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St. Petersburg's Pier Park now simply the St. Pete Pier

Published Dec. 1, 2015

ST. PETERSBURG — The name Pier Park hasn't had much luck in St. Petersburg. Back in 1984, voters soundly defeated a $72 million proposal by that name.

Fast-forward more than three decades and another project with the same name has been chosen to carry on St. Petersburg's downtown waterfront tradition. The problem: Now, someone else is claiming the name and says St. Petersburg is infringing on its trademark rights.

The St. Joe Co., the owner, developer and manager of thousands of acres of real estate in Florida, notified Mayor Rick Kriseman in June of the issue.

For a while, though, the city kept using the Pier Park name. In July, its "New St. Pete Pier" website announced that the City Council had approved a contract for Pier Park. In September, it noted that a request for proposals had been issued for a restaurant at Pier Park.

A change has been quietly made since. Why was there no official announcement?

"We never really called it Pier Park," said Ben Kirby, the mayor's spokesman. "Pier Park was the concept name, and we'll call it the St. Pete Pier going forward."

A copy of the letter to Kriseman was posted by the Vote On the Pier group, which opposed the demolition of the inverted pyramid and the new project.

In mid November, former mayoral candidate Kathleen Ford requested the letter from City Attorney Jackie Kovilaritch based on similar correspondence received by Robert Neff, an opponent of the Lens, a pier project that voters rejected in 2013. Neff had registered the domain names stpetepierpark.com and pierparkstpete.com.

In the letter, St. Joe told the city that one of its key projects over the past 13 years includes its Pier Park "multi-use developments" in Panama City Beach and that the "original Pier Park is an open-air, premier shopping destination featuring tourist attractions, stores and restaurants."

In April, ASD of Tampa, Rogers Partners Architects and Urban Designers and Ken Smith Landscape Architect of New York, which had submitted its Pier Park concept, beat out six other short-listed design teams to win the city's $46 million project.

Contact Waveney Ann Moore at wmoore@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2283. Follow @wmooretimes.

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