SO HOW GOOD A DEAL IS THAT?  IT’S NOT BETTER THAN THE DEAL THAT BAYSIDE GOT!  THEREFORE I CONTEND THAT IF THE CITY COMMISSION APPROVES THIS CONTRACT THE CITIZENS WILL GET SCREWED BY THE MIAMI CITY COMMISSION FOR APPROVING A CONTRACT THAT GIVES THEM THE HIND TIT!

ALL ESTIMATES ARE BASED ON BERKOWITZ’S CLAIM OF 3.2 MILLION VISITORS.



















IF HE DOESN’T REACH THAT NUMBER HE’S IN TROUBLE, AND ALL OF THE OTHER REVENUE GENERATING PARTS OF HIS CASH FLOW PALE IN COMPARISON TO THE MONEY HE EXPECTS TO GENERATE THROUGH TICKET SALES FOR PEOPLE GOING TO THE OBSERVATION DECKS: $77,374,296 VERSUS $27,613,766 FOR EVERYTHING ELSE.

BERKOWITZ EXPECTS TO GET 3.2 MILLION VISITORS TO VISIT THE TOWER.

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When it comes to the City of Miami and real estate developers, the bigger the proposed deal, the wider the politicians are willing to spread their legs.


When Jeffrey Berkowitz showed up talking about spending $430 million dollars to build a 1000 foot vertical amusement park and observation tower on city owned, waterfront property, visions of the money and the deals they might be able to get a piece of started floating like butterflies through the minds of the members of the City Commission.


I believe that for all of the Commissioners, this deal, like so many others, the only way that they looked at the project was about all the money that they expected, one way or another to get; whether it be for their constituents, their business partners and friends or for themselves.


These big projects are looked at like a giant cash Pinata, and everyone with the ability to wield a stick looks for whatever opportunity is available to get whatever they can.


It doesn’t hurt when the developer is a prodigious campaign contributor, and the Miami Herald revealed recently that Jeffrey Berkowitz is that kind of developer. The Herald listed him at number 13, on the list of the top 100 contributors to County-Commission candidates.


Being rich and generous unfortunately creates an assumption that you’re entitled to exempt from the rules, and developers like Berkowitz understand the value of lavishing large amounts of money on politicians, because the game is predicated on the premise that: I give you money, you approve my deal, no matter whether its good or bad.


The problem that this presents - and there are more than a few problems, but in this case there is one very specific problem and that is that NOT ONE City Commissioner demonstrated at the last Commission meeting that they had really looked at this deal from the other end of the telescope or made any effort to dig down into the nitty gritty of the financing or debt management on a $430 million dollar project that unlike any other project that they have ever approved cannot be easily removed from City property once it is constructed. 


But the central question is whether it will generate the kind of money that Jeffrey Berkowitz has claimed it will, and in the process did the City get the best deal it could for another dwindling piece of waterfront land?


It’s an either/or question, and on both side of that question are answers that I don’t necessarily believe bode well for the City or the taxpayers of Miami.


In an effort to explain why I believe that this is a bad deal for the City the first part of this story will in large part be based on the copy of the Consolidated Cash Flow projections that Jeffrey Berkowitz turned over to the City several months ago, and which I was provided a copy as part of one of my many public records requests related to this issue.


Berkowitz responded on Saturday to several questions I asked him regarding this document, and although he circled around the numbers, he did not refute them, nor did he provide any other numbers to counter the estimates of daily attendance that are critical to reaching a determination as to whether he can reach and sustain profitability. You can read Berkowitz’s email response to be HERE.


Because I’m a simple add and subtract kind of guy when it comes to math, I turned to several folks to help me understand the math.  One of those folks was Coconut Grove Architect Charles Corda, who was not only very helpful, but who put together an analysis that some of you might have received on Friday in an email from him.  I’ve incorporated Charlie’s analysis below as part of this story, and if you didn’t get his email you can read it HERE.


As for Berkowitz’s Consolidated Cash Flow projections, below is a copy, and a larger copy is available so you verify these calculations by clicking HERE.


OLD SITEORIGINAL_SITE.html
ANOTHER BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI
FROM BEGINNING TO END IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, AND I BELIEVE THE DOCUMENTS SUPPORT MY CLAIM THAT THIS IS INDEED A BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI.
PART XI

Now, bear in mind as we start this that the above numbers are based on assumptions that Berkowitz states were made as part of “a very detailed study done by an independent leading company in the attraction and entertainment space,”


I have no reason to doubt Berkowitz, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for, and this study, as well as all the other studies that Berkowitz has paid for have been created in part with the knowledge that they are going to end up being used to provide a basis for potential investors to cough up money.


Also, as you will see, at the end, this isn’t rocket science. At the level of counting heads, and figuring out how many heads you need to count in order to make money, this is pretty straightforward math.


