St. Petersburg officials predict that selling the naming rights to parts of the new Pier could generate $100,000 in annual revenue. But first the city wants to pay a consultant to tell it how and to whom to sell the rights. Why do city officials need to hire a consultant to tell them what would be in good taste?
The $76 million Pier District, in the beginning stages of construction, will feature sprawling lawns and walkways, a main building on the pier head with a restaurant, a children’s play area and splash pad, open air market, an education center, boat docks and more, plus a formal entrance connecting the project to downtown at 2nd Avenue NE. The new Pier is intended to be a legacy landmark in St. Petersburg that draws residents and tourists alike.
Given that high profile and the project’s enormous cost, selling naming rights to parts of the Pier is a reasonable consideration. The Pier probably will always require public subsidies, and reducing those costs with private money makes sense. St. Petersburg and the wider Tampa Bay region have a strong lineup of philanthropists, corporations and other private groups who could put their stamp on a piece of the Pier.
City Council member Karl Nurse has suggested several interests that should be ineligible for naming portions of the Pier: liquor, tobacco, gambling and payday lenders. City development administrator Alan DeLisle offered a list of Pier features that are ripe for naming: the lawn near the pier head, Pier building, children’s play area, splash pad, pavilion, marketplace, Spa Beach and the Pier District entrance.
Those are all sound ideas that surely could be discussed, revised and decided at City Hall, without the extra layer and expense of an outside consultant.