With New York-based W Architecture as team leader, and Wannemacher Jensen Architects serving as local design partner, we were all ecstatic for the team to come out on top in the City of St. Petersburg’s highly competitive bid to design a well-known and widely used portion of the City’s iconic waterfront.
The area of this $20 million waterfront design project – sometimes referred to as the “uplands” or the “approach” to the St. Petersburg Pier (or the “Pier District”) – includes parts of Bayshore Boulevard and Beach Drive. Expected elements include a grand entry, pedestrian art promenade, an art bridge, an open-air market and two restaurants. A goal is to connect the new St. Petersburg Pier and the downtown core with a coordinated series of activities, facilities and venues.
Among very esteemed and abundantly qualified competition, after a months-long process and a day-long selection meeting, the selection committee (comprised of City officials and other local leaders) determined the ranking in a relatively short amount of time near end-of-day last Friday.
Along with the victory for the firms (and in this biased opinion the community), the outcome was particularly meaningful for many of us that have been involved with issues surrounding our landmark waterfront for years. With arguably the third-largest downtown waterfront in North America (after Chicago and Vancouver), St. Petersburg is a peninsula on a peninsula in the midst of an urban renaissance.
The waterfront is a pillar of St. Pete’s identity that has sparked widespread attention and some divisive debate for at least a century. And it’s understandable why so many – residents, officials, local leaders – are passionate to help ensure the City is moving in the right direction with this precious and integral element of the story and the experience of St. Petersburg.
We look forward to seeing the progress of both this project and the new Pier project underway. The City of St. Petersburg is making some leaps over the next few years. Stay tuned and check out the City’s website for further info and updates, including opportunities to be involved with the process.