the Northeast corridor. D.C.’s Union Station is slated for a new concourse as part of a $50 million renovation, with Amtrak is picking up most of the tab. To jumpstart redevelopment around the train station, a mixed-use development over the rail yard will add 1.5 million square feet of commercial office space, 10,000 square feet of retail, a 500-key hotel, and 1,300 apartments.

New York’s Penn Station is getting a $3 billion overhaul as part of Governor Cuomo’s $100 billion infrastructure improvement plan. The adjacent neoclassical James A. Farley Post Office will be converted into Penn Station’s concourse, increasing the size of the station by 50 percent.

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