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St. Pete to auction off 88-year-old Pier bait house

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Pete hopes to auction off the 1926 Pier bait house to the highest bidder. In an announcement posted Friday, the city says a “buyer will be responsible for removal and all regulatory approvals and permits for moving the building, and relocation to a new site with a licensed mover.”

According to the city’s announcement, it will accept bids via email until midnight Nov. 11.

No minimum bid has been set. Removal would be scheduled with the city once all permits were received and verified, followed with removal by Dec. 7.

“The city wants to ensure every opportunity is made to save the bait house for the community,” the announcement reads.

The building was built about the same time as the Mediterranean Revival style casino was erected. The existing structure was one of two the city writes were “likely constructed by the firm of Baker & Baker, who also built the casino.”

The announcement sparked outrage on the Facebook page “Wow The Lens Sucks” created to oppose the 2013 design known as the Lens, but continued to reflect contempt over the city’s process of choosing a new Pier and the chosen design, Pier Park.

“It just gets more jaw-dropping by the day. Now the City is offering the last remaining 90-year-old Pier Bait House to the highest bidder. This historic little building was supposed to be preserved as part of the next Pier, whatever that may be,” a post referencing the announcement read.

According to B2 Communications, the firm handling public relations for the Pier design team, there was never any plan to include the bait house in the Pier Park design, but the intention had been all along to have the structure moved.

The city put that offer before St. Pete Preservation and the St. Petersburg Museum of History, but both declined to have the structure moved. That undertaking is estimated to cost between $30,000 and $50,000.

Now that the city has put a public offer out, the St. Petersburg Museum of History is reconsidering whether it will take the required steps necessary to acquire the building.

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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