Amtrak seeks partnership for Philadelphia station

The rail service turned again to the private sector, releasing an RFQ for the redevelopment of its third-busiest station.

Amtrak, a US passenger rail service, is looking towards the private sector for the redevelopment of its 30th Street Station in Philadelphia.

Amtrak released a request for qualifications for the project, calling for bids for a master developer partnership of the service’s third-busiest station. The partner, Amtrak said, should be capable of design, construction, financing, operation and maintenance of the station’s non-rail assets.

The project will see the station – which is owned by Amtrak but also houses stops for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority and New Jersey Transit regional rail services – expanded and modernised, as ridership is expected to double over the next 35 years. But Amtrak also envisions the project bolstering retail and office space development at the complex and developing mixed-use projects in adjacent Amtrak-owned property. The site covers more than 100,000 square metres.

“A master developer partnership lays the groundwork to deliver a world-class multimodal hub on the Northeast Corridor,” said Rina Cutler, a senior director at Amtrak.

Procurement will be held in two steps. Responses to the RFQ are due in November, while Amtrak expects to release a shortlist of qualified teams in early 2018.

Amtrak has turned to the private sector for major redevelopment projects in recent years in an effort to leverage the company’s asset portfolio. Last summer, the company released RFQs for its Chicago Union Station and Baltimore Penn Station.

“These redevelopment efforts will allow Amtrak to better utilise existing assets to drive the core business, realise substantial infusions of private capital, identify new sources of revenue that can be reinvested into the system, demonstrate a more sophisticated acumen for operating as a business and, most importantly, improve the customer experience,” said Amtrak senior director Peter Waldt.

No cost estimate was given for the project.