St. Petersburg Pier
The St. Petersburg Pier, known locally as The Pier, is a landmark and major tourist destination adjacent to downtown St. Petersburg, Florida and extending into Tampa Bay. Some of the activities and sights offered at the pier include shopping, dining, nightlife, fishing, boat rentals, weekly festivals, and the Pier Aquarium. The City of St. Petersburg, Florida plans to demolish The Pier and replace it with a new design. A protest campaign to save the existing pier has developed.
The Pier is known for its five-story inverted pyramid shape overlooking Tampa Bay. The aquarium is located on the second floor, with a branch of Ybor City's famed Columbia Restaurant on the fourth floor and Cha Cha Coconuts Tropical Bar and Grill on the fifth floor. The first floor includes a Concierge Center, specialty shops and galleries, Waterside Grill & Bar, and the Dockside Eatery food court with burgers, pizza, ice cream and Chinese. Local bands are featured in Courtyard by the Bay every Sunday afternoon.
On August 18, 2010, the St. Petersburg City Council accepted Mayor Bill Foster (mayor)'s recommendation to demolish the current Pier in a straw-poll vote, 5-3 after a two-hour workshop. A binding vote, 7–1, was taken at an August 26 meeting. On January 20, 2012, the St. Petersburg Pier Competition Jury unanimously selected Michael Maltzan Architecture's "The Lens" as the design for the new pier. The city provided simulated images of the "The Lens" on flickr.
The Pier's origins date back to 1889, when the Orange Belt Railway constructed the Railroad Pier on Tampa Bay as a railway-accessible sightseeing and recreational resort for locals and tourists. This was done three years before St. Petersburg’s incorporation as a city in 1892. The Railroad Pier's immediate success led to its replacement in 1906 with the Electric Pier, which extended 3,000 feet into the bay and awed visitors and spectators with its highly dramatic night lighting.
The Electric Pier, in turn, was replaced in 1914 by the Municipal Pier, which was so heavily damaged by the Hurricane of 1921 that the city of St. Petersburg appropriated a $1 million bond for a new structure. This was dedicated on Thanksgiving Day in 1926 as the Million Dollar Pier, a Mediterranean-style casino that included an observation deck, an open-air ballroom, and a spacious interior atrium for card games and community events. The building's entrance portico was later enclosed as WSUN-TV’s studios, from which "Captain Mac" broadcast his children’s show in the 1950s.
By 1967, the Million Dollar Pier was so decrepit it was demolished, and its site was vacant for many years until the current structure was built in 1973. It was designed by William B. Harvard Sr., founder of Harvard Jolly architectural firm in St. Petersburg, with a tubular steel framework to create large windows for full panoramic views of Tampa Bay, and an inverted pyramid form for a larger top floor and observation deck.
On March 20, 1976, a laser sculpture by Rockne Krebs entitled Starboard Home on the Range, Part VI was dedicated. The sculpture was a green laser beam that emanated from the Pier towards downtown St. Petersburg and was reflected back to the Pier several times with mirrors, finally reflected out to Tampa Bay. Technical problems with cooling the laser engine caused it to be inoperative much of the time and it was eventually shut down permanently.
Popular culture 
A significant amount of footage was filmed in and around the Pier for the second and third season of the mid-1990s television series seaQuest DSV.
The Pier was shown prominently on the cover of local zombie anthology, Zombie St. Pete. This is a short story collection featuring fictional zombie attacks in the St. Petersburg city. The Pier also held the Zombie St. Pete book release party on February 27, 2010.
On June 17, 1922, 18-year old Dorothy MacLatchie was killed by a "monster fish" while floating next to the Municipal Pier, St. Petersburg, Florida. While some reports indicate her death was caused by a shark, newspaper accounts indicate her death was caused by a barracuda.
Plans for a new pier 
A campaign to stop the destruction of the existing pier and prevent the lens design from repacing it has called for a referendum. One issue with the Lens design is its plans for a visible reef. Scientists have concluded that visibility in the Tampa Bay make the design plan unrealistic..
- AOL Local City's Best guide
- About.com: Tampa Bay
- The New York Times Travel Guide to St. Petersburg: Frommer's Review of The Pier
- "St. Petersburg Pier International Design Competition" city web site
- The New St. Petersburg Pier Concept "The Lens" city flickr page
- "St. Petersburg applies for permit to demolish Pier" Tampa Bay Times, Saturday, September 8, 2012
- The Pier's official website
- St. Petersburg Pier Advisory Task Force Design Subcommittee Meeting Minutes, Monday, August 17, 2009, 3:30 p.m.
- [http://www.archdaily.com/188775/final-design-proposals-for-the-st-petersburg-pier-design-competition/ Final design proposals for the St Petersburg Pier design competition
- Despite controversy Michael Maltzan Architecture's Lens will go on