The St. Petersburg City Council, in Florida, announced the approval of $40.3 million in funds for the new construction of the city's long-anticipated pier, designed by the New York–based Rogers Partners Architects+Urban Designers and Ken Smith Landscape Architect with the Tampa, Fla.–based ASD. The project's budget was originally approved by the council in July 2015, covering costs including the demolition of the current pier, pre-construction, and design details. But the architects hit a roadblock when it was revealed that the allocated budget would not be sufficient for bringing the initial concept to life, as construction costs exceeded the design budget. After a heated debate as to how much additional funding the city wanted to put forward towards the project, a majority of council members voted in favor of the additional funding, bringing the budget to a total of $50 million.
"[This] vote was another important step forward towards a new St. Pete Pier. I thank City Council for their continued support and their confidence in this process," said St. Petersburg mayor Rick Kriseman in a press release.
The pier's design has stayed relatively true to the original concept, with small changes to make its spaces more versatile. For instance, the lawn was reconfigured to foster a variety of uses, the upper level has been simplified to offer more open space, and the fishing area was lowered closer to the water so that it could be near existing underwater structures that support marine life. Besides these modifications, the observation deck located in the pierhead building has been fitted with sun-shading devices to keep the area cool during the day, and provide illumination at night.
The New St. Pete Pier is set to open in the fall of 2018.