The Pier District

Please note: The renderings and abstracts depicted on this website are from the developing concept of the Pier project and subject to change as the design evolves toward completion.

A New Pier For Everyone

A process that started in 2014, shortly after Mayor Kriseman took office, is underway for the development of a new Pier for St. Petersburg.

Initially, funds were allocated for the development of a new Pier, from Spa Beach to the end of the Pier Head. However, an additional $20 million to develop the Pier approach became available through TIF funds from the downtown tax district. The Pier approach connects the Pier to the downtown business core (Beach Drive and Bayshore Boulevard) and its boundaries follow the waterfront from the Vinoy to Pioneer Park.

The new pier district, encompassing the area below, will provide interactive experiences throughout this area and along its 3,065 foot length. Visitors can choose their experience throughout the area, and its exploration and activity areas provide a multitude of flexible programs and experiences for both tourists and the local community – from children to seniors, nature lovers to boaters, fishermen to fine diners.

It is a hub for activity, not only at the pier head, but also all along its length while offering a multitude of smaller and more flexible programs and experiences.

One Project/Two Design Teams:

Two design teams are working hand-in-hand to design the Pier district. ASD/SKY, Rogers Partners Architects + Urban Designers, and Ken Smith Workshop began designing the Pier project in July 2015. W Architecture and Landscape Architecture and Wannemacher Jensen Architects began working on concepts for the Pier approach in January 2016.

  • The Pier Concept
  • The Pier Concept
  • The Pier Concept
  • The Pier Concept
  • The Pier Concept

Guiding Principles:

  • Comprises a collection of activities, not a singular destination at the end of a pier
  • Incorporates all the Key Elements, as defined by the citizens Pier Working Group
  • Focuses on function over form
  • Family oriented, a place for everyone
  • Honors the waterfront master plan

Explore The Pier: Virtual Tour

Map Key

Base Budgeted Elements

Includes Enhancements

Click for More Details

Fishing Deck and Bait Shop

The Fishing Platform uses the existing caissons to allow visitors to get closer to the water and provides a dedicated area for fishing. The Bait Shop at the Pier Head will be located near the Fishing Deck to serve both land-loving and sea-going anglers, and will provide last minute bait and tackle supplies and a cleaning station for the day’s catch.

 

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Pier Head: Restaurant, Cafe and Observation Deck

The classic observation point from the Pier will remain at the same vista, offering many of the stunning views of downtown St. Petersburg and the waterfront as years past. The Great Lawn - a large sloping lawn - rises to meet an area called The Porch on the Pier head with a covered indoor/outdoor cafe and views back to the city.

An air-conditioned and glass-encased restaurant on the third floor will have panoramic vistas and the top floor is an overlook with covered, shaded space to enjoy the views. A space for a cafe or bar is also located on this floor.

Each level of the pier head will have a lobby and restrooms. The covered tram will stop on the Pier head’s east side, near the fishing deck and bait shop.

 

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Lawn Bowl and Event Plaza

The Lawn Bowl provides impressive views of the city and surrounding marinas, and the gentle ADA-compliant slope is perfect for outdoor games, events and activities. The Lawn Bowl and event plaza can accommodate more than 3,000 people for special events, including concerts, fireworks and festivals. Or, it can simply be a place to relax on Tampa Bay.

 

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Education Center and Wet Classroom

The education center provides opportunities for learning about our area’s rich marine life. It includes a “wet classroom” and an outside amphitheater with concrete benches. The “wet classroom” uses a series of existing piles and their ecosystems for additional learning opportunities. Next to the amphitheater is an air-conditioned education center that offers space for exhibits about marine life and the local environment.

 

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Floating Platform and Breakwater

NOTE: This project includes the closest-to-land breakwater, however, the extended breakwater is a proposed enhancement to this currently planned feature.

While the closest-to-land breakwater is part of the current Pier project, the extended breakwater is a proposed enhancement to the current project that is being recommended in order to provide more calm water area for other proposed activities such as kayaking and paddle boarding. The extended breakwater is being designed and permitted and will continue to be evaluated both from a constructibility and budget standpoint. City administration and the Pier design team are seeking options to fund all proposed enhancements.

Floating platforms provide access to the water and allow for marine education opportunities along the Pier. These floating platforms sit on top of the water and automatically adjust to tides. They function much like floating docks currently used at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, Fort DeSoto Boat Ramp and many other marinas and public parks.

The breakwater on the north side of the Pier protects Spa Beach, preventing beach erosion and encouraging seagrass growth. It also calms the waters for the kayakers and paddle boarders who enter the water near the boat house. Part of the breakwater is planned as part of the project, and the design team is recommending an extended breakwater be added to the project.

 

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Boathouse and Kayak Launch

The boathouse and kayak launch are proposed enhancements to the current project that are being recommended after receiving additional public input. All of these components are being designed and permitted and they will continue to be evaluated both from a constructability and budget standpoint. City administration and the Pier design team are seeking options to fund all proposed enhancements.

The boathouse is designed to provide storage or rental opportunities for kayaks and paddleboards. It includes a “flight deck” on the roof to allow spectacular views of the planes taking off from Albert Whitted Airport. The kayak launch is protected by a breakwater reef which calms the waters to provide a safe launch for novice paddlers.

The kayak launch is being designed as a floating platform that floats on the water and automatically adjusts to tides. This platform will function much like floating docks currently used at the St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, Fort DeSoto Boat Ramp and many other marinas and public parks.

