Elms Fells Point – Waterfront Community

Adaptive Reuse

The former Wolfe Street warehouse in Baltimore, Maryland’s historic Fell’s Point neighborhood has been transformed into Elms Fells Point (formally known as The Pennant) – a new multifamily, waterfront community. McLaren Engineering Group worked with architecture firm, Hord Coplan Macht and general contractors, Chesapeake Contracting Group to provide structural and marine engineering services for this part adaptive reuse, part new construction residential complex.

Elms Fells Point Drawing of Warehouse Overbuild

Warehouse Overbuild

The 285-unit structure, developed by Elm Street Development, partially re-purposes the two-story Wolfe Street warehouse. The conversion created a parking garage, fitness center, residential entry, and storage space. Atop the existing structure, a three-story wood-framed vertical addition was erected. The add-on to the existing levels comprises studio, junior one-bedroom, one-bedroom, one-bedroom and den, and two-bedroom units. These residential units are set back from the existing warehouse parapet per the goals of the Fells Point Urban Renewal Plan and feature private terraces.

New Construction

Part of the existing warehouse was razed and a 5-story, 307,500 sf wood-framed addition was erected on the existing foundations. The building houses a leasing center, main amenity space, and 23 new 4-story townhomes. McLaren designed the new construction at the razed existing building footprint to allow for the reuse of the foundations. The addition houses 20,000 sf of amenity space. This includes a courtyard, multiple community spaces, and lounges as well as a bike shop. Our team also developed drawings for a demolition bid package, to create room for this new space.

Additionally, McLaren designed new foundations for the proposed townhomes. The units reflect a modern use of similar styles found in the traditional rowhouse and industrial architecture in the historic district. Due to flood plain conditions caused by The Pennant’s close proximity to the water’s edge, one and two built-in rear car garages are on the ground level.

The urban community was built to National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Silver.

Structural Findings

To determine how many units could be added to the existing building at 2001 Aliceanna Street without the need for significant structural modifications,  McLaren conducted a feasibility study and condition assessment. Based on the findings, a design was developed that allowed the reuse of existing columns and foundations of the warehouse without significant modification.

Preserving The Warehouse Facade

It was important to the community to keep the feel of the building, so McLaren added new steel girts and braces to back up the existing facade. This preserved the building’s original character while securing the facade it in place.

Increased Parking

Additionally, McLaren developed a schematic parking layout to allow for increased parking within the existing column layout. This plan enabled The Pennant to offer each residential unit at least 1 spot. The parking layout created 313 parking spaces instead of the 274 that had been previously proposed. This efficient parking layout also resulted in the ability to add additional amenity space.

The Waterfront

The Pennant will also feature a refurbished bulkhead and public promenade, connecting the community to the Baltimore Harbor.

For this modern waterfront community, McLaren’s in-house P.E. divers performed above and under-water inspections. They analyzed approximately 350 linear feet of the bulkhead system and concrete platform lining the development. The team made recommendations to increase the longevity of the existing system and designed a new bulkhead system, reusing the existing tie-backs and piles. Reusing the piles instead of installing new ones saved approximately 150 new piles with a value of around $600,000.