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Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross selected as architect for study design phase of Pimlico/Laurel redevelopment

The Maryland Stadium Authority has selected Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross to provide architectural and engineering services for the study design phase of the $375 million redevelopment of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park.

The $992,735 contract, awarded by the Stadium Authority’s board of directors Tuesday morning, could later be amended to include project design and construction administration.

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“It gives them a leg up,” Stadium Authority executive vice president Gary McGuigan said. “When they entered the competition, it was known that this was for the full design services for both facilities. If all goes well, the intent is to continue with Ayers Saint Gross.”

Stadium Authority officials say the coronavirus pandemic has not delayed progress on the racetrack project, which was approved by the Maryland General Assembly last spring. McGuigan said the preliminary design phase could take three to five months with the full design process likely to take two years. He added that it’s too early to say when groundbreaking on the complex project might occur, though he said that date might be clearer by May, when the 146th Preakness Stakes is scheduled to be run at Pimlico.

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Complications include the logistics of moving horses and track workers from Laurel while construction is underway and the need to account for non-racing activities at Pimlico, which will operate as a track only a few weeks a year.

McGuigan said the Stadium Authority will likely go to the Board of Public Works later this year with requests to hire pre-construction contractors for both sites.

Ayers Saint Gross is best known for its work on college campuses, including many in Maryland. The firm played an early role in shaping the vision for Oriole Park at Camden Yards, though it was not ultimately selected as the project architect.

A seven-person panel, which included representatives from the Stadium Authority, Baltimore City, Anne Arundel County and The Stronach Group, agreed that Ayers Saint Gross offered the best technical proposal, interview and price from a pool of 10 bidders.

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The firm, which will work with Kansas City-based stadium designer Populous, will have “quite a bit of latitude” to determine the appearance of the racetracks, McGuigan said.

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