A Pier review

Times staff writer Waveney Ann Moore assembled more detail about each plan.

The Lens, Michael Maltzan Architecture, Los Angeles

Phase I: Upland program at base of looping bridges includes 6,250 square feet for cafes, restaurants, kiosks, shake shack and retail.

Pier approach: Bridges to the Pier come with benches for viewing: upper one for walking, running and biking; lower, for walking, running, biking, Pier tram and service and emergency vehicles

The Lens (The Pier)

Elevator tower

Observation decks

Bicycle paths around the canopy

Walkway through top of the crown

Promontory on eastern edge of the Pier includes gelato stand

Underwater reef and habitat with night lighting created around remains of the old Pier's caissons

Marina/dock, cafe, kayak and paddleboat rental space, bait shop and fishing areas in protected waters at the Pier

Cost: $44,948,241

Options for Phase I

Bike and intertidal path over the reef

Docent theater, wood decking on bridges

Expanded area and program for the promontory

Additional elevators

Solar panels and wind turbines

Rehabilitation of existing sea grass

Additional 2,000 square feet of community event space on the upland

Cost: $9,354,736

Differences: Reuses caissons from existing Pier to create underwater habitat that filters 20 million gallons of sea water a day within the Lens

Calmed wave action within the Lens; dock for kayaking and paddleboats; looping bridges.

"While the Pier will remain an important attraction for visitors, we believe that the Pier must be first for the people of St. Petersburg, an active, vital part of the city's life and culture." Michael Maltzan Architecture

The Wave

BIG, from Denmark and New York City

Phase I: Pier approach

Swim or fish in bay, bike, walk, run, drive, eat

Steps to water line

Kiddie pool with interactive fountain, kayaking, paddleboats, canoe rental, boat docking for day trips

Trolley access to east end of Pier

The Wave (The Pier)

34,000 square feet of interior space with water cycle theme, including a proposed 600-seat "Cloud Room" for special events, ice rink, Turkish baths, water slides, climbing wall, mini golf, wave room, swimming pool, bubble room and water volleyball

Restaurant

Exhibition space

Roof terrace

Two outdoor stages

Outdoor rain fountain

Access to Tampa Bay at east end

Cost: $49.9 million

Differences: Two outdoor stages

Steps along Pier approach allow water access

90-foot indoor climbing wall

"The Wave Pier will foster the legacy of many of the events that currently happen on and around the current pier as well as new opportunities amplifying public life out on the waterline."

BIG

The People's Pier, West 8 Urban Design, New York

Phase I: Pier approach: boating underneath, walking, biking, driving and fishing

The St. Petersburg Eye (the Pier)

Open-air pavilion, with areas for concessions, restaurant, catering for large and public events

Two-acre beach

Docks

360 degree views of the city and horizon

Special lighting

Cost: $44.7 million

Differences: Beach off the Pier

Boating at eastern end the Pier

"The Pier will offer a venue for truly original, outstanding events that are uniquely St. Pete for thousands of residents and millions of visitors." West 8

To help judge the proposals, it is important to understand the issues with the current Pier.

Ed Montanari had these remarks on the existing Pier:

Strengths

• It speaks to our beautiful aquatic setting, and offers spectacular views of our city and bay.

• The Pier attracts visitors to our downtown. Recent studies show that approximately 1 million people visit the Pier annually.

• The inverted pyramid is a recognized symbol of St. Petersburg.

Weaknesses

• Very high operational and maintenance expenses. (Approaching $2 million a year).

• Weak linkage to the downtown.

• Both horizontal and vertical transportation challenges.

• No sense of arrival.

• Limited pedestrian and vehicular access.

What Montanari is looking for in the design concepts:

• A concept that is practical, affordable, and is the consensus favorite of our community.

• A vibrant Pier complex that appeals to both local residents and visitors of all ages throughout the year.

• A destination that people want to visit multiple times, that our community can be proud of and that fits well into our waterfront and city.

Montanari's conclusions:

These are concepts. All of these plans can be modified if needed. Nothing in these designs is set in stone.

Think long term. We are looking at a 40- to 60-year window into the future of the pier, the upland area, and our downtown. This new Pier will be used by, and paid for by us, our children and grandchildren.

The existing Pier is open for business. The Pier is a big attraction for residents and visitors to St. Petersburg and needs to be supported as we continue the international design competition and the planning process.

Public engagement is important. It is vital that the public stays informed and engaged in the future of this historic structure for our city. Take the time to attend the public hearings, read the reports and ask questions that you may have to make the Pier a wonderful attraction for generations to come.

Randy Wedding's remarks:

For all of my adult life there has been a facility at the end of the Pier. During the early days, it was a gathering place for community organizations to meet and have recreational opportunities. There were various minor commercial activities for food, bait, etc. Over time, and in an effort to reduce the debt load generated to operate the building by the city, a sizeable amount of retail and other commercial uses was added to the structure, so that today there is almost 70,000 square feet in the building. The building has proven to be a continuing burden on the city budget, and that concern was the primary reason for assembling the task force .

The existing facility suffers from:

• Poor access for automobiles.

• A long sun-baked and rain-drenched bridge for foot travel.

• Excessive retail area.

• Lack of significant upgrades of materials, and equipment is aging in a very hostile environment.

• Inability to attract visiting boater traffic due to wave conditions in the open waters of Tampa Bay.

• Vulnerability of utility umbilicals to storm disruption.

• Deterioration of concrete pilings and decks that surround the existing building. (The building foundation is solid.)

What the task force was seeking:

• Improved vehicular and pedestrian access

• An understanding that tourist traffic alone cannot support this facility financially; significant local participation is needed.

• The market studies indicate that 40,000 square feet of food, beverage and entertainment uses are about the optimum size.

• A public-private partnership necessary to develop the land-side area into a magnet of family entertainment facilities to attract the volume of local traffic needed to utilize the Pier facilities.

• A major effort to entice the boating community to utilize the Pier and the waterfront.

• For the Pier to continue to be the centerpiece of our waterfront park system.

• To avoid activities that would compete with those already developing along Beach Drive and westward; in particular, additional retail.

• A significant reduction in the annual cost to own and operate the Pier.

The three proposals:

• All three represent very avant-garde designs.

• Each is characterized by very elegant renderings and beautifully executed models.

• All three make an effort to integrate the Pier into the waterfront as a whole.

• All three fail to understand the dynamic involved when living in the middle of Tampa Bay.

• While marine studies play a role in each proposal, the real answer probably lies in the creation of a marine science edu-venture attraction on the upland area to generate the volume of local family visitors needed.

A Pier review 12/10/11 [Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2011 10:19am]

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