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St. Pete City Council approves W-Architecture as top-ranked team to develop $20 million Pier uplands

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council approved the final ranking of design teams bidding to undertake the city’s Pier approach project. W-Architecture tops that list and can now enter into negotiations for the $20 million project.

The uplands project is part of the city’s Comprehensive Waterfront Master Plan approved earlier this year. It’s expected to serve as a grand entryway to the Pier connecting the Pier Park design to downtown’s Bayshore and Beach Boulevards.

The team, which includes Destination St. Pete Pier designer Wannemacher Jensen, beat out ASD/Rogers Partners for the job even though that team was awarded the new Pier project.

Also defeated were Alfonso Architects, the team behind the defeated Alma design for a new Pier that had been favored by former St. Pete Publics Works Administrator Mike Connors.

Alfonso Architects came in second with ASD/Rogers Partners finishing third.

W-Architects had been behind the Pier design popular among many environmentalists, Blue Pier.

According to St. Pete head architect Raul Quintana the design phase for the approach project is set to take about three to four months. A design is expected to go to City Council for a vote in January.

City Council approved W-Architecture as the top-ranked team unanimously, but not before getting an earful from vocal community activist Theresa “Momma Tee” Lassiter.

“If it was raining brains y’all wouldn’t get wet,” she chided.

Lassiter accused council of failing to ever come in at or under budget on major city projects and lamented a common concern that the city is spending too much time on downtown projects while neglecting the deeply poor Midtown neighborhood.

On the claim that the City failed to complete projects within budget, City Council chair Charlie Gerdes told Lassiter that was “just flat out untrue.”

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 [email protected]

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