BALTIMORE (WJZ) – Travel back in time: it’s 1910 in Baltimore, and construction on what will soon be a bustling transportation hub is underway. Penn Station was then known as Union Station and it was built for the Pennsylvania Railroad.
Over time, Baltimore had many railroad stations serving different lines, but when cars came to the picture, several private railroads were closed.
READ MORE: Two firefighters injured in separate alarm 2 fire in Baltimore on Wednesday
However, Penn Station survived and quickly became one of the busiest train stations in the country.
History is written all over its walls, but a lot of it you can’t even see.
Most people haven’t been on the second floor of Penn Station in 30 years, and many don’t realize there are third and fourth floors up there.
Walk through the atrium on the second floor and you’ll find a sprawling map. At one time, this was the transfer control room, which monitored railroad movements from Maryland, to Cecil County, to Washington DC.
Soon, these rooms and corridors will be transformed, something that hasn’t happened here since the 1980s.
Tim Pula is one of the people behind it. He is the Vice President of Community Development for the Beatty Development Team, being one of the partners in the redevelopment of Penn Station.
Taking an old space like this and transforming it to make it new while preserving the station’s history is a delicate balance.
“There are certainly challenges and there is give and take,” says Pula. “Normally, there is some negotiation and compromise to achieve something that we think is suitable for new users but also maintains character.”
The Tiffany skylights, iron railings and 100-year-old windows are all still intact. The massive map of the northeast on the second floor will be preserved for public viewing.
READ MORE: The giants of aviation take the unified authority on the mask mission
All vacant rooms will be converted into three floors of coworking spaces.
The developers are hoping to boost the development of the entire surrounding area with the renovation of Penn Station.
Restaurants, cafes and other gathering areas are planned for the ticketing area on the first floor. Then a brand new lounge will be built on the railroad tracks on Lanvale Street when all is said and done.
Lauren Kelly-Washington is the president of the Greenmount West Community Association. She moved to the neighborhood specifically to be near Penn Station, because her husband was returning from work to Washington, DC.
“It’s the heartbeat of Baltimore,” says Kelly-Washington. “So this is how I like to think about it. Baltimore is the city of the stooped posture. That’s the biggest stoop you can have, isn’t it? “
As Baltimore’s biggest stop, she hopes it will become a destination. Where people go to bond over a meal, or maybe an art exhibit, or a concert.
“Culture and ideas are brought to and through the city center, especially through the transportation system,” said Kelly-Washington.
Scaffolding has been raised around the station to improve the exterior. Starting this summer, teams will make core and shell improvements to the building, such as new roofs, window restorations, updated stairs and ramps, as well as mechanical systems, New electricity and plumbing.
In the fall, construction will begin to expand the station in a track parking lot from the main hall. Once completed, the new structure will house tickets and luggage for Amtrak, allowing the main lounge to be used for retail.
By 2023, the developers hope to refurbish the upper three floors as office space, either for a single anchor tenant or for multiple businesses.
MORE NEWS: Maryland lawmakers rush to pass bills, including a banned gun
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/03/23/then-now-the-past-present-future-of-baltimores-penn-station/ Past, Present & Future of Penn Station in Baltimore – CBS Baltimore