Finalists to Replace St. Pete Pier Have "Wow" Factor

The "Lens"
The "Wave"
ST. PETERSBURG (2011-11-30) -

That upside-down pyramid in Tampa Bay just off downtown St. Petersburg will soon go the way of its demolished predecessors at The Pier. The three finalists have been announced, and they're sure to open a few people's eyes.

They're called The Lens, The Wave, and The Eye. And there's no shortage of architechtural whimsy with the three finalists to replace the iconic St. Petersburg Pier.

The Lens is an ambitious design that includes a marine aquarium in the middle of a circle jutting out into Tampa Bay, with a building vaguely reminiscent of the Sydney Opera House. The Wave looks like a giant wheel and includes a public beach on the causeway leading from downtown. And The Eye is a dome-like building that could be built on a sandbar, complete with sunbathers.

They're all ambitious and come in under the city's $50 million-dollar price tag - at least for their first phase. You can get an up-close look at the proposals beginning Tuesday at the St. Petersburg Museum of History. A five-person city panel will hear the presentations personally on December 16th, with a final decision coming in January.

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