Center look at renderings of the proposed new St. Petersburg Pier.

Renderings of new St. Petersburg Pier on display at the University Student Center

Renderings of the proposed new St. Petersburg Pier are on display in the lobby of the University Student Center.

Created by the Pier’s world renowned architect, Michael Maltzan, the display offers an early glimpse of the iconic structure that will become the centerpiece of St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront.

The display was set up at the University Student Center as a public service and will be there for the next two to three weeks.

The Pier design calls for restaurant and retail opportunities on the landside portion of the Pier, called “The Hub.” A loop of elevated walkways lead to a dramatic canopy, with sweeping views of the Bay. A motorized tram and elevators will provide access to the canopy and upper levels. Other amenities include a marina for non-motorized watercraft, a bait shop for fishing, snack concessions, a small amphitheater for marine lectures and intimate performances, and the great views of Tampa Bay.  A dramatic lighting scheme will illuminate the structure at night.

The current Pier is surrounded by a crumbling quarter-mile approach and Pier head that was built in the 1920s. Engineering studies 10 years ago determined that the infrastructure leading to the Pier should be replaced. An advisory group of community leaders was formed to determine the future fate of The Pier. The process leading to the design included more than 60 public meetings, an International Pier Design Competition and several key votes by the City Council.

While Michael Maltzan Architecture finishes design drawings, the city plans to close the existing Pier in May and begin demolition. Plans call for construction to begin in January 2014, with completion in the summer of 2015.

The project budget is $50 million, and has already been allocated by Pinellas County through a special downtown tax fund, called Tax Increment Financing. The $50 million, generated by past growth in the downtown tax base, must be spent on projects within the designated area where the taxes were collected.

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