New study reveals saving the iconic inverted pyramid is feasible for downtown St. Pete Pier

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The city of St. Pete still has no idea what the hell it’s going to do with the iconic inverted pyramid that serves as a shuttered staple of the downtown waterfront. But thanks to a $7,500 study, fans of the upside down three dimensional pyramid have something new to latch onto.

According to an engineering study by the Structures Group of Tampa, the 40-year old building could survive another 75-years with a few upgrades. According to the Tampa Bay Times, the firm found that several of the steel beams appeared overstressed, but are “within the safety threshold” allowed. The concrete that encases the steel beams also provide extra strength.

In all, only five structural elements need work to make retaining the 1973 pier feasible.

“Their look at it just confirms everything that we had discovered earlier, that the building was designed properly,” Frank Carter “Bud” Karins, a licensed structural engineer who pushed for an earlier study released in July, told the Tampa Bay Times.

Despite his earlier push to force a vote on the fate of the St. Pete Pier, Karins also notes the study doesn’t take into account the structure’s unique shape. Nonetheless, the study is enough for St. Pete city officials to consider.

The city had to go back to the drawing board to decide what to do with the pier after voters squashed the design known as the Lens last year. The approach to the pier is in desperate need of repairs and the city had set aside $50 million to replace the whole shebang. Now a bidding process includes both proposals for new designs as well as proposals to refurbish the existing structure.

Six of eight design teams shortlisted to replace or rehab the pier have indicated they would use the now $46 million budget to reuse the current structure. The teams have until December 19 to submit designs to the city.

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.