The city of St. Petersburg is searching for a restaurant to occupy space in the proposed Pier Park design. This month the city sent out a 56-page request for proposal for a restaurant and bar to sit at the end of the pier above the deck.
The RFP asks for a “nationally or regionally recognized chain restaurant or uniquely branded destination restaurant.”
The space is meant for casual dining at fairly affordable prices. The space would be about 7,600 square feet. The winning bidder would have input into the final layout and would be responsible for its own interior build out. That means whoever leases the space from the city would be able to individualize the restaurant’s décor and interior infrastructure.
The winning restaurant would also provide banquet services and service events on the proposed Great Lawn and water lounge area.
The term of the lease is expected to be 10 years. No rent has been specified. Instead those completing an RFP are asked to submit their own rent proposals.
The city will host a pre-bid meeting Sept. 18. Bids are due by 1 p.m. Nov. 5.
Whatever proposals are submitted to the city are a matter of public record, but can contain redactions to maintain restaurants’ trade secrets.
Another RFP is expected in 2016 for two other restaurants on the Pier Uplands. Those restaurant shells are not a part of the Pier Park budget. Instead, their funding would come from the downtown tax incremental fund district.
One of those restaurants is expected to be fine dining and the other more casual. The popular Columbia Restaurant is expected to bid on one of the uplands spaces.
The Columbia had been open in the inverted pyramid for years. During the Pier selection process that yielded the Lens, Casey Gonzmart, who owns the chain, supported a design known as “Alma” because it contained proposed restaurant space on the uplands.
Gonzmart argued dining couldn’t be successful at the Pier head because it would be too far of a walk for people – especially those who may be dressed up for a fine dining experience.