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The Challenges and Successes of the St. Pete Pier Project

For years, it was questionable whether the St. Pete Pier project would ever reach completion. From an ill-fated lens design to the unknown locations of concrete piles, the project has faced numerous challenges throughout its design and construction. But where there are challenges, there will always be opportunities, and St. Petersburg residents will soon have the opportunity to visit their brand new pier. 

Below, a Hillsborough County construction lawyer discusses the many challenges and successes on the St. Pete Pier project. Although St. Pete Pier has turned into a one-of-a-kind attraction with the hard work and dedication of its design and build team, not all projects are as lucky. If a legal issue ever threatens to derail your project, our Central FL contractor lawyers are always here to help. 

The Inverted Pyramid 

Opened in 1973, the Inverted Pyramid Pier featured nearly 70,000 sq. ft. of retail space and served St. Petersburg residents for decades. It wasn’t until 2004 that it was found that the Pier in its current form was unsustainable, and plans for a new pier began to emerge. 

A Pier Advisory Task Force was soon formed, and an international design competition was launched to find the perfect design. 29 proposed designs were whittled down to 3, and after much public debate, a jury of design professionals and elected officials chose “The Lens.” Valued at $50 million, the Lens was designed to be a new icon for the city. 

Related: Contract Considerations for Construction Design Professionals

Unfortunately, the Lens was not meant to be, as St. Petersburg residents resoundingly voted against it. “We regroup. Move forward,” stated former City Council Woman Leslie Curran. “We certainly can’t afford to have an empty, boarded-up, fenced-up Pier like we experienced many years ago, and we just need to gather together and move forward.” The Inverted Pyramid Pier closed on May 31, 2013, and St. Petersburg residents were left wondering if they would ever see a new pier. 

Changing of the Guard 

In 2014, a newly elected Mayor Rick Kriseman began pushing for the development of a new St. Pete pier. Additional funds were made available, and as reported by ENR Southeast, construction began in 2017 with a design goal centered around being “sensitive to the ecological system.” 

Chuck Jablon, project leader for the construction firm Skanska, stated that they faced a unique challenge in the construction of a 148,000 sq. ft. concrete deck, which was to be supported by 426 concrete piles. That challenge was finding and working on the existing pilings. A contractor was brought on to locate and document all of the existing pilings, a task which required them to measure each piling from a small boat. Finding the pilings under the existing pier required the use of GPS — just one of the many ways that technology helps the industry. The new pilings will come in at nearly 75 ft. in length on average and are estimated to be three times as strong as the previous ones. 

Related: How Technology Plays an Integral Role in Reducing Work-Related Risks

As 10 News reports, construction crews took a break on the first day of 2020 but will soon be back to work in order to have the project completed by December. The new pier will be opened in phases throughout 2020, and while there is still a ways to go until it is completed, residents can look forward to the 4th of July festivities planned at the pier. 

Turning Trials Into Triumphs

What we’ve described throughout this article are just some of the challenges that construction companies must contend with in the hopes of completing projects on time and under budget. And while this particular project is located in St. Petersburg, the problems that city officials, designers, and contractors faced here can happen anywhere in Florida, especially here across the bay where construction is booming. 

Related: Boom or Bust: Florida’s Housing Market and the Construction Industry 

While this project resulted in a triumph, not all projects are so lucky. Projects and construction companies often lack the means to overcome funding issues, unforeseen circumstances, and disputes that plague the industry. At Cotney Construction Law, this is something we simply hate to see. 

As industry advocates, we’ve made it our mission to defend and support contractors and construction companies through all construction-related legal matters. Don’t let unforeseen challenges derail your projects. Turn trials into triumphs by partnering with the team of affordable, on-demand Hillsborough County construction lawyers from Cotney Construction Law. 

If you would like to speak with a Central FL construction lawyer, please contact us today.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.