A just-released study purporting to show the economic impact of the new St. Petersburg pier district is generating quite a debate over whether the numbers are realistic.
The city hired Lambert Advisory of Miami to do the study, which concluded among other things that the new pier district will generate $80 million a year to the city’s economy.
It bases this estimate on assumptions that tourists will travel to St. Pete simply to enjoy the pier and its ancillary attractions, thereby boosting profits at hotels, restaurants, bars, and other local attractions.
The study also contends the new pier district will prompt tourists already coming to the area for other reasons to stay an extra day to devote to the pier.
But critics say it’s not necessarily a positive sum game where everyone wins. They contend that people will sacrifice other attractions to go to the pier and that tourists already here will not stay an extra day and night just for the pier, and simply see it as part of their planned visit.
Critics also contend that even if the pier district generates the predicted $80 million, it would only mean $10 a year in tax revenue, hardly offsetting the annual cost of running the attraction, as the study maintains it will.
The Lambert study cost taxpayers about $20 thousand.
The new St. Petersburg pier district is set to open at the end of 2018.
VIDEO – St. Pete in Progress