 

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Coastal Thicket

It may feel like a nature stroll, however it’s also an excellent opportunity to learn about native Florida plants, trees and shrubs. Native Florida plants in 3-feet of soil will provide a low canopy for shade along the boardwalk. Large understory trees like the wax myrtle, myrtle oak and white buttonwood, along with sables, palmettos, sea oats and native grasses, will be found in the coastal thicket.

The ADA-compliant boardwalk takes you from the Pier head to the Dolphin Parking Lot through the Coastal Thicket. Pathway lighting will illuminate the boardwalk during evening hours.

 

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Pier Plaza and Tilted Lawn

At the heart of Pier Plaza is an interactive water feature that is both a water fountain and a splash pad. It is being designed to offer big and small vertical water jets, so it will be fun for the young kids and the old kids, too.

The Tilted Lawn provides a relaxing, grassy surface that is perfect place to enjoy views of the St. Petersburg waterfront and skyline, while overlooking the splash pad on Pier Plaza.

 

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Splash Pad and Pavilion

NOTE: The Current plan calls for approximately a dozen water jets, providing a fun, interactive water play feature. The addition of more powerful water jets and lighting to the already planned water feature are enhancements that are not currently in the budget, but provide great flexibility and impact to the entire Pier District.

The Current plan provides a fun, interactive water play feature. The addition of more powerful water jets and lighting to the Splash Pad are enhancements that are not currently in the budget, but provide great flexibility and impact to the entire Pier District.

With the proposed enhancements, this water feature would be capable of transforming, on demand, from a splash pad to a focal fountain with impressive civic presence.

The current plan calls for a building with restrooms. The café and additional shade structure are proposed enhancements to the current project that are being recommended based on public input received after schematic design.

All of these components are being designed and permitted and they will continue to be evaluated both from a constructability and budget standpoint.

 

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Overlook and Restaurant

Take a slight detour from the Pier Approach and stroll down the Overlook, a tree-lined promenade that perfectly frames expansive views across Tampa Bay.

Tucked in to the South of the Overlook, and directly adjacent to the Pelican Lot, will be a signature restaurant, elevated above the surrounding site with breathtaking views of Tampa Bay and the St. Petersburg waterfront.

 

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Spa Beach

Spa Beach has expanded with a naturalized shoreline, offering beachgoers even more room to enjoy downtown’s waterfront beach park.

 

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Market

NOTE: The permanent structures are part of the current plan. Market shelving and merchandise staging equipment are enhancements to the current project.

The Downtown Waterfront Master Plan recommended a market square in the Approach and placed it on the eastern edge, near Spa Beach. After discussions with the community and market planning experts, the design team is moving the market closer to Bay Shore Drive. This location creates an activity link between Beach Drive and the Pier and encourages movement.

The details of the market structures have not been finalized, but the design team is considering open, fixed structures that could house many different types of markets or vendors. This type of structure provides shade and cover for visitors.

 

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Bioswale & Picnic Area

The bioswale includes a natural drainage for stormwater runoff and is just one of many eco-friendly aspects of the new Pier.

Enjoy one of St. Petersburg’s best views along the shaded sitting edge overlooking the North Basin towards the Vinoy. Picnicking will also be encouraged in this area, and spaces for smaller events are incorporated.

 

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Family Park Play Areas

NOTE: All of the permanent elements in the Family Park are part of the current plan. The kids play equipment is an enhancement to the project.

Kids can have a place to burn off energy in a safe, fun environment. Located between the picnic grove and the Pier welcome plaza, the play areas have child-friendly nodes of activity to interest kids of all ages.

The play areas are strategically located near the Pier splash pad, welcome center and Spa Beach, which all work together to create one play zone.

The Family Park is designed to offer a variety of play options, providing unique play experiences for kids of all ages. These include areas for big and small kids, water and sand play, hill and boulder climbing, and more.

All of the permanent elements in the Family Park are part of the current project and budget. The kids play equipment is a proposed enhancement to the current project that is being recommended based on public input received after schematic design. Dedicated space has been reserved in the design for the equipment, and City administration and the Pier design team are seeking options to fund all proposed enhancements.

 

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Walking Waterfront

See the boats in St. Petersburg Municipal Marina and imagine where you could go on each one. The walking waterfront provides a continuous sidewalk and large pedestrian path along the Approach’s southern edge. It loops south past the restaurant and then to the Pier.

 

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Gateway Plaza

This is an enhancement to the currently designed plan. This is not included in the current budget, however will be designed and permitted should funds become available.

The Gateway Plaza marks your arrival at the Approach and the beginning of a vital new place.

The entry to the plaza may have a visible icon like an anchor art piece. It will facilitate pedestrian movement with wide walkways easily connecting Beach and Bay Shore Drives. It will have special lighting to maintain and enhance that strong connection in the evening.

 

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Transient Boat Docks

There will be 25 transient slips on the south side of the Pier Approach for boaters coming to enjoy a short visit to the Pier.


 

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Activities and amenities on the Pier and Pier approach:

Input from the local community has guided the development of activities and amenities at the Pier district. It’s designed to appeal to many different interests, age ranges and activity levels so a local resident can ‘choose their own adventure’ on each visit to the Pier. The activities and amenities at the Pier include:

  • Cycling, jogging and walking paths
  • Fishing
  • Bike and watercraft rental
  • Observation platforms
  • Restaurants and cafes with various dining options
  • Environmental education
  • Transient dockage for boaters at Central Basin
  • Splash pad and play areas for kids
  • Event space
  • Retail space