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The Dripby Mark Reutter12:05 pmFeb 10, 20140

Penn Station “good repair” study is funded

Amtrak seeks commercial development around the century-old station

Above: Penn Station and surrounding grounds long before the advent of the Jones Falls Expressway.

Baltimore has agreed to kick in $75,000, matching a $325,000 state grant, to develop a plan to determine what improvements are needed to place Amtrak’s historic Penn Station in a state of good repair.

The study will be conducted by Downtown Partnership, a non-profit corporation that markets downtown Baltimore and receives public funds for sanitation, streetscape and other work in the commercial district.

Amtrak and MARC recently spent $1 million to renovate the public bathrooms at the century-old Beaux Arts station, which is used by Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor trains and MARC’s Penn Line service to Washington and Perryville.

Grandiose Future Plans

The study is “a critical first step in determining how we can reactivate and maximize the value of the station’s upper floors,” said Amtrak spokesperson Kimberly D. Woods.

Amtrak is also in the process of developing a commercial plan for seven acres surrounding Penn Station. The passenger rail company hired Beatty Development Group, of Harbor Point fame, to develop a “vision plan” for the area.

Beatty last year proposed 1.5 million square feet of new residential and commercial space, at a cost of about $500 million, around the rail station, which is isolated from the Mt. Vernon neighborhood by the Jones Falls Expressway and from Station North by rail tracks.

Proposed new construction would include three mid-rise apartments on Lanvale Street and office buildings to be constructed over Amtrak’s air rights between St Paul and Calvert Streets and between Charles Street and Maryland Avenue.

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