The inverted pyramid that stood as an icon representing St. Pete’s downtown waterfront since the 1970s is gone, but plans to build its successor are surging forward.
As the city continues to take steps finalizing the design phase of the new St. Pete Pier, the design team is introducing themselves to residents one video at a time. A video released Monday shows an excited Vince Lee, a project designer with Rogers Partners, touting the space as a way to further liven downtown.
“We’ve really see it as a transformative project that ‘s going to build on the incredible vibrancy that’s already here in St. Pete,” Lee said. “Being able to pull the energies of Beach Drive, the energy of downtown, out to the Pier head and fill it with life is going to be an amazing thing.”
Lee is in charge of the day-to-day design of what was formerly known as Pier Park. He commutes between St. Pete and New York City where the firm is based working to fine tune design features like a shaded walkway and natural water feature.
While the new St. Pete Pier is expected to be an integrated experience including the approach and not just the head, the new design will have a focal point at the end designers hope will become just as iconic as the inverted pyramid was.
Designers will also partner closely with another team working to integrate the Pier uplands with the new Pier to create a seamless transition between downtown and the water.
Lee said he was excited when he learned the history of St. Pete’s park system. In the early 1900s, St. Petersburg Times Editor William Straub and real estate developer C. Perry Snell, pooled their collective financial resources to covertly buy parcels of what was then a commercial shoreline in order to thwart plans to turn waterfront land commercial. It was the beginning of St. Pete’s “City Beautiful” movement.
“I thought that was just the most incredible story and really at the root of what you have here — an incredibly vibrant public space that has the ability to feel just right at all times of year, during all kinds of uses, to all types of people,” Lee said.
Lee touted the boost re-imagining public space could give St. Pete’s already vibrant waterfront.
“It’s a responsibility we take really seriously,” he said.