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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

AUGUST 12, 2013

PROPOSED LANGUAGE FOR REFERENDUM

"SHALL THE CITY BE AUTHORIZED TO LEASE APPROXIMATELY 7 ACRES OF WATERFRONT AND SUBMERGED LANDS IN COCONUT GROVE TO GROVE BAY INVESTMENT GROUP, LLC, PROVIDING FOR 1) A MINIMUM OF $1.4 MILLION IN GUARANTEED ANNUAL RENT AND 2) APPROXIMATELY $17.9 MILLION OF PRIVATELY FUNDED IMPROVEMENTS TO REDEVELOP AN EXISTING MARINA AND PUBLIC BAYWALK, CONSTRUCT RESTAURANTS AND, PARTIALLY FUND A PUBLIC PARKING GARAGE, FOR A 50 YEAR TERM WITH TWO 15 YEAR RENEWAL OPTIONS."

REFERENDUM LANGUAGE ALMOST ALWAYS MAKES ONE SIDE OR ANOTHER ON AN ISSUE BEING  VOTED ON UNHAPPY.  FOR THE FOLKS LINING UP TO FIGHT THIS LATEST WATERFRONT DEAL, THE PROPOSED REFERENDUM LANGUAGE ABOVE FAILS TO INCLUDE THE REVELATION THAT THERE WILL BE ANYWHERE FROM 67,000 TO 87,000 SQUARE FEET OF RETAIL SPACE INCLUDED AS PART OF THE PLAN.  THE DEAL CALLS FOR 40,000 SQUARE FEET OF RETAIL SPACE ON THE FIRST FLOOR OF THE PARKING GARAGE, BUT THAT COULD BE INCREASED TO AS MUCH AS 60,000 SQUARE FEET, PLUS ANOTHER 27,500 SQUARE FEET OF NEW RETAIL SPACE IN THE EXISTING HANGER BUILDINGS, NOW USED FOR BOAT STORAGE.


IT ALSO FAILS TO REVEAL THAT THE REDEVELOPMENT OF THE EXISTING MARINA INCLUDES AN INCREASE IN THE NUMBER OF BOAT RACKS TO 400, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, IT FAILS TO PROVIDE ANY REAL INFORMATION ON THE SIZE OF THE GARAGE - NOW PREDICTED TO HOLD ANYWHERE FROM “500 TO 650 CARS” BY ART NORIEGA, THE HEAD OF THE MIAMI PARKING AUTHORITY IN A FRONT PAGE STORY IN THE AUGUST 8, 2013, ISSUE OF MIAMI TODAY - WHICH IS A CRITICAL ISSUE, BECAUSE THE SIZE OF THE GARAGE AND THE NUMBER OF PARKING SPACES WILL MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE REVEAL THE LEVEL OF TRAFFIC CONGESTION AND IMPACT OF THIS PROJECT ON THE SURROUNDING NEIGHBORHOODS.


ANOTHER ISSUE THAT SHOULD CONCERN EVERYONE IS THE NOTION OF LOCKING UP THIS PROPERTY WITH A 50 YEAR LEASE THAT HAS AN ADDITIONAL 30 YEARS OF EXTENSIONS. 


MOST ADULTS ALIVE TODAY WILL NOT BE ALIVE 50 YEARS FROM NOW, MUCH LESS 80 YEARS FROM NOW, AND THE IDEA OF LOCKING IN THIS PROPERTY FOR SUCH A LONG PERIOD OF TIME, ESPECIALLY WITH THE UNCERTAINTY OF WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR MIAMI IN A TIME OF GLOBAL WARMING MAKES ABSOLUTELY NO SENSE.


A COURT CHALLENGE TO THIS LANGUAGE MIGHT BE A GOOD FIRST STEP FOR THOSE OPPOSING THIS PROJECT, BECAUSE EVEN IF THE CHALLENGE FAILS, THE EFFORT CAN SERVE AS A WAY TO GENERATE MORE INTEREST IN THE COMMUNITY IN ADVANCE OF TAKING THIS FIGHT TO THE BALLOT BOX.

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