BALTIMORE – Amtrak and Penn Station Partners gathered to host a groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 22, 2021, with Federal Railroad Administration Deputy Administrator Amit Bose, Governor Larry Hogan, Senator Ben Cardin, Senator Chris Van Hollen, Congressman Kweisi Mfume, Mayor Brandon Scott and other local officials and community members to mark the commencement of the redevelopment of Baltimore Penn Station and platform expansion project as part of Amtrak’s $150 million investment to improve the customer experience and grow passenger rail.
Penn Station opened in 1911 and its last major renovation was completed in 1984 as part of the Northeast Corridor Improvement Project. Penn Station serves as the primary transportation hub in Baltimore, and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, more than three million Amtrak and MARC passengers moved through the facility each year.
The Baltimore Penn Station redevelopment project is designed to expand and modernize the historic landmark to better accommodate passenger growth, significantly improve the customer experience and create a revitalized civic space that is woven into the fabric of the community.
Planning and development began in 2018 after the Baltimore-based developer, Penn Station Partners, led by Beatty Development Group and Cross Street Partners, was announced as the selected Baltimore Penn Station Master Developer.
“The redevelopment and revitalization of Baltimore’s Penn Station and the surrounding district is critical to the economic health of the City,” said CEO of Cross Street Partners Bill Struever. “We are fully committed to realizing the potential of this station as a true anchor for the growth of the local community and the City of Baltimore, and we are immensely grateful for the support of Amtrak as we continue laying the groundwork for this important project.”
The development team has a proven track record of inclusive development, meeting or exceeding Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) and Women Business Enterprise (WBE) contracting goals and local hiring goals on numerous projects throughout Baltimore. Projects related to the historic station will have the goal of achieving 20 percent MBE and 10 percent WBE participation on all new development, and 51 percent new hires from Baltimore City.
In addition to station improvements delivered by Penn Station Partners, Amtrak is also breaking ground on platform improvements at the station to better accommodate Amtrak’s new Acela high-speed trains that are set to launch next year, as well as increasing track capacity, improving ride quality, and offering greater reliability both locally and along the entire Northeast Corridor.
To allow for greater operability of train service, Amtrak is rebuilding a low-level platform into an accessible high-level platform and constructing a new platform. This work, along with a renewed overhead electrical system and an upgraded 30-mile stretch of track between Baltimore and Washington Union Station, will enable operation at higher speeds. Once fully completed, these upgrades will improve on-time performance for high-speed train operations by providing route flexibility and allowing unimpeded travel.
“We applaud Amtrak and Penn Station Partners on commencing this transformational station rehabilitation,” said FRA Deputy Administrator Amit Bose. “This project is the embodiment of President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda. Baltimore residents, businesses, as well as those traveling on MARC and Amtrak will all benefit from a modern and fully accessible facility.”
“When I think about how hard we have worked over the last seven years to encourage economic development and to make Maryland open for business, this is exactly the kind of project that symbolizes how far we have come,” said Governor Hogan. “It harnesses the strength of the public and private sectors, it builds on the partnership at the federal, state, and local levels, and the job creation potential and associated economic and transit benefits are an absolute game-changer for Baltimore City and the region.”
Construction work is now underway for platform improvements, with building facade renovations starting later this year. Construction will continue in phases to complete the station renovation and expansion over the next few years.
Posted Oct. 26, 2021