St. Pete City Council approves “The Lens” for new Pier design

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The St. Petersburg City Council has approved “The Lens,” as its first choice to replace the city’s iconic Pier, reports Julio Ochoa.

The council agreed to proceed with negotiations with Michael Maltzan Architecture.

The council will also decide whether to proceed with negotiations with the architect.

The budget for the pier redevelopment, including the design and construction of the new structure and the demolition of the old structure is $50 million.

The team that submitted The Lens put the cost at about $45 million, but experts who reviewed the submissions said it was likely higher than that.  The cost could come down with changes to the look and the length of the walkways.

The Lens was conceived with the idea of adding other features including an amphitheatre with a garage. The entire project, including those later additions, could reach $160 million.

The five-member panel of government officials and experts in architecture and design presented the rankings at a Jan. 20 meeting.

The jury panel unanimously ranked The Lens first, ahead of the second place “The Wave” and third place “The Eye.”

The Lens features two approaches that together look like a ribbon.

For panel members, the appeal of The Lens included the chance to change it as more public input comes in over time.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.