There’s a new focal point at the new St. Pete pier construction site.
Construction crews have installed tall white polls in the family park area of the new pier near Spa Beach. The polls are the pylons that will support the billowing aerial Janet Echelman sculpture planned for the space.
Construction on the giant net sculpture that will float above pier-goers’ heads will begin in late December.
Echelman, who was named an Architectural Digest innovator for “changing the very essence off urban spaces,” was chosen to design the aerial sculpture as a major public art focal point at the new pier that will draw both visitors and locals to the redeveloped space.
Echelman’s inspiration for the colors and shape of the sculpture are derived from historic postcards showing beachgoers sitting under striped parasols and the natural forms of barnacle colonies under the pier.
Construction crews began laying the foundation for the structure in May.
The poles to support the structure went up as crews are continuing late-stage work on the pier that now resembles the early renderings chosen for the new pier through a massive public design competition process that concluded in mid-2016.
The main structure at the pier head shows a nearly complete shell of what the building will eventually be. The tilted lawn that slants upward from the grown giving picnickers views of the downtown St. Pete skyline from the pier is complete with grass.
Trees line several parts of the pier foundation and solar panels are already installed in a parking area near the marina.
Construction is ongoing to interior work at the pier head building, discovery center, Doc Ford’s restaurant and the pier pavilion. Crews are also this winter installing play equipment, the boardwalk, lighting and landscaping in the coastal thicket and vendor stalls in the pier marketplace area.
Major completion on the entire pier project is expected by the end of this year with the district opening sometime early next year, though an exact date had yet to be determined.
The pier was supposed to open by the end of this year, but unexpected projects including replacing sea walls caused some delays.