Today, there is no Skyrise Tower, so these are projected numbers and a lot of things could happen before 2018 that could make them completely unreliable as financial benchmarks, but they’re the only numbers available to work with in order to determine the financial viability of this project.


PART I - THE PROJECTED REVENUE NUMBERS FOR THE FIRST FULL YEAR OF OPERATION

IF YOU DIVIDE TOTAL REVENUES OF $99,998,062 BY 3.2M YOU GET $31.25. THAT’S THE AVERAGE AMOUNT THAT EACH VISITOR IS EXPECTED TO SPEND

THEN IF YOU DIVIDE THE 3.2M  OF ANNUAL VISITORS BY 365 DAYS A YEAR YOU GET 8,767, AND THAT IS THE NUMBER OF VISITORS THAT NEED TO VISIT EACH DAY IN ORDER TO REACH 3.2M

8,767 DAILY VISITORS X $31.25 = $273,881.08. THAT’S THE AMOUNT OF REVENUE THAT IS NEEDED EVERY DAY COME RAIN, SHINE, HURRICANES OR THE RAPTURE IN ORDER TO REACH THE REVENUE TOTAL OF $99,988,062.

PART I I - WHERE ARE ALL OF THESE MILLIONS OF PEOPLE GOING TO COME FROM EVERY YEAR?


Based on his initial projection of 3.2 million visitors, Berkowitz has stated in the Notes and Assumptions part of his Consolidated Cash Flow projections that he anticipates a 1% increase in ticket price and an increase of 1.5% in ticket sales, for a cumulative increase in visitors over the first ten years to 33,479,077. 


That’s a lot of people for a metropolitan area that has 2.5 million residents and last year had 14.2 million overnight visitors.


This is even more evident when you see the comparison choices that Berkowitz and his team are using as examples of successful towers that he expects to emulate.


Last week, Hank Adorno - yes Miami, THAT Hank Adorno - who turns out is the Executive Director of Berkowitz’s, Miami Metropolitan Regional Center LLC, EB-5 program, responded to an email from Charles Corda.


Here is that email, courtesy of Corda.

THE STRATOSPHERE TOWER COMPARISON


CONTRARY TO BERKOWITZ’S CLAIM THAT NO OTHER TOWER COMES “CLOSE IN THE SCOPE OF AMENITIES WE WILL BE OFFERING,” ONE TOWER MATCHES THE CLAIMS HE MAKING FOR SKYRISE.  THAT TOWER IS THE STRATOSPHERE TOWER IN LAS VEGAS.














THIS TOWER HAS A CASINO, A ROLLER COASTER, A BUNGIE JUMP, AND IT’S IN A CITY THAT LAST YEAR HAD 39,668,221 VISITORS.


WITH ALL OF THIS, AND AFTER BEING OPEN 18 YEARS, THIS TOWER IS NOW ONLY REACHING A TOTAL OF 40,000,000 VISITORS, OR APPROXIMATELY, 2,222,333 VISITORS A YEAR.  THAT’S APPROXIMATELY 1,000,000 MILLION LESS VISITORS THAN BERKOWITZ  EXPECTS WILL VISIT SKYRISE.

From: Hank Adorno <hadorno@miamet.com>

Date: June 18, 2014 11:19:57 AM EDT


Subject: RE: SkyRise


Hi. We had an extensive feasibility study done by a highly respected consulting firm in this space, International Theme Park Services, Inc.http://www.interthemepark.com/  


They reviewed over 20 similar towers around the world, several of which Jeff and I have visited and none of them come close in the scope of amenities and attractions we will be offering.,You can go to our website and learn about approximately 40 such towers, http://skyrisemiami.com/TOWERS/index.html


Here is just some quick facts about the attractiveness of towers/observation decks


Eiffel Tower has 7 million annual visitors and over 250 million since it open 125 years ago


The Statue of Liberty has over 3 million annual visitors


The Empire State Building has 4 million annual visitors and over 131 million since it open in 1931. It also produces $85 million in revenues


Tokyo Skytree, which open in March, 2012 has blown through its initial projections and is averaging over 6 million annual visitors


One World Trade Center (the tallest building in the US and owed by the NYC Port Authority) just leased the top two floors (raw space) for observation to a Jerry Jones (Dallas Cowboy) lead group for $60 million a year for 15 years

Observation Towers are big draws around the world. Our 3.2 million estimate is conservative. We are not building an attraction and hoping they will come. They are already here. We are giving visitors and residents something unique to do. Florida is the #1 tourist destination in the world with over 94 million annual visitors. A significant portion go to Orlando. SkyRise will make us more competitive and with All-Aboard Florida easier to access.


