St. Pete, Fla., - UPDATE: (May 31, 2017 2:35 p.m.) The City of St. Petersburg was issued a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to begin construction on the new St. Pete Pier. This was the final permit the city needed before construction could begin.
Mayor Rick Kriseman says "The New St. Pete Pier' will be a dynamic extension of our iconic waterfront park system, and is sure to be enjoyed by residents and visitors from throughout the world for generations to come. My thanks to my team, our government partners, and our community for getting us to this point."
ORIGINAL STORY: St. Petersburg is planning to build a new pier in the place of the now-demolished former inverted pyramid pier, and a new report commissioned by the city of St. Pete promises an immediate return on the multi-million dollar project.
The look and cost of the new pier has been hotly debated over the past several years, but according to the Miami-based economic advisory firm Lambert Advisory, the Pier District would bring in $80 million in its first year of operation, a complete return on investment.
The rosy outlook comes in a recently-completed analysis that compared the Pier District project to similar piers in other parts of the country and world. It also assessed the economic impact on the local economy of ongoing Pier operations and visits to the park by both local and out-of-area visitors.
The Pier District is set to begin under-water construction next month.
According to Paul Lambert of Lambert Advisory, the project would also lead to 325 full-time, or equivalent, jobs in the construction field, and would bring in an estimated $15 million in annual hotel spending in St. Pete, approximately $935,000 in annual bed tax revenue for the area.
"I am thrilled that the new St. Petersburg Pier District will not only be a world-class destination for residents and for visitors from around the world, but that it will also have such a strong economic impact," says Mayor Rick Kriseman. "It will bring jobs as well as millions in revenue from tourism, food and beverage, and bed taxes. Construction on the new pier begins soon, and that means the impact of the $16 million in construction wages will be felt soon, too."
"It's actually quite a conservative estimate," says city spokesperson Ben Kirby to ABC Action News.