St. Petersburg Pier opening date pushed to 2020

The deadline for opening St. Pete’s new pier has been pushed to early 2020 and this week work began on the pier’s signature art piece.

Cloud Gate, or ‘The Bean’ in Chicago, or perhaps “The Vessel” in New York’s brand new Hudson Yards are some of the most iconic and recognizable pieces of public art. The city of St. Pete will soon have ‘Bending Arc,’ the name and inspiration behind Tampa Bay native Janet Echelman’s hanging rope sculpture.  Echelman’s work is known globally.

“This is my chance to give back to my hometown,” Echelman said while unveiling renderings for the sculpture earlier this year. “I want to share the experience of lying down in the grass. Looking up at the artwork and watching the waves of wind ripple by.”

Private donors are picking up the $1.5-million bill to pay Echelman to create the sculpture.  The city agreed to pay $1.4 million to install the infrastructure which will hold it in place.

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Construction crews were seen Tuesday drilling deep into the ground to anchor pylon’s which will hold the sculpture’s netting.

“We are now beginning the foundation phase,” city architect Raul Quintana said. “It holds the net structure and then the net sculpture hangs off of that.”

Made from a space-age twine, Echelman says the sculpture is engineered to withstand the strongest hurricane.

Quintana says the pylons for the netting will be in place a few months.  There’s no set timeline for when the sculpture will be installed.