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New St. Pete Pier operating budget at $3.2M, Colliers tapped to manage

in The Bay and the 'Burg/Top Headlines by

St. Petersburg City Council members received a glimpse at expected ongoing costs for the soon-to-be-reopened St. Pete Pier, which will have a $3.2 million annual budget.

During Thursday’s council meeting, the board also selected Canadian-based commercial real estate firm Colliers International to manage the pier.

Janelle Irwin of the Tampa Bay Business Journal offers a breakdown: $3.2 million annual operating costs, $600,000 for pre-opening operations and a $50,000 grand opening event.

A staff presentation to council members to hire Colliers revealed taxpayers will spend $2 million to operate the Pier, an increase from $1.4 million devoted to the old inverted pyramid.

Comparing the old and new projects is not entirely accurate, city development administrator Alan DeLisle told council members. The new pier takes up 21 more acres than before, which makes a cost-per-acre only $73,000, compared to $266,000 per acre for the old structure.

DeLisle pointed to a $10 million minimum economic impact for the region – increased spending on things like hotel stays, retail purchases and dining.

The new Pier will also impact the city’s local, national and international stature, he added.

Irwin writes that the revised $10 million economic impact estimate was adjusted down from an initial $80 million, to offer a more accurate number.

Big City Events, which organizes RibFest, Guavaween and the Gasparilla International Film Festival, among others, will be in charge of all Pier events.

According to Irwin, the new contract will stipulate both Colliers and Big City Events must host at least 78 events in the first year — increasing by five every year after that – with two of them major. Most, however, will be small-scale and open to the public.

Also under the agreement, St. Pete will take half the Pier’s first $100,000 in revenue, and 35 percent above that. Colliers will assume all financial risk of Pier events. There will also be a potential for revenue for naming rights.

Council members will also consider adding $14 million to the pier’s budget, Irwin reports, for added amenities and acquiring public art.


Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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