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Amtrak has revived a plan to open a boutique hotel inside Baltimore's historic Penn Station, which would be a first in an Amtrak-owned station.

The passenger rail operator is negotiating with a developer to create a 72-room hotel on three levels at the station, Amtrak spokesman Cliff Black said March 13.

The upper floors of the station, once used as offices for Amtrak police, customer service and maintenance workers, are vacant, Black said. Baltimore's Penn Station is Amtrak's 10th-busiest. The negotiations with an unnamed developer also include some redevelopment of the station's main floor for shops, he said.

The hotel would encompass about 40,000 square feet, he said. Amtrak planned a hotel there about four years ago and had agreed to a deal calling for a Columbia-based developer to construct a moderately priced $5-million hotel. Black said he did not know what derailed those earlier plans. One analyst said that he suspected the earlier project had difficulty attracting financing and a hotel brand.

Black said he had no timetable for the current project and no details on whether Amtrak or a developer would own the hotel.

[Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers & Trainmen, 3-14-06, from Baltimore Sun website report by Lorraine Mirabella]