Ravens football star Ray Lewis had a final word for the construction crews huddled around the former linebacker at Recreation Pier in Fells Point Wednesday: "If you do nothing else, finish what you started."
It was a perhaps fitting message for the Sagamore Development Co. project, a conversion of a long-vacant, historic city landmark into a 128-room hotel that is not expected to be complete until 2017.
Sagamore president Marc Weller said the progress so far is worthy of celebration — and an appearance by the football star — pointing to the restoration of the pier, 200,000 man-hours worked and removal of $250,000 worth of asbestos and $300,000 worth of lead paint. Construction workers signed a beam that will become part of the hotel's structure.
Sagamore, which is owned by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, expects to start working soon on the interior, where dust, exposed plaster and peeling paint still dominate. Once open, The Sagamore Pendry Baltimore is expected to include a pool, restaurant, ballroom and whiskey bar.
"What Kevin is trying to change is an image," Lewis told the crowd of more than 100 people. "If we don't give our kids an imagination of what life really should look like, then they'll never be inspired to actually do something."