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Meet the Pier Park design team: ASD Architects’ John Curran

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

The city has released its second “Meet the Design Team” Pier Park bio, this time highlighting John Curran of ASD Architecture in Tampa.

Curran is a studio leader at that firm and has worked on various projects around Tampa Bay including the Glaser Children’s Museum and the Florida Aquarium’s Rising Tides exhibit. He also worked on the Highland Recreation Complex in Largo.

Curran will serve as the day-to-day contact with the city as Pier Park continues its path to completion. In a short video talking about the project, He explained that he is “involved in every aspect” of the project.

“It’s going to be a first class park that becomes, really the central location that every body wants to be at,” Curran said. “I see a place that people what to keep coming back to.”

The video shows Curran in downtown St. Pete overlooking the waterfront along with conceptual graphics showing what Pier Park may look like. One of the images shows a wedding ceremony being performed on the new Pier. Another shows a family lounging on Spa Beach with the new Pier in the background.

Many of the images are not ones the public has seen in previous presentations.

“Just in terms of its importance and its location in downtown it’s going to have such an amazing affect in terms of increasing and enhancing the environment around the waterfront to the point where I think it’s actually going to become an amazing destination,” Curran said.

Though there is a lot of excitement in the public and City Hall surging around Pier Park, there are some residents who aren’t happy with the project. A group of critics claims to be circulating a petition to force a referendum asking voters whether they should vote on downtown waterfront projects.

That group claims the public was not adequately involved in the Pier selection process and that the city didn’t listen to the public when there were included in conversation. However, in the video, Curran claims his firm is making public outreach a key part of its process.

“The influence of what we do from a design standpoint comes from the public, comes from the users for those projects and we listen and we’re very proud of that sort of listening aspect of what we do and it transforms into the design,” Curran said.

Rogers Partners, the lead firm on the Pier Park project and ASD along with Ken Smith Landscape Architecture are expected to complete the schematic design process this winter. A final design and budget should be presented to City Council for approval in January.

Curran described the project as being a place “like no one’s ever seen before.”

“Whether you’re going out there to actually experience Tampa Bay or just start looking around this beautiful new Pier, it’s going to be a space that I think is going to be like no other,” Curran said. “I love this place. I lived in the Old Northeast section so this is a place that’s really near and dear to me and the fact that we can have an influence on shaping what tomorrow is going to look like is real exciting.”

Most of the Pier has already been demolished. Removal of the rest of the Pier is expected by February. Completion of design development is scheduled for May with permitting and construction documents expected in the summer and fall of next year.

Groundbreaking on Pier Park is expected next fall.

Janelle Irwin has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. She also hosts a weekly political talk show on WMNF Community radio. Janelle formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for Patch.com and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a diehard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and the ongoing Pier debacle. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also the devoted mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder. To contact, email janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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