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St. Pete City Council finalizes W-Architecture for Pier Approach design

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete City Council unanimously approved W-Architecture to lead design and construction administration services for the Pier Approach project. The vote allocates $500,000 from the Downtown Redevelopment District Fund into the General Capital Improvement Fund to pay for concept design services and other project costs.

The total cost for the initial design phase is not to exceed $318,030, however. The amount will come out of the $20 million budget set aside for the Pier Approach project.

W-Architecture along with the local firm Wannemacher-Jensen, was selected from a shortlist of firms in October. They beat out Rogers Partners and ASD Architects for the project despite that team being the selected group to carry out design and construction administration for the new Pier.

The firm will be responsible for establishing a design concept for the Pier Approach that is symbiotic with the planned design for the Pier formerly known as Pier Park. Though a design concept has not been established, some basic parameters have been.

The downtown waterfront master plan includes some specifications to the area serving as a grand entryway to the Pier and a transition between Beach Drive and Bayshore Boulevards to the Pier. It will likely include areas for public art, an open-air market and two restaurants.

The design concept phase is expected to take about four or five months with immediate outreach to stakeholders like downtown museums and the St. Pete Chamber of Commerce. Though designs for the new Pier are already well-underway, the city expects the Pier Approach project to quickly catch up.

The city expects it to take about a year to obtain environmental permits for the Pier Approach, which will help align the two projects’ timelines.

The city is currently soliciting a construction manager at-risk for the project. Skanska was already chosen for the Pier project. If a different company is selected for the approach, the two will have to work closely with one another to align the two projects.

“The idea is for the public not to know where the line is,” said city architect Raul Quintana about the transition between the Pier Approach and the Pier.

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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