BALTIMORE — Transporting people is its business, but now, Amtrak is delivering a whole lot more in changing the face of Baltimore Penn Station.
“New life, opportunities, jobs… you’ve heard that… and growth,” said Lauren Kelly-Washington, president of the Greenmount West Community Association. "All of those aforementioned things are what the physical center, the physical center---this is it, of Baltimore City deserves.”
The plans include restoring the station to its original luster when it was built back in 1911, along with constructing a three-tiered train terminal beside the historic structure, and it doesn’t stop there.
“We believe this construction will serve as a catalyst to transform even the vacant land nearby into a mixed-use, transit-oriented development with up to one million square feet of new office, retail and residential space,” said Amtrak CEO Bill Flynn.
The project comes with goals to assure businesses owned by minority and women get contracts, and more than half of all of the new workers hired must come from the city.
“But it’s not just about the building,” said Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott. “Yes, that’s important. It’s not just about trains and getting people (there) faster, but the first thing (they) mentioned to me today was about the opportunity that it will create for Baltimoreans, for young people, for people to have jobs here. That doesn’t always happen.” (clapping)
In addition the station improvements, Amtrak will also be expanding its platforms to accommodate new high-speed Acela trains set to launch next year.