New estimates show cost of renovating Pier - FOX 13 News

New estimates show cost of renovating Pier

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ST. PETERSBURG (FOX 13) -

The St. Petersburg Pier could be renovated for the $46 million the City of St. Petersburg has available, according to new estimates from city officials.

There are actually two new estimates: The first repeats earlier estimates of $75 million to rebuild the Pier in its existing dimensions.

The second estimate reduces the width of the bridge or "Pier approach" from 100 feet wide to 50 feet wide, and shrinks the 126,000 square foot apron around the building to 40,000.

A city official told FOX 13 News the two new estimates are being reviewed by an outside construction cost analyst before being released.

Local blogger Robert Neff obtained a draft of the estimates through a public records request, and has posted them on his website, FifthWorldArt.com.

Neff told FOX 13 News he is not completely sold on renovating the existing Pier, but "I think what we need to do as residents is we need to be presented with the facts and the options."

Neff noted a new poll published over the weekend that showed a majority of St. Petersburg residents prefer a new Pier design.

"They ask, would you want to refurbish the pier at $75 or $70 million? Well of course not," Neff said. "But if you had [$45 million] in their survey, I think the survey results would have been totally different."

The city initially had $50 million earmarked for renovating the Pier, but the mayor and city council preferred replacing the existing structures with a new design.

About $4 million was spent on a replacement pier known as the Lens. Voters rejected that proposal in a referendum last August.

Now, there is $46 million left for the Pier project. It is too soon to tell whether the new estimates will influence discussions inside city hall. Mayor Bill Foster is in a tight race for re-election, and two city council members opposed to renovating the inverted pyramid will not return next year because of term limits.

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