WBCM provided a complete package of structural, civil, and marine engineering services and coordinated the design between architects and engineers for the renovation of the historic Fells Point Recreation Pier into a three-level, 128-room luxury hotel. The hotel uses the historic head house as the lobby and bar area while additional renovations restored the ballroom and grand staircase, rehabilitated the pier, installed a pool overlooking the Inner Harbor, created additional bar and restaurant spaces, and constructed a new boat launch.
The head house required extensive work that included the restoration, replacement, or reconstruction of all brick and stonework and all wooden windows. The grand staircase was restored to its original design by removing a modern infill and the third-floor ballroom was re-plastered and restored to its original grandeur. WBCM assessed the existing steel framework of the head house for structural integrity and elevations were surveyed to determine if reuse was feasible. The existing structural steel framing was incorporated into the hotel design where practical. The new second floor of the hotel was placed between the existing first floor and the high bay roof and the existing high bay roof framing was modified and reused to support the hotel’s third floor. The strategic placement of new framed floors and the reuse of existing structural steel was key in meeting the requirements of the Maryland Historic Trust (MHT).
WBCM oversaw the dive inspection of the existing bulkhead, piles, and other critical marine structures and compiled an inspection report outlining deficiencies and suggested remediation. The MHT required the existing pier to be reused and rehabilitated. In response, WBCM’s design reused the existing, structurally-deficient pier as a formwork for a new pier. Holes were cut in the exiting pier, new piles were driven, and a new 24-inch deck was poured in two 12-inch lifts. The top lift of the new structural two-way slab encapsulated all the structural steel elements, including the soil anchor pockets, sheet pile walers and tie rods, and the base plate connections for the building columns. The new pier accommodates three stories of hotel rooms, an interior courtyard, an extended deck, and an integrated infinity pool. The 195-ton precast concrete swimming pool was assembled in the contractor’s yard with heavy lifting shackles and pockets for pouring the connections to the supporting piles when in place. The pool was lifted by a 200-ton barge crane, floated to the site suspended over the water, and set in place on the new piles.
WBCM completed intensive permitting requirements on an aggressive schedule that included fast-tracking the pier building permit and the marine and foundation construction to allow construction to begin early. WBCM coordinated with Baltimore City, the Maryland Department of the Environment, the US Army Corps of Engineers, the MHT, and FEMA to ensure that construction could proceed on the accelerated schedule.
WBCM assisted the team in establishing the pier deck and first floor elevations in accordance with FEMA and City floodplain resiliency requirements. The at-grade level of the renovated structure was raised three feet to get above the 500-year Design Flood Elevation and the exterior of the building was flood-proofed above the 500-year Flood Protection Elevation.
Initial construction began in late 2014 and the Sagamore Pendry Baltimore hotel opened in March 2017.
The restoration has won multiple awards, including: 2018 ASCE/MD Outstanding Civil Engineering Achievement (Major Project), 2017 Engineering News-Record National “Best of the Best” Project – Renovation/Restoration; 2017 Engineering News-Record Mid-Atlantic Best Project – Renovation/Restoration; 2017 American Concrete Institute, Maryland Chapter, Excellence in Concrete-Rehabilitation; 2017 American Institute of Architects (AIA) Maryland Award of Excellence – Honor – Commercial Architecture; and 2017 AIA New York State Award of Excellence.