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Over the last five years, The HOTH has had a front-row seat to the construction of the gorgeous new St. Pete Pier.
We’ve followed it every step of the way, proudly showing every client and business partner our view via Skype for years now.
We even captured a time-lapse video of the construction throughout the years, and we’re excited to announce it’s officially done!
The $92 million pier opened to a limited audience on Monday, July 6 with the help of an online reservation system.
But don’t worry, you can still see the “Bending Arc” sculpture, renovated main building, and the row of new restaurants from anywhere in downtown.
Before we get into some of the AWESOME features of the new pier, let’s take a quick stroll down memory lane to see just how we got here:
The city’s first pier, known as “The Railroad Pier,” was constructed in 1889 by entrepreneur Peter Demens. You can now find a beautiful park in downtown named after him, exactly where his pier used to sit, just 2 blocks over from the pier now.
Different piers were built over the years to compete with the original, but couldn’t quite do it. One from 1900 even claimed to be the Fountain of Youth because the water contained higher levels of lithium.
Whether it was the 1926 Million Dollar Pier, or some iteration in between, each version has attracted thousands of tourists and boaters to the city.
The most recent rendition was built in 1973, and it’s the one most St. Petersburg residents know as “The Inverted Pyramid” Pier. It served the community for decades before ultimately shutting down in 2013.
With slowly crumbling seawalls and an outdated inside, residents wanted a new pier to replace The Inverted Pyramid. However, they just couldn’t agree on what exactly they wanted.
A 2013 design concept known as “The Lens” was rejected by 63% of voters in a citizen-led referendum.
Mayor Rick Kriseman was later elected in 2014 and began working on a new concept for the pier.
His administration settled on a 26-acre revitalization that would also connect the pier to downtown St. Petersburg. It doubled the project’s budget from $50 million to $92 million, yet voters were pleased.
After years of designing, voting, and planning, Mayor Krisemen scheduled the groundbreaking ceremony for the new pier in 2017. The project was supposed to be finished in 2018 but got pushed back an additional year (until December 2019).
The official public opening scheduled for May 30 was delayed by Florida Governor Ron Desantis who was concerned about large crowds during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Nevertheless, they found a way to get the public to it. They created a reservation system where 3-hour slots had to be reserved in advance, and visitors were encouraged to wear masks.
No one is more excited about visiting the new pier than all of us at The HOTH!
Twenty-six acres of beautifully landscaped greenery was added to downtown St. Petersburg, making it the perfect spot to walk, bike, or gaze at while daydreaming at work.
Some of the new features of the pier include a new marketplace that showcases the city’s “buy-local” initiatives. And of course it wouldn’t be St. Pete without delicious food options including Doc Ford’s Rum Bar & Grille, Fresco’s Waterfront Bistro, Spa Beach Bistro, Driftwood Cafe, Teak, and Pier Teaki.
The city also set aside $2 million to showcase public art projects like Janet Echelman’s “Bending Arc,” with over 180 miles of twine, as well as Nathan Mabry’s “Myth (Red Pelican),” Xenobia Bailey’s “Morning Stars,” and Nick Ervinck’s “Olnetopia.”
Looking for more details on the pier? Visit The St. Pete Pier website to learn more.
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