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Meeting slated to review $140M Penn Station overhaul

Elected officials and community leaders have long pushed for the redevelopment of the area around Penn Station. (File photo)

Elected officials and community leaders have long pushed for the redevelopment of the area around Penn Station. (File photo)

The development team leading a $140 million overhaul of Baltimore’s Penn Station plans a second public meeting next week to hammer out details for how to transform the historic train station.

This marks the second meeting to gather public input on the plan since last summer. Developers and Amtrak, which is investing $90 million in the project, expect to deliver a draft proposal this fall and to craft a final version of what they are calling a “vision plan” by this winter.

“We’ve been advancing plans based on feedback received since the Kick Off meeting last summer. We are now excited to share the Vision Plan Framework, and continue the discussion with another opportunity for community input at our second of three public meetings,” according to a message posted on the development’s website.

The meeting is at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 13, at the University of Baltimore William H. Thumel Sr. Business Center at 11 W. Mount Royal Ave.

Amtrak named Penn Station Partners, led by Beatty Development Group and Cross Street Partners, as the master developer in March. That team, according to Amtrak, intends to turn the area into a “vibrant multi-modal hub featuring the historic station at its center.”

The first phase of redevelopment calls for renovating the station headhouse, adding train boarding platforms and passenger concourses. Preliminary plans involve 50,000 square feet of office or hotel space at the station.

Early versions of the proposal also call for two office buildings providing 539,000 square feet of space and a pair of apartment buildings totaling 478 units. Developers currently plan 50,000 square feet of retail as well.

The development team in June named CBRE as leasing agents responsible for securing tenants for the anticipated 1.6-million-square-foot mixed-use project.

“CBRE looks forward to working with Penn Station Partners and Amtrak as a part of this historic redevelopment project that will revitalize our city’s gateway train station and surrounding areas,” Tim Zulick, senior managing director at CBRE, said in a statement after his firm landed the assignment.

Responses gathered during the meeting last summer and via a subsequent survey show residents want the station overhauled as a mixed-use project featuring “retail, and food offerings, with an emphasis on curating local vendors. Most recommended uses include: coworking, incubator spaces, food halls, local retail, hotel, and event spaces.”

Backers hope redeveloping the site not only bolsters Penn Station but improves the surrounding neighborhoods, such as Mount Vernon and the Station North Arts and Entertainment District.

The area already has lured substantial development investment, such as SAA | EVI Development’s $25 million Nelson Kohl apartments on Lanvale Street. During an interview earlier this winter transit oriented development in Baltimore, Ernst Valery, principal at SAA | EVI, stood on the Nelson Kohl’s balcony and gestured toward Penn Station.

“This is transit-oriented development,” Valery said.

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