McLaren’s Maryland office officially opened its doors 20 years ago in the center of Baltimore City. It was the year 2000 and structural engineer, David McLaren, P.E., SECB was working for a local engineering firm (George Evans & Associates) when he was presented with an opportunity to acquire the business. Dave decided to call his cousin, Malcolm McLaren, P.E., SECB who was running a successful engineering practice headquartered in New York. Mal had already expanded his firm with an office in Florida five years prior, and Dave wondered if Mal would be interested in entering the Baltimore market next.
Long story short, the answer was yes. McLaren quickly grew into Baltimore and took root on St. Paul Street with a 3-person engineering crew consisting of Dave at the helm, and two of George Evan & Associates’ former employees: Administrative Assistant, Diane Cunningham and Engineer, Mark Cunningham. Soon after, they were joined by CADD Technician, George Kolb. In their early days, the small Baltimore team focused primarily on structural engineering services around Maryland.
Fast forward 20 years and the office has undergone an impressive trajectory! Today, McLaren’s Baltimore office sits in the heart of the Inner Harbor at the Pratt Street Power Plant building. The group has grown to 30+ staff and includes all four original members of the team! McLaren’s Baltimore engineering team is now an industry staple with full-service capabilities including structural, civil, marine, bridge/highway rail, construction engineering, in-house survey, forensics, and entertainment. David McLaren, P.E., SECB serves as the Maryland Regional Director and the company’s Vice President of the Structures.
The work generated by the Baltimore team over the past 20 years has ranged widely in size, shape and scope. The group has made a name for themselves throughout the industry for engineering some of the most iconic projects across multiple markets in Maryland and throughout the nation.
Here is a look at the Top 20 Compelling Projects engineered out of McLaren’s Baltimore engineering group over the past 20 years!
- Live! Casino Maryland
The 2 million square foot, Live! Maryland Casino is the largest and highest revenue-generating gaming development of its kind in Maryland. The $200 million project includes a 300,000 square foot gaming facility along with five nationally acclaimed restaurants and entertainment venues. McLaren was engineer-of-record providing civil, geotechnical, and structural engineering services including the design of the foundation system and superstructure for the casino, porte cochere, central utility plant, 4,300-car / 6-level parking garage above the casino, and LED and static signage. McLaren utilized in-situ testing techniques to come up with a solution to increase the allowable soil bearing pressure, eliminating the need for a deep foundation system and saving the project more than $2 million. Live! Maryland was fast-tracked and went from initial design concept to grand opening in just 17 months!
- National Aquarium Floating Wetland Prototype
As part of the National Aquarium in Baltimore’s Master Plan, they hope to one day transform the canal between Piers 3 and 4 in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor into a 15,000 square foot floating wetland habitat. The aim is to provide an ecosystem to numerous native species including crabs, mussels, wading birds waterfowl, eels, and other fish species while allowing visitors a unique perspective of the salt marsh habitat of the Chesapeake Bay. To test the stability and resiliency of a large-scale project, McLaren’s Marine team engineered a 15-foot by 20-foot small-scale prototype that is currently exceeding expectations in the Aquarium’s waterfront campus in Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.
- 400 Park Avenue Redevelopment
Baltimore’s historic Chinatown district is being resurrected and 400 Park Ave is at the center of the revitalization. The adaptive-reuse of the development sets to transform a string of unoccupied rowhomes and a former electric substation (409 Tyson) into an 80,000 square-foot mixed-use apartment building. As the prime consultant, McLaren is providing structural and civil engineering as well as helping to coordinate with the Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation (CHAP) to maintain the items deemed historically significant.
- Diverging Diamond Interchange
At MD-295 Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Arundel Mills Boulevard, the diverging diamond interchange was the first of its kind in Maryland. The interchange was redesigned to direct the flow of traffic over the bridge “on the wrong side,” passing right-to-right instead of left-to-left. The result was just one signalized intersection, improving traffic flow and accommodating the increased volume anticipated with the development of Live! Maryland Casino. McLaren’s Baltimore office provided site and civil engineering, roadway engineering, surveying, and construction oversight to keep the project on schedule. The interchange was opened just 12 months after design efforts began (33 days after the SHA Access Permit was issued), and just days before the grand opening of the Casino.
- MECU Pavilion
The waterfront entertainment venue located on Pier Six of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor opened in 1981 but has undergone an extensive renovation over the years with McLaren providing structural engineering, survey services and marine engineering for all phases. In 1991, structural engineering and design of the superstructure was provided along with marine engineering for the pier and concrete sheet pile bulkhead. In 2008, McLaren provide structural engineering for the repairs to damaged strut and tie-down assemblies. In 2016, the team provided a complete property condition assessment. For the renovation in 2018, McLaren’s structural, civil, and surveying teams worked on the pavilion, newly acquired by Live Nation.
