An example of 21st century urban design, the St. Pete Pier is both an investment in equitable open space and a catalyst for economic development. The project replaces an aging structure with a new, dynamic public landscape, and leverages programming for a layered set of users and improved public transportation and resiliency infrastructure to energize the city’s downtown revitalization and anchor a larger district development strategy.
The design establishes a topography of art installations, playgrounds, food and drink options, shopping areas, and other amenities that appeal to children, retirees, families, tourists, and young professionals. Rather than an isolated attraction at the terminus, the team created three buildings and four major landscapes, including a beachfront, spread across the 26-acre public pier. New multimodal connections increase pier accessibility via bike paths, jogging trails, and public transit systems. From the welcome plaza, visitors make their way through a ramble of educational and recreational programming, including the Tampa Bay Watch Discovery Center, dispersed along the 1,380-foot-long pedestrian pier. At the terminus, an 11,000-square-foot Pierhead features a large tilted lawn for concerts and film screenings, a fishing deck, a restaurant, and outdoor gathering spaces, including a rooftop deck with 360-degree views. Whether it’s an afternoon at the beach, a brief jog, or a night out, the pier has something for everybody.
The Pier is also an investment in the city’s ability to recover from rising sea levels and increasingly major storm surges. The new infrastructure includes flood resistant features and drainage capabilities to minimize flooding impacts to ensure that recovery from 100-year storms and Category 4 hurricanes is possible. Our design minimizes construction impact to existing ecological resources and secures long-term net environmental enhancements through modified operational pier policies to build capacity for coastline resiliency.