The Rogers Partners / ASD|SKY / Ken Smith Workshop design for a new St. Petersburg pier creates a destination that embraces the pier’s role both as an icon for the City of St. Petersburg and an integral part of the vitality of downtown – a place for tourists and the local community alike, one that honors its history, while establishing a new icon for a 21st century public place.
The New St. Pete Pier is a 13-acre armature of rich, local and destination-based programming adaptable over time as recreation and quality of life grow and change with generations. Activities are diversified through flexible planning and programming that elevates and establishes a sustainable relationship between the natural and built environments. A variety of unique spaces enable active and passive connections to the bay: a coastal thicket, wet classroom, water lounge, tilted lawn, and places for dining, fishing, kayaking, boating and swimming.
A water lounge at the end of the pier – a floating dock with a porous bottom that allows in a small pool of bay water – becomes a place for people to dip their feet and kids to safely splash around. The breakwater calms the water and creates more suitable environments for marine animals and plant life. The one-acre coastal thicket offers opportunities for new microecologies, created as part of the pier’s educational center, which includes 300 linear feet of new, artificial reef.
Hydraulic modeling will allow for the production of calmed water and a naturalized beach frontage, enhancing both recreational use and seagrass habitats. The design reconnects the pier to the daily life of downtown St. Petersburg, tying into transportation and recreation systems such as bike paths, jogging trails, parking locations, and public transit systems. It also overlays new transport options such as the Looper Trolley and a potential high-speed ferry.
The New St. Pete Pier provides a variety of experiences for all to enjoy and will become a true destination, where visitors can make multiple trips and always discover something new. It can be successful for generations because it can be rich in use now, in twenty years, in fifty, and in seventy-five.