- 1900 Arch Street
McLaren’s Baltimore engineering team provided structural engineering services for this luxury mixed-use building constructed on a former parking lot, at the corner of 19th and Arch Streets in Philadelphia’s Logan Square. The 330,000 square foot, three-tiered building has showcased the strength capacity of light gage metal in a high-rise development. It is one of North America’s tallest pre-fabricated metal load-bearing wall panel projects and stands 14 stories tall. McLaren was brought into this project well after the design development phase was underway to perform a significant structural redesign without threatening the architectural aesthetic of the structure by using a pre-engineered, pre-fabricated light gage wall and floor panel system. This innovative design expedited permitting, required a shorter construction time and helped the project stay within budget.
- Round House Theatre Renovation
Dubbed by the press as “the current meteor in DC Theater”, the Round House Theatre underwent an impressive 8-month, $9 million renovation. McLaren provided structural engineering to help bring this project center stage with an expanded lobby featuring a new staircase, back of house modernization, acoustic improvements and so much more. For the theatre’s entryway, McLaren provided structural design of the new feature staircase, extension of the second-floor lobby plate to include two new cantilevered balcony elements and everything around the box office. All the elements work together to create an inviting area for theater goers to keep the conversation going
- Inmar Headquarters
Our Baltimore office engineered the transformation of two historic tobacco warehouse buildings, in North Carolina, into one 240,000 square-foot LEED Platinum corporate headquarters and Class A office space. McLaren designed the conversion of the space into a four-story modern office in a 15-month design and construction schedule. Early in the design phase, the State Historical Preservation Office notified the design team that the existing second-floor slab of the warehouse had to be preserved, which reduced planned floor to floor heights from 14’ (standard for an office) to under 11’. With an innovative plan, the team designed a floor system solution, combining traditional framing systems into a slim floor package. McLaren also worked closely with the architectural designers to accommodate several signature design features. McLaren’s work on the adaptive reuse design preserved the historic structure while accommodating Inmar’s modern, high-tech workspace.
- City of Frederick Shared Use Path
McLaren worked closely with key community members to design a pedestrian bridge and tunnel necessary to traverse pathway obstacles that included a highway and a flowing creek. McLaren’s work helped expand the path which connects the west and east sides of the city, carrying bicycles and pedestrians safely to and from the Golden Mile, Rock Creek Trail, Waterford Park, Baker Park, Carroll Creek and downtown Frederick. As part of the work for this project, McLaren was designed and coordinated efforts for a 100-foot long by 10-foot wide pedestrian bridge over Carroll Creek, a 2,000 feet-long of 12 foot-wide shared-use path, and a 70-foot long by 14 foot wide shared use tunnel beneath U.S. Route 15 exit. With limited site access, McLaren created a design that worked in harmony with the slopes and angles in the landscape.
- Salisbury State University, Devilbiss Science Hall Henson School of Science and Technology
McLaren provided structural engineering services for Devilbiss Science Hall at Salisbury State University. The Henson School of Science and Technology is a four-story, student-centered environment located at the site of the current Devilbiss Science Hall. Project highlights included the design of sloped steel framing to accommodate “stadium” seating in the theatre-lecture hall, curtain wall design and exposed structural steel trellis on the third floor. In addition to 22 classrooms and 27 offices, the school houses seven different departments dedicated to careers in STEM.
- Parking Over the Pond at Live! Maryland / West Side Parking Lot & Underground Storm Water Detention Facility
To support the expansion of the iconic Live! Maryland project, McLaren converted an existing stormwater pond into an underground detention/retention and water quality facility. The project provided environmental benefits while reclaiming the land for an additional surface parking for the event center. Design of the underground detention/ retention and water quality facility included consecutive bays of 10-foot perforated corrugated metal pipe totaling 4,700 linear feet, plus approximately 10,000 linear feet of 2-foot perforated corrugated metal pipe. The innovative design re-imagined a new solution that saved the client space, time and money while improving the environmental outcome.
- 706 Giddings Avenue
McLaren completed structural engineering work on the award-winning 22,000 square-foot renovation project at 706 Giddings Avenue in Annapolis, Maryland. Through a complete redesign, the project team added 9,000 square feet both vertically and horizontally to the existing 13,000-square-foot building, transforming it into a Class A property. McLaren was able to design a solution to maintain the structural integrity of the floor framing, while removing an obstructive column in the elevator lobby. A new roof was also designed to cantilever 25-feet by 16-feet out in two directions. The contemporary building now brings a touch of modernity to West Annapolis.
