1. News

Architect releases new renderings of St. Petersburg Lens proposal

Changes to the Lens include staircases to provide additional access to scenic overlooks, which have been widened to 7 feet.
Published Jul. 4, 2013

ST. PETERSBURG — A few weeks after critics insisted that depictions of the Lens were inaccurate, the architect of the proposed Pier replacement has released nine new renderings to highlight changes that have been made to the $50 million project in recent months.

The new renderings come as City Council member Leslie Curran, a staunch supporter of the Lens, gets ready to hold an informational session Wednesday about the project as it heads to an Aug. 27 referendum.

"I think it's easier for people to see exactly what the design entails," Curran said after seeing the new renderings Wednesday.

Fred Whaley, chairman of Concerned Citizens of St. Petersburg, said the anti-Lens group is not ready to comment on the new drawings.

"We will have our engineers review the last set of plans to see if we think that these new renderings do reflect the Lens," he said.

It's unlikely that the minds of opponents will be changed. Whaley said the late Randy Wedding, chairman of the Pier Advisory Task Force, had said that the Pier "is in the entertainment business and needs to address a primary, unfilled niche for family entertainment."

The Lens does not do that, Whaley said. Additionally, Wedding had advised that a new Pier should include 30,000 to 40,000 square feet of space for restaurants, entertainment and shops, he said.

"We think the Lens continues to fail the function for a St. Petersburg Pier," Whaley said.

The new renderings highlight the revised marina, which is now a circular loop instead of an oval and will accommodate up to 24 motorboats, along with human-powered watercraft. The architect has said the new shape is supposed to enable more efficient construction.

Explanations with the updated renderings also note that restrooms are located in the marina area and that the Lens will offer a larger Promontory Grill, which will be operated by the Columbia Restaurant. The Columbia is also planning to open a landside waterfront restaurant as part of the Lens project.

Also shown is the expanded Learning Steps, an amphitheater that will accommodate 285 people. The renderings indicate that staircases have been added for additional access to scenic overlook areas, which have been made wider.

In June, Bud Risser, a Concerned Citizens leader, criticized the outdated Lens depictions on the city's website and said residents could not be expected to decide how to vote "on a pretty picture."

City officials responded that a continued flow of updated renderings was not part of the contract with Michael Maltzan Architecture, the Los Angeles-based designers of the Lens.

Wednesday, though, city architect Raul Quintana said, "We were being asked to provide more accurate depictions, and the architect kind of felt it was needed."

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


  1. Former NFL running back Warrick Dunn spends time with new homeowner LaToya Reedy and her son, AnTrez, at 918 43rd St. S. SCOTT KEELER  |  Times
    The retired Tampa Bay Buccaneer running back partnered with Habitat for Humanity and others to give a hardworking nursing assistant and her son the home of their dreams.
  2. Duke Energy Co. workers are competing in a line worker competition in Kansas this week. | [Courtesy of Duke Energy Florida] Duke Energy Florida
    Four Duke Energy Florida competitors are from Tampa Bay, as well as two coaches.
  3. An 18 month-old girl died after being left in a car Monday. No charges are expected, police say. WFTS  |  Courtesy of
    No charges are expected after 18 month-old girl was left in a Jeep as her father took a truck to work, police say.
  4. University of South Florida forensic anthropologist Erin Kimmerle pieces together a skull that might have been Emelia Earhart's. SANDRA C. ROA  |  University of South Florida
    DNA from a skull found in 1940 could prove whether the famous aviator has been found.
  5. Alexandra Toigo, 32 and Sabrina Pourghassem, 23, pose for a photo at Hofbrauhaus St. Petersburg holding their signature beer mugs during Oktoberfest 2018. "LUIS SANTANA  |  TIMES"  |  Tampa Bay Times
    The beer hall’s property owners filed a lawsuit saying the restaurant missed its rent starting in August.
  6. Port Tampa Bay on Tuesday agreed to sell a half-acre it owns near the Florida Aquarium for $4.7 million to Streams Capital of Tampa, which is looking at building a 33-story condominium and hotel tower. RICHARD DANIELSON | Times
    The buyer, Streams Capital of Tampa, is looking at building a 33-story tower with a hotel, condominiums and retail.
  7. Nearly a year after it was left abandoned and half-sunk off the Tampa side of the Howard Frankland Bridge, a salvage crew finally raised and towed the Moonraker II to the Courtney Campbell boat ramp. It is slated to be crushed. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The boat was an eyesore to those who live off Tampa Bay. Then it became a political statement. Now it’s been towed and will soon be crushed.
  8. Republican Sen. Joe Gruters said Florida consumers are required to pay the sales tax, but rarely do so if online sellers don't collect it.
    The Senate Commerce and Tourism Committee unanimously approved the bill Tuesday.
  9. Stephanie Vold, a medical assistant and intake specialist for OnMed, holds the door while Austin White, president and CEO of the company, talks with a nurse practitioner during a demonstration of their new telehealth system at Tampa General Hospital on Tuesday. The hospital is the first to deploy the OnMed station and plans to install them at other locations. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    The closet-size “office” with a life-size screen is another example of the changing face of medicine.
  10. A Hernando County Sheriff's deputy talks to students in the cafeteria of Brooksville Elementary School in 2018. Earlier this month, the school district put forward a proposal to move away from a contract with the Sheriff and establish its own police force. On Tuesday, it announced it would drop that idea.
    Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis spoke out this week against the proposal.