"The Lens" is the top choice of a five-member jury tasked with examining three possible replacements for the St. Petersburg Pier. That makes it the winner of an international design competition and the subject of further public scrutiny.
"I think now, once this decision is ratified, moving forward there will be other questions that people have, which is inevitable, and it's welcomed" said Leslie Curran, City Council and design jury chair.
Mayor Bill Foster said, "Public input starts now, and that's going to be on conceptual refinements and programming."
Those refinements could be significant because the current design shown in renderings is $7- to $10-million over budget. The city has $50 million for a new Pier, including the estimated $5 million to demolish the existing structures.
All three finalists in the international design competition came in over-budget but gave assurances their concepts could be scaled down.
"I feel comfortable that we're going to be able to build a Lens concept with refinements, with programming, within budget," Mayor Foster predicted.
The City Council will receive the jury's rankings at a workshop next week, and will decide whether to move forward within a matter of weeks.
Councilman Karl Nurse wants to see updated renderings.
"Don't show me the stuff that we're never going to buy," he said, referring to depictions of how the land leading up to the Pier might be developed. "You have to rein it in and show me what you can do for $45 million, because that's where we're going."