Preservation Meets Hospitality

While I was in Baltimore this past holiday weekend, I got a chance to walk through Kevin Plank’s, newly opened, boutique hotel, The Sagamore Pendry. Plank is the CEO of Under Armour, which is also headquartered in Baltimore. The headquarters sits right across the Harbour looking straight at what was once a deteriorating pier, now Plank has turned it into a new luxury hotel.

With my fascination and love of historic preservation, I took some time to peek inside. I lived in Baltimore for several years and saw this under construction on one of my visits back.

This hotel sits on what was once the historic Fells Point Recreation Pier. It served as landing point for thousands of new immigrants processed across the Patapsco River, and an important economic and social hub until it closed in the 1930s. It sat vacant for almost 15 years! Some of the first vessels commissioned for the U.S. Navy were built in Fell’s Point shipyards, including the “U.S.F. Constellation” in 1797. The restoration of the pier, clocked in 200,000 man-hours worked, $250,000 worth of asbestos and $300,000 worth of lead paint removal alone. Developers also had to comply with preservation rules, and address potential flood risks. It was said during construction that the team discovered cannons when support structures needed for the pier kept hitting “very hard material” on the harbor floor.

The design was done by Patrick Sutton, a well-known interior designer in Baltimore. A lot of elements in the hotel are a nod to Baltimore’s heritage. The Star Spangled Banner, written by Francis Scott Key, was drawn from his witnessed attack on Fort McHenry in Baltimore. So, as you enter the hotel you see a wall of lyrics to the song. The guestrooms are supposed to evoke the feel of being in a captain’s cabin with all the rich wood lining the walls.

Fells Point, in Baltimore, is recognized as one of the best – preserved historic areas in the country. It is listed as a national registered historic district that dates back to 1763. It’s charming cobblestone streets, old taverns, shops and homes all lining the water, makes it one of my favorite places to visit.


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