Water’s Edge Events Center
Flexible might not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about the long-anticipated Water’s Edge Events Center in Belcamp.
Stunning architectural design. Million dollar waterfront views. State-of-the-art audio-visual technology. Sophisticated décor. Creative, delectable cuisine. Appropriate words, certainly. Flexible, though, is most fitting for Water’s Edge, which hosted The Harford Awards as its inaugural event Sept. 18.
Builder Clark Turner was flexible when he changed his vision for a waterfront restaurant after the economy nose-dived and he read about Harford County’s dearth of large meeting facilities.
Defense industry entrepreneur Jim Foulk was flexible when opportunity came knocking for the octogenarian to add restaurateur and real estate capitalist to his list of accomplishments.
Beechtree Catering partners Cathy Dermott, John Mooney and Manny Martinez were flexible when, after Beechtree Golf Club closed to make way for a housing development, they waited patiently for Clark Turner’s promising vision to morph into Jim Foulk’s exceptional reality.
“It was a complicated design and build,” explains Foulk, founder of SURVICE Engineering and founder/president/CEO of Chesapeake Testing. “The footprint of what was available to use drove the shape and size of the building. It made the building become more flexible, with a lot of rooms. You had to have a lot of vision and become creative to use what space we had to work with.”
Water’s Edge Events Center sits along the waterfront of a 200-acre mixed-use development that was in years past home to the Bata Shoe Factory. The 141-acre campus includes office buildings, waterfront housing, a nature preserve, and now, a 22,000-square-foot events center with indoor and outdoor spaces to accommodate receptions for up to 800 people and seated banquet service for 500.
The first floor’s public space features a reception lobby and the Grand Ballroom, which subdivides into the Bata, Heron, Eagle and Osprey meeting rooms. The Bata Club, a private restaurant and bar for tenants of the Water’s Edge Corporate Campus, Water’s Edge residences and corporate partners, also occupies the first floor.
The second floor features a wine room and a dining room, suitable in combination for smaller parties and receptions. ADW Design and architects Paul Thomson and Richard White thoughtfully included a VIP Suite for visiting dignitaries and brides-in-waiting.
SURVICE Engineering is a winner here, as well, with new executive offices sharing the Center’s second floor.
“We partner with SURVICE Engineering to offer use of their secure facility and meeting space to allow discussion of classified information,” Foulk says.
Décor at Water’s Edge Events Center is, predictably, nautical, and upscale. Foulk says, “Jim Dresher recommended the designer he used for all of his hotels, George Conte Design. Clark was the general contractor, Fred Sheckells the project manager and Dave Thompson the site supervisor. Dave was here 24/7 and deserves a lot of credit.”
Foulk adds that ElectroMedia Design is behind the Center’s audio-visual capabilities, which include customizable digital signage, high definition projection and video connectivity and superior sound.
Several caterers petitioned Turner, and then Foulk, to secure rights to prepare and serve food at Water’s Edge. Foulk says he considered them all, but in the end, he decided to accept Turner’s informal agreement with Beechtree Catering.
Dermott, a marketing specialist, Mooney, a catering specialist, and Martinez, a chef, formed a catering company when the golf club closed for development. The club was renowned for its food and service, and the trio had loyal customers from the outset.
“We took a different approach about our relationship with customers that kept them coming back,” Dermott says.” It’s nice when at the end of an event they give you a hug instead of a handshake.”
She says they are happy they decided to bring Beechtree Catering under the Water’s Edge brand.
“It morphed into a different project, an amazing project. As a chef, Manny likes to be creative, and he can every day for members of the Bata Club,” Dermott says.
In the days approaching opening day and the Harford Chamber of Commerce’s Harford Awards, the site was home to everyone involved, almost around the clock.
“Clark jumped in during the last two weeks and made it happen. The other day, I saw him with a vacuum, on a ladder and with a broom,” Dermott says, as the builder strode into the future Bata Club with papers clutched in his fist. Just five days before the inaugural event, he secured the coveted Harford County Use and Occupancy Permit. Smiling, she adds, “Now we can order liquor and food.” I95
4687 Millennium Drive Belcamp, MD