ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – St. Petersburg city leaders broke ground on the new Pier and Pier District.

Mayor Rick Kriseman spoke Wednesday morning on the north side of the Pier Approach along with Deputy Mayor Kanika Tomalin, District Four city council member Darden Rice, city managing director Chris Ballestra, Pier project designer Vince Lee, citizen Steve Urgo and teen Betsy Johnson.

"Today is not a dream. This is real life," Kriseman said. "We are actually building a pier."

Kriseman said he looked forward to St. Petersburg having "an iconic waterfront" with "amazing views."

"I am confident this pier will do what piers throughout history have done," Kriseman said. "{It will} serve as the most important public space in our city."


Watch: Wednesday's groundbreaking ceremony

More: Fact-checking St. Pete's lucrative Pier claim

Watch live: Waterfront web camera of St. Petersburg

City council members voted 7-1 in June to appropriate $17.6 million to begin construction on the new Pier District. District Five city council member Steve Kornell cast the lone dissenting vote.

The $17.6 million pricetag is the guaranteed maximum price from Skanska USA Building for the marine structural work to build the pier platform.

Photos: Renderings of the new St. Petersburg Pier

The total budget for the project is $66 million, according to our partners at the Tampa Bay Times.

Crews expect to finish the project by January 2019.

The “Inverted Pyramid” Pier closed on May 21, 2013, after originally opening in 1973. Crews tore it down from Aug. 19, 2015, to Nov. 13, 2015.

Go to the New St. Pete Pier’s website for more information.

Mark Bergin is a digital journalist with 10News WTSP. Like him on Facebook and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. You can also email him at