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Rick Kriseman fingers Tampa firm to manage Pier District

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Colliers International, a Clearwater-based real estate management firm, will serve as the operator for the new St. Pete Pier district. According to the Tampa Bay Times, Mayor Rick Kriseman announced he’d chosen Colliers over two other companies in a memo Thursday.

“I have determined that the proposal presented by Colliers Arnold provides the city the greatest opportunity for successful operation and management of the Pier District,” Kriseman said Saturday, according to the online local news service Tampa Bay Reporter.

Colliers International beat out another local company, Skyway One out of St. Pete, and a global firm based in Philadelphia, Spectra Venue Management.

The decision comes after a review committee met in January to hear presentations from the three firms and then discuss the pros and cons of each to be presented to Kriseman for his decision.

The committee, which consisted of several department heads in City management, did not make a recommendation of one firm over an other, but instead issued a robust list of attributes and opportunities each possessed.

Among those included Colliers and Skyway One as attractive firms based on local appeal. Skyway One, however, the group said may lack the power of a larger firm. Some thought Skyway One may have been a wise choice given its principal, Paul Hsu, has been involved in previous Pier processes. He served on Kriseman’s Pier Advisory Task Force behind the 2010 report highlighting what the future of St. Pete’s waterfront should look like.

Spectra came with a powerful punch as a global firm with access to vast resources. It boasts on its resume the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team.

The winning team, however, claimed to have a vast resume of global experience in addition to in-depth St. Pete knowledge as well as partnerships helpful in creating large-scale events that could help keep the Pier financially viable.

The Kriseman administration will now enter into negotiations with Colliers International for what is expected to be a five year contract.

That negotiation will go to City Council for final approval before being adopted.

This is another in a long list of tasks the city can check off its Pier checklist. Groundbreaking on the new Pier is not expected until next year with a Grand Opening not until 2018.

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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