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Options in St. Petersburg Pier plans would add to costs

ST. PETERSBURG — The spectacular designs from the teams competing to build the city's new Pier are in, but what exactly will taxpayers get for almost $50 million?

First, there will be no bridge to the Vinoy. Nor will there be a mangrove preserve. Forget the water park. Though they enhance the presentations, these are simply dreams for what the design teams have laid out in later phases of their projects. To build everything in one proposal could cost up to $150 million.

Money for the project will be concentrated on "over the water" work and while the overall Pier budget is $50 million, the city asked the teams to stick to a $45 million parameter.

BIG, from Denmark and New York City, is proposing its Wave design for $49.9 million, the highest estimate of the three. Anything from Spa Beach going west — like the fire pit spiral, playground and showers —- would cost $12.2 million more.

Included in the $49.9 million is access for swimming in Tampa Bay, a kids pool with interactive fountain, kayaking, paddleboard, canoe rental and boat docking for day trips.

The plan features 34,000 square feet of space and a proposed water cycle theme, including a "Cloud Room" for about 600 people for special events. There would be two outdoor stages, a restaurant, roof terrace and space for other activities.

The ice rink, Turkish baths, water slides, climbing wall, mini golf, wave room and water volleyball are simply suggestions and as is common practice, it will be up to those who lease the spaces to outfit them.

Tim Clemmons, a local BIG partner, said the firm has included $1 million in tenant improvement funds.

"In the general areas of the building, we also budgeted another million to do some basic interior finishes," he said.

At West 8 Urban Design in New York, which submitted a design called the Eye, Jamie Maslyn Larson said the firm is providing the basics with its $44.7-million estimate.

"What we think is most important is to get the bones that will set the course for the future,'' she said.

"It's amazing when you're building over water how quickly the budget goes. We're being very judicious. The city set lofty goals. The Eye element will be a place that will be able to be programmed by the city. We wanted to be open-ended and nonprescriptive,'' she said of the structure that will have no air-conditioning and no glass in the windows.

The new structure would have room for a restaurant and a catering kitchen to host large events. It would include a 2-acre beach. There also would be docks.

Michael Maltzan Architecture of Los Angeles presented a proposal with three parts.

"We took the budget very seriously,'' Tim Williams said.

Phase 1 costs $45 million and includes looping twin bridges to the new Pier — which the firm refers to as the Lens — an elevator tower, canopy, underwater reef and habitat and an upland program with cafes, kiosks and shake shack. It also promises a marina/dock, room for a cafe, kayak and paddleboat rental, bait shop and fishing areas.

The firm included options to this part of the project, such as a bike and "intertidal path,'' docent theater and wood decking, solar panels and wind turbines, which would add another $9.3 million to the project.

These extras "can easily be added to the scheme to enhance the proposal, but are not necessary for the scheme's visual impact or function,'' Williams said in an email.

In addition to money for construction, the firms were asked to include money for contingencies, permits, and about $6.5 million for demolition of the old pier.

Chris Ballestra, director of the city's downtown enterprise facilities, said that of the $50 million allocated to the project, the city reserved $5 million for predevelopment costs. Those included payments for consultants. About $4.3 million remains, he said.

Waveney Ann Moore can be reached at or (727) 892-2283.

>> fast facts

What's next?

Residents will have a chance to comment on the designs beginning Tuesday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History, at the base of the Pier, 335 Second Ave. NE, during most of December.

The design teams will present their concepts to a five-person jury at the Coliseum, 535 Fourth Ave. N. That event on Dec. 16 is open to the public. A final ranking will be made Jan. 20.

The jurors

The jurors who review the designs and recommend one to the City Council are:

• Stanley Saitowitz, an architectural professor at the University of California at Berkeley

• James Moore, senior vice president of HDR, an architectural, engineering and planning firm

• Susan Fainstein, an urban planning professor at Harvard

• St. Petersburg City Council member Leslie Curran

• Pinellas County Commissioner Ken Welch

Options in St. Petersburg Pier plans would add to costs 12/02/11 [Last modified: Friday, December 2, 2011 10:50pm]
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