- National Aquarium Black Tip Reef Exhibit
Blacktip Reef is the National Aquarium in Baltimore’s breathtaking, 265,000-gallon saltwater habitat. Replicating an Indo-Pacific reef landscape in the heart of Maryland’s Inner Harbor, the exhibit was opened as a home to nearly 70 tropical species of marine animals including blacktip reef sharks and a 500-pound rescued sea turtle named Calypso. McLaren’s Baltimore engineering team helped give visitors get a closer look into their natural environment by providing a tank upgrade that features a large curved acrylic viewing pane and a floor-to-ceiling pop-out viewing panel (27-foot by 8-foot tall by 3-inch). For this complete restoration, McLaren’s Baltimore office performed structural investigation, design and construction phase services to help bring the spectacular display to life.
- The Pennant
The Pennant is a five-story multifamily apartment building with common amenity spaces and integrated parking. McLaren is currently providing structural and marine engineering for this adaptive re-use waterfront development located in Fells Point, Baltimore, MD. The former Wolfe Street warehouse site is being transformed into a two-level parking garage, fitness center, residential entryway and storage space. A three-story addition will be added on top of the existing warehouse and a five-story addition will be constructed adjacent to the warehouse.
- Two Light
Our Baltimore engineering team provided full-service structural engineering design services for The Cordish Companies’ $120 million luxury apartment development in downtown Kansas City, dubbed Two Light. Formerly a surface parking lot, the new 24-story glass tower has almost 500,000 square feet of space. The mixed-use building includes 296 residential units with floor-to-ceiling windows, 20,000 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, a 436-space above-grade parking structure, and 20,000 square feet of amenities. McLaren’s innovative engineers worked actively with the architect and construction manager to create an efficient column layout that allowed for use of “flying framework” and uniform slab soffit. McLaren also worked with the signage contractor to attach static and LED signage to the facade of the building.
- Equitable Building
Originally constructed in 1891, The Equitable Building is the oldest building in Monument Square and was considered Baltimore’s first skyscraper. McLaren provided structural engineering services for the adaptive reuse of the 225,000-square-foot historic office building at 10 North Calvert Street, into a mixed-use space with approximately 180 market-rate rental apartments and 26,000 square feet of retail space. Originally brought into the project to provide a second opinion on one element of the project, McLaren’s scope increased to include a range of structural engineering services, including an evaluation of the historic Turkish bath building in the central courtyard.
- Texas Live! & Live! by Loews
McLaren’s Baltimore engineers provided structural engineering services for Texas Live!, Arlington’s dining, entertainment and hospitality district. From schematic design to construction administration, the McLaren team designed Texas’ new 200,000 square-foot restaurant and music venue using a combination of structural systems. Both the indoor and outdoor venues have a roof system that spans the entire space and are framed with 120-foot and 160-foot open web framing to create a column-free interior. The redevelopment transformed a surface parking lot between the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers stadiums – adjacent to the Rangers’ new Globe Life Field – into a world-class entertainment destination.
- Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department
McLaren provided comprehensive engineering services for the $7 million renovation and expansion of the Mechanicsville Volunteer Fire Department station. This included approximately 31,500 square feet of new construction. The project consisted of demolishing much of the existing fire station and creating a new facility that includes an office, training space, day room, kitchen, bunk rooms and apparatus bays. The social hall underwent extensive renovations to make it uniform with the new structure, and new parking areas were added. McLaren provided site planning and layout, site grading and stormwater management design, erosion and sediment control, utility design, paving design, landscape design and preparation of all required land development plans.
- Appraisers’ Building
McLaren provided structural design and engineering services for the adaptive reuse of this historic ten-story steel-framed Appraisers’ Building in Baltimore, MD. McLaren’s structural engineers helped transform the former commercial building into mixed-use luxury apartments, located just blocks from Baltimore’s picturesque Inner Harbor. The team worked closely with the client, contractor and architect to provide designs and on-site assistance throughout development and construction. This allowed design work to continue during construction, avoiding delays.
- National Aquarium Animal Care and Rescue Center
McLaren was hired to renovate an existing warehouse building, that occupies an entire city block, to house the Animal Care & Rescue Center for the National Aquarium in Baltimore. The project doubled the capacity it previously had for the rehabilitation of rescued animals for release. The facility also serves as an additional program space for the Aquarium, with behind-the-scene access to portions of the facility for visitors. McLaren’s work involved two major aspects of the new Animal Care & Rescue Center, the relocation of a loading dock and the extension of an existing mezzanine. McLaren’s team created a new two-story space, providing an additional level of framing in such a way as to maximize available head-height.