Window falls from Exelon building at Harbor Point, injuring 2 employees and prompting inspection

A window shattered and fell from the Exelon headquarters building at Harbor Point last week, injuring two employees and prompting a wide-scale inspection of other windows, the building owners said Monday.

An eighth-floor window shattered and small pieces fell to the ground Wednesday, said Chris Seiler, a spokesman for Beatty Development Group, the firm behind the Harbor Point project where the mixed-use tower is located. The tempered glass is made to shatter for safety reasons.

Seiler said the company has erected scaffolding around the building so workers feel safe as inspectors go over all 7,500 windows on the tower, which opened two years ago for the energy giant’s 1,500 workers. The building’s also home to 103 apartments and ground-level retail shops.

It’s one of four buildings open or nearing completion in Harbor Point, an upscale redevelopment built on an old chromium manufacturing plant site that required extensive cleanup. It was considered the last major undeveloped site on the Inner Harbor and abuts Harbor East, a neighborhood created from old industrial properties in the last two decades by Michael Beatty, founder of Beatty Development, and the late John Paterakis, the bakery magnate.

Seiler said a small number of other windows had cracked in the Exelon tower but not fallen. Since those cracked, inspectors identified 66 other panels that were a potential risk. The inspection has begun anew, he said.

“The big thing right now is safety,” he said. “That’s why we surrounded the building and alerted the tenants. We are taking this seriously and we’ll be looking into a long-term solution.”

Paul Adams, a spokesman for Exelon, which acquired Constellation Energy and its Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. in 2012, said he could not provide the conditions of the employees injured, though both were given medical attention.

“The safety of our employees and the public is our top priority,” he said. “Exelon and the other building tenants have been in contact with the building owner to stress this priority and ensure that every precaution is taken to address this issue as quickly as possible.”

It’s unclear why the window fell. The tempered glass did not expose employees on the eighth floor of the 20-story tower to the outside. The glass that broke was one of two layers of glass.

There have not been wide reports of other tempered glass windows in Baltimore shattering or falling.

Vitro Architectural Glass, a large manufacturer unrelated to the Harbor Point project, said there are many reasons glass breaks without an obvious cause.

It could be due to edge or surface damage from handling and glazing, building movement, vandalism or a contamination in nickel sulfide stone that can be used in production.

Last year, there were reports of several windows falling from a Bethesda high-rise building, though no injuries.

The Exelon building’s fallen window was first reported by the Baltimore Business Journal.

meredith.cohn@baltsun.com

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