Chestertown Waterfront Development Update II

Back in February 2018, we covered the transformation the Chestertown waterfront was undergoing. Then, the Fish Whistle had announced their intentions to build a crab deck, Washington College’s Hodson Boathouse was under construction, the Chestertown Marina docks had been ripped out and dredging was underway, and the Marina interpretive Center was being framed.

Needless to say, a lot has happened in 14-months.

98 Cannon Riverfront Grille

The Fish Whistle restaurant has since relocated to Georgetown, along the banks of the Sassafras River, and will replace the former Granary Restaurant. With the relocation of the Fish Whistle, 98 Cannon Riverfront Grille will open in its place by mid-May 2019. The building is currently undergoing extensive restorations, with significant work applied to the foundation, the expansion and installation of a crab deck, and the demolition of the interior wall separating the bar and restaurant. Furthermore, extensive work is being done to the kitchen.

The restaurant will feature “elevated casual cuisine,” according to a post on their social media page. “Patrons will enjoy fresh, local, Chesapeake seafood, craft beers and an elevated wine and cocktail menu, and brunch served each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.” 98 Cannon Riverfront Grille will also offer kayak and paddle board rentals.

The Chestertown Spy interviewed owner Joe Elliot. You can watch the video here.

Marina Shed

The marina shed, once used to store and repair boats, was purchased by a Queen Anne’s County farmer and was disassembled for relocation and reassembly on their farm. The removal of this structure clears the way for a small pocket park to be installed. A conceptual rendering can be found in the foreground in an image below.

Anthony’s Flowers and Landscaping will be assisting with the design of the park and will be donating much of the landscaping material.

Marina Interpretive Center

The recently completed Marina Interpretive Center will serve as a waterfront visitors center and includes shower and bathroom facilities for transient boaters and slip holders, a marina store, and office space leased to Shore Rivers, a local non-profit. The Marina Interpretive Center will also serve as the base of operations for the new marina manager—Samantha Branham—who was hired by the Town on April 15 to oversee marina operations.

Slip reservations can be made here.

Hodson Boathouse

Named for the Hodson Trust who made the lead gift of $2.5 million for the project, the recently completed Hodson Boathouse is building one of two on the waterfront parcel acquired by Washington College in 2008. Prior to the college’s acquisition of the land, the parcel had previously been used by a fertilizer plant in 1900 and then by an oil transfer company and an agro-chemical company by 1929. By the time the college purchased the land, the EPA classified it as very badly polluted and the College did a $2 million remediation to clean it up to residential standards.

Having long been a top destination for Division III rowing and sailing student athletes, the recently completed (September 2018) Hodson Boathouse solidifies Washington College’s ability to continue to attract first-class student athletes. Located next to the Lelia Hynson Pavilion, the new facility is 9,200 square feet and houses locker rooms for the rowing and sailing teams, bathrooms, two offices, a team lounge, a 35-seat classroom, and an ergonomics training room with 32 stationary rowing machines. Furthermore, the building is heated and cooled by an energy efficient geothermal well system.

The building was designed by architecture and engineering firm HGA.

Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall

Named for Truman T. Semans and Jack S. “Jay” Griswold, Washington College’s Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall, which broke ground in September 2017, is the next phase in the college’s drive to become a national leader in undergraduate environmental and sustainability programming. The new building will provide academic and lab spaces for the College’s environmental programs and its Center for Environment & Society. The building will include a network of sensors on the Chester River and Chesapeake Bay for staff, students, and visitors to monitor that displays the the estuary’s natural systems.

When complete, the 11,000+ sq. ft. Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall will integrate a 91 kW solar array on the south-facing roof and is pursuing Living Building Challenge Petal Certification and aims to be net-positive for energy.

In the late 1960’s Truman Semans was among those who conceived the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and served on the Foundation’s board for nearly 30 years. He was presented with the College’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in Conservation in 2014. Jay Griswold is the parent of a 1994 graduate of Washington College, served on the board of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, is chairman emeritus of the Board of Visitors and Governors of Washington College, and served as interim president of the College in 2014-15.

Semans-Griswold Environmental Hall was designed by Ayers Saint Gross.


Honorable Mention: Chestertown Armory

Also owned by Washington College, the Chestertown Armory is currently being used for storage space by the college and its parking lot is leased to companies expanding fiber-optic cabling throughout Chestertown and Kent County. While rumors of the building being converted into a boutique hotel are circulating, no proposals have been confirmed at this time. Regardless, this is one of the last development opportunities along the Chestertown waterfront and its future redevelopment will conclude a multi-year long revitalization phase of Chestertown.

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by Sam Shoge

Sam Shoge founded Shore Studios in the spring of 2017 to capture photography and videography of the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake lifestyle from new, aerial perspectives. Using sophisticated drone technology, Shoge is passionate about bringing a new dimension to storytelling regarding what makes the Eastern Shore and Chesapeake Bay so special.