ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – The wait is finally over.
After several years of construction, the grand opening for the new St. Petersburg Pier District is Monday afternoon.
There will be coronavirus precautions in place such as crowd limits and the city is encouraging visitors to wear a mask while outside exploring the pier. Inside the restaurants, face coverings are required.
Mayor Rick Kriseman told 8 On Your Side the hope is for the new pier to become a main attraction that will have a major economic impact.
“Certainly once we get past the pandemic and people are more comfortable coming out in larger numbers we wouldn’t be surprised to see a million people a year visit,” he said.
8 On Your Side is giving you a first look at the spectacular view of the St. Pete skyline from the new pier head.
“The structure here that we’re standing on there’s no columns if you look around,” said Tara Williams from ASD Architects, the bay area firm that designed the pier alongside New York’s Rogers Partner.
The pier has several dining options, including the Spa Beach Bistro.
“Who wouldn’t want to be on this pier?” General Manager Tanner Enoch said. “I mean the second we heard the City of St. Pete was building a new pier we were right there with pen and paper in line trying to be a part of it.”
For families, there’s a million dollar playground to go along with a splash pad.
“There are some amazing pieces of public art from the origami pelican behind me to of course the Echelman piece,” Mayor Kriseman said.
The enormous Janet Echelman aerial sculpture lights up at night.
The total price tag for the project was $92 million.
“If we were doing it today, I hate to see what the price tag would be cause I think it would be a whole lot more than that,” Mayor Kriseman said.
The mayor told 8 On Your Side he believes the new pier district won’t just be a tourist destination.
“I think this is gonna be a place where locals hang out,” he said. “I think this is gonna be our Central Park.”
Along the pier, there are reminders to keep a six-foot distance from others. The coronavirus pandemic postponed the opening that had been set for the end of May.
This week’s visitors need to make a reservation and the city is limiting capacity to 50 percent, which is 10,000 people per day.
“We expected a lot of excitement and that’s why we want to make sure we don’t overwhelm it in this time of COVID,” Kriseman said.
If you’re planning a visit to the St. Pete Pier this week, don’t forget to have your reservation on your phone or printed out. Reservations can be made for a visit between July 6 and July 12. You can make a reservation for up to six individuals.
To reserve a ticket, visit the Pier’s website and select a day and time.
The pier opens Monday afternoon at 5:30 p.m. and 9 a.m. the rest of the week.
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