Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

New details emerge about St. Petersburg's controversial Lens project

ST. PETERSBURG — More details have emerged about the city's proposed $50 million Pier.

Michael Maltzan Architecture, the Los Angeles firm that created the design known as the Lens, offered additional insight into its plans Friday in a more than 400-page report. Many changes were anticipated, some are new.

The schematic design document also seeks to quell concerns about construction materials for the Lens' iconic canopy.

The materials for the canopy, which had been changed from the more expensive and heavier concrete panels to aluminum panels over galvanized steel have been questioned by those opposed to the project. They have said that the materials are an unsuitable combination in a saltwater environment. The Maltzan report enlisted experts who have endorsed the materials and the way they are being used.

Tim Williams of the Maltzan team and Raul Quintana, the city's architect, will present the report to the City Council on Thursday.

Highlights of the report include changes to accommodate the Columbia, which is negotiating with the city to operate one of its signature restaurants on the pier approach and a more casual-style operation at the Lens itself. The design has been tweaked to allow larger spaces for both. The location on the Lens has been changed so that it can be enclosed and offer more shelter.

The marina is now circular instead of oval, a change that is supposed to enable more efficient construction.

The presentation Thursday will come amid a confluence of conflicting issues – the city's accelerating plans to close and demolish the current Pier and opponents' efforts to force a vote to stop construction of its replacement.

Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg leader Bud Risser said Friday that the group had vetted 16,000 of the more than 21,000 petitions it has collected. The organization only needs 15,652.

"We are going to keep going until we get to 17,000. We want to be certain," Risser said.

City Council members must decide next week whether to proceed with the Lens and spend an additional $1.5 million for the next phase. Concerned Citizens hopes to prevent the authorization of additional money, Risser said, but he doesn't know when the group will submit its petitions to the city clerk.

Late last year, council members approved a resolution to appropriate $4.7 million for Maltzan to continue designing the Lens and for Skanska USA Builders to continue its preconstruction services. After a prolonged debate and input from opponents and supporters of the project, the council decided to release only $1.7 million of the sum and ordered city staff to return for authorization to spend additional money. The contract with Maltzan allows the city to suspend or terminate work at any point, but it would have to pay the costs and fees already incurred.

The inverted pyramid is slated to close May 31, with demolition of the 1973 structure scheduled to follow in late summer.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at [email protected].

New details emerge about St. Petersburg's controversial Lens project 04/26/13 [Last modified: Saturday, April 27, 2013 12:05am]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. 'Empire' star Grace Byers keynotes USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy luncheon

    Human Interest


    TAMPA — The first University of South Florida graduate to address the USF's Women in Leadership & Philanthropy supporters, Grace Gealey Byers, class of 2006, centered her speech on her first name, turning it into a verb to share life lessons.

    Grace Byers, University of South Florida Class of 2006, stars on the Fox television show Empire. She delivered the keynote at the USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy luncheon Friday. Photo by Amy Scherzer
  2. Southeast Seminole Heights holds candlelight vigil for victims' families and each other


    TAMPA — They came together in solidarity in Southeast Seminole Heights, to sustain three families in their grief and to confront fear, at a candlelight vigil held Sunday night in the central Tampa neighborhood.

    A peaceful march that began on east New Orleans Avenue was held during the candlelight vigil for the three victims who were killed in the recent shootings in the Seminole Heights neighborhood in Tampa on Sunday, October 22, 2017.
  3. It's not just Puerto Rico: FEMA bogs down in Florida, Texas too

    HOUSTON — Outside Rachel Roberts' house, a skeleton sits on a chair next to the driveway, a skeleton child on its lap, an empty cup in its hand and a sign at its feet that reads "Waiting on FEMA."

    Ernestino Leon sits among the debris removed from his family’s flood-damaged Bonita Springs home on Oct. 11. He has waited five weeks for FEMA to provide $10,000 to repair the home.
  4. McConnell says he's awaiting Trump guidance on health care

    STERLING, Va. — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he's willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor if President Donald Trump makes clear he supports it.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he’s “not certain yet” on what Trump wants.
  5. Tampa's Lance McCullers shows killer instinct in pitching Astros to World Series


    HOUSTON — It felt like the beginning on Saturday night at Minute Maid Park, the arrival of a new force on the World Series stage. The Astros are back, for the first time in a dozen years, and they want to stay a while.

    Houston Astros starting pitcher Lance McCullers (43) throwing in the fifth inning of the game between the Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays in Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, July 12, 2015.