The once-iconic Recreation Pier in Baltimore’s Fells Point district suffered years of neglect. Sagamore Development Co. spearheaded its rebirth, transforming the dilapidated head house into a 128-room luxury hotel, Sagamore Pendry Baltimore. The $60 million renovation overcame many permitting, design, and construction challenges to become an award-winning symbol of successful urban renewal.

One of two key project elements, the pier was constructed of concrete and timber pile foundations, with a concrete sheet wall separating its fast land and outboard portions. Readying it for increased loads and new construction was a top priority, and the developer hired Schnabel to conduct a geotechnical engineering study. Our work involved evaluating subsurface conditions and foundations and reviewing site development plans by WBCM, the design team’s structural engineer. We conducted low strain testing and analysis of existing pier foundations and sheet wall, oversaw the test boring operation, and employed various geophysical survey methods to categorize subsurface conditions and develop seismic recommendations.

Design phase deliverables included recommendations for new driven precast concrete piles, micropiles and spread footings, floor slab support, fills, retaining walls, and grouted soil anchors for stabilization of the pier. During construction, we provided observation and testing services for the installation of the new bulkhead, foundations, and floor slab.

Photo: © Kevin Weber