Pratt Street Power Plant
Pratt Street Power Plant, also known as the Pier Four Power Plant, The Power Plant, or Pratt Street Station, is a historic power plant located at Baltimore, Maryland. Pratt Street Power Plant was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. The Power Plant now contains the first ESPN Zone in the country (opened July 11, 1998), a Hard Rock Cafe (opened July 4, 1997), a multi-story Barnes & Noble, a Gold's Gym, Blu Bamboo, Chipotle, Houlahan's, and loft offices. Maryland Art Place, a contemporary art gallery for Maryland artists, is located in the northwest corner. The popular concert venue, Rams Head Live!, is also located in the area.
The current complex of three structures is located at Pratt Street and Pier 4 at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The structures are brick with terra cotta trim and steel frame construction. It was built between 1900 and 1909 and is a massive industrial structure with Neo-Classical detailing designed by the noted architectural firm of Baldwin & Pennington. It served as the main source of power for the United Railways and Electric Company, a consolidation of smaller street railway systems, that influenced the provision of city-wide transportation and opened up suburban areas of Baltimore to power its electric street railway in the city. It later served as a central steam plant for the Consolidated Gas, Electric Light and Power Company, a predecessor of the Baltimore Gas and Electric Company for $4 million. The plant, with obsolescent equipment, was used sparingly until it was returned to service to meet the World War II production demand for electricity.
After the electric plant was retired from service, the building was vacant for a time. The building had been the site of many failed development endeavors, most notably an indoor Six Flags theme park (1985-1989) and a short-lived dance club called P.T. Flagg's (1989-1990).
The redesign of the Pratt Street Power Plant has won a number of awards:
NAIOP Awards 2000 - Adaptive Reuse - "The project involved the total transformation of a closed and dilapidated power plant built in the early 1900s into a stunning new entertainment complex in the heart of Baltimore's world renowned Inner Harbor. Setting a new standard for urban entertainment development, the project has spurred Baltimore's 'second renaissance' and has linked the east and west sides of the downtown waterway."
ULI Award of Excellence 2000 - Rehabilitation - "The Power Plant is a prime example of the conversion of a functionally obsolete building into a successful, modern project. The developer saved the four towering smokestacks -- visual reminders of Baltimore's industrial past -- and extended the eastern edge of the Inner Harbor, compounding its success as an urban entertainment district."
The EDDI Awards (Entertainment Development & Design Innovation) 2000 - Urban Entertainment Development - "The Power Plant is the preeminent entertainment complex on Baltimore's Inner Harbor. Located on Pier 4 next to the National Aquarium, The Power Plant transformed the Inner Harbor into a multi-dimensional entertainment destination that attracts millions of visitors annually."
Excellence on the Waterfront 1998 - Historic and Maritime Preservation / Adaptive Reuse - "The Power Plant had been an urban challenge for the City of Baltimore for over a decade in spite of its prominent waterfront location. The Cordish Company presented the City with a concept that was enthusiastically adopted. The mixed-use entertainment, retail and office development incorporates the downtown business district, the waterfront, and architecturally important Power Plant into the City's overall master plan for Baltimore's Downtown. The project has proved tremendously successful for the City, for tourists, and for citizens alike."
Articles and Resources
- National Register Information System. National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service (2008-04-15).
- "Power Plant / The Cordish Company," Visit Baltimore website, accessed September 7, 2010
- King, Thomson (1950). Consolidated of Baltimore 1816-1950: A History of Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Company of Baltimore. Baltimore: Consolidated Gas Electric Light and Power Co., 144, 229, 288.
- Maryland Historical Trust. Pratt Street Power Plant, Baltimore City. Maryland Historical Trust (2008-11-21).
- "Awards," The Cordish Companies website, accessed September 7, 2010