Ask the Times: St. Petersburg's new tower and Marilyn Monroe

Donation paid for city's tower

I saw that giant St. Petersburg tower the other day on the Howard Frankland Bridge. How much did that cost, and who paid for it?

The tower on the north side of the Howard Frankland Bridge welcoming drivers to St. Petersburg was unveiled Aug. 22 after about five months of construction. Times St. Petersburg city hall reporter Mark Puente filed a report in July on this. Here are the paragraphs relevant to your question:

"For years, no major landmark announced to visitors that they had entered the city after crossing the Howard Frankland Bridge from Tampa.

"That's changing.

"A copper dome perched on a 75-foot tower is rising in the Gateway area on Interstate 275. Drivers should see the Gateway Welcome Tower from more than a mile away.

"Bill Edwards, a mortgage company executive and entertainment producer, donated $600,000 for the tower.

"The Gateway tower was included in the 2004 budget, but the city could never find the money.

"Materials and workers for the tower came from the bay area. Crews drove 16 pilings 35 feet into the ground so the tower could withstand (major hurricane) winds.

"The tower will resemble two other Mediterranean Revival towers that were installed in the late 1980s at the downtown entrances from Interstates 175 and 375.

"Edwards said he has always been bothered by the lack of signs indicating that you've arrived in the city, adding: 'This will be there forever.' "

Edwards, 67, manages the Mahaffey Theater for the city of St. Petersburg, helped renovate Jannus Landing and about a year ago bought BayWalk in downtown St. Petersburg. He's been renovating, looking for tenants, changed the name to Shops at St. Pete and hopes to reopen in September 2013.

Monroe still generates millions

As Marilyn Monroe's earnings after death have continued to increase, who benefits from her estate?

Authentic Brands Group and partner NECA bought Monroe's estate from Anna Strasberg in 2010. Strasberg was the wife of Lee Strasberg, Monroe's acting coach, who was the recipient of most of Monroe's $800,000 estate when she died on Aug. 5, 1962.

Authentic Brands has focused on upgrading Monroe products and building an online brand. She generated $27 million in 2011, third behind Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley among dead celebrity earners, according to Forbes.

Ask the Times: St. Petersburg's new tower and Marilyn Monroe 09/03/12 [Last modified: Monday, September 3, 2012 4:30am]

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