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W-Architecture chosen for $20 million Pier uplands project

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

After an all day meeting of presentations and debate, a selection committee has chosen W-Architecture to design and facilitate construction of the $20 million Pier uplands projects set to align the new Pier Park with downtown along Beach and Bayshore Drives.

W-Architecture called the project the city’s “extraordinary centerpiece.”

“The spirit of the waterfront is one of inclusion, and we are committed to honoring this idea in the design process as well as in the final form. We will build upon both the Waterfront Master Plan and the Pier Park Plan and will empower the broadest constituency to be clients and supporters for this project,” the team’s Request for Qualfications described.

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.

Not ranked were Denver-based Civitas, which competed along side the 2013 Lens and AECOM, the firm that completed the city’s recently approved downtown waterfront master plan.

While the Consultants Competitive Negotiation Act binds the process the same way the Pier selection process was, the city is not required to hear public input.

The Uplands project is geared toward connecting the new Pier to downtown with a grand entryway, space for open-air markets, a pedestrian promenade and an emphasis on public art.

Requests for proposals for two Pier Uplands restaurants are expected to go out in January or February.

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 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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