Finally and probably most telling is that Jeff is spending the first 30 million in construction cost. You do not do so unless you most firmly believe that your projections are reasonable. We have been at this for almost 4 years and we have done our homework. Jeff has a 35 year history of 100% successful projects. He did so by being conservative and putting together a world class team. You can learn about the team by visiting, http://skyrisemiami.com/TEAM/index.html

 

If you had a visitor from out of town, where would you take them?

 

Let me know if I can answer any other questions. If you have a moment please view the video at the beginning of the website.

 

PS, please call me Hank.

THE STATUTE OF LIBERTY


4,200,000. Visitors a year

New York City Resident Population = 8,475, 500

New York City Visitors = 48,700,000 per year (2010 approx.)

Combined Visitor and Resident Population = 57,175,500.

Statue of Liberty Capture Rate = 7.3%

Extrapolate to South Florida

16,817,176 x 7.3% =1,227,654 Visitors to SkyRise

Given all of the possible places and activities that the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau already claims are available for visitors there is no guarantee that going up a 1000 foot observation tower, or taking a 400 foot drop in an amusement ride is necessarily going to leap to the top of every visitor’s to do list.


HANK ADORNO’S APPLES AND ORANGES COMPARISONS DON’T SUPPORT BERKOWITZ CLAIMS


I am grateful to Charles Corda for taking the time to research each of the locations that Hank Adorno cited in his email, and in doing the comparisons to Miami. He has circulated those calculations and his opinion on the potential financial impact to the City to the Mayor and members of the City Commission, and to folks on his extensive mailing list, and again, you can see a copy HERE.

THE EMPIRE STATE BUILDING


3,500,000. Visitors a year

New York City Resident Population = 8,475, 500

New York City Visitors = 48,700,000 per year (2010 approx.)

Combined Visitor and Resident Population = 57,175,500.

Empire State Building Capture Rate = 6.1%

Extrapolate to South Florida

16,817,176 x 6.1% =1,025,848 Visitors to SkyRise

THE EIFFEL TOWER


7,000,000. Visitors a year

Paris Resident Population = 2,340,000.

Paris Visitors = 70,000,000 per year (approx.)

Combined Visitor and Resident Population = 72,340,000. a year

Eiffel Tower Capture Rate = 9.7%

Extrapolate to South Florida 16,817,176 x 9.7% =1,631,266 Visitors to Skyrise

THE TOYKO SKYTREE


6,000,000. Visitors Per Year

Tokyo Resident Population = 35,000,000.

Tokyo Visitors = 426,000,000 per year (approx.) An astounding number

compared to just about anywhere else.

Combined Visitor and Resident Population = 461,000,000.

SkyTree Capture Rate = 1.3%

Extrapolate to South Florida

16,817,176 x 1.3% =218,623 Visitors to SkyRise

As part of the argument that Corda put forward in his email also dealt with the  financial projections that Berkowitz provided the City.

Assuming Mr. Berkowitz is correct that 3,200,000 People will Visit SkyRise

The project will do quite well and show a considerable profit.


If however the number of visitors is more in line with similar structures

around the world, at a max. of 10% of combined visitor and resident

populations Mr. Berkowitz will be in dire straights.


Extrapolating from Mr. Berkowitz’s own projections he MUST have 6,677

Visitors PER DAY just to break even.


6,677 Visitors x $31.25= $208,656.25 Gross Income per Day -

approximately equal to his projected expenses of $208,667.82 PER DAY


IF his actual Visits are more in line with Similar Structures around the world

(adjusted by available Population/Visitors), the project will be bankrupt

almost immediately upon opening.


Combined Dade County/ ”Miami and the Beaches ” Resident/Visitor

Population = 16,817,176 x 10 % =1,681,717. Per Year Divided by 365 days

= 4,607 Visitors per day.


4607 Visitors per Day x $31.25 Per Visitor = $143,969. PER DAY GROSS

REVENUE


With Expenses Fixed at $208,656.25 vs Gross Revenue of $143,969.

means the Project Loses $64,687 PER DAY.


The Question then simply becomes “will this project “SkyRise”capture a

greater percentage of the available population than the most Iconic

Structures on Earth?


In point of fact “SkyRise will have to capture approximately 150% More of

the available population and visitors than the above noted structures to

break even.


As such it seems to be that Mr. Berkowitz’s financial projections are highly

optimistic at best.


If his actual visitor numbers are in line with other similar yet more iconic

structures around the world, as adjusted by available populations and

visitors, this project will bleed red ink to the tune of approx. $64,000 PER

DAY starting on day one.


I doubt if even Mr. Berkowitz, a renown and respected developer, can

weather that storm for very long.


At that rate the project loses $23,360,000. in the first year of operation.

I would assume that well before that occurs the project goes into

bankruptcy.


In summary, all of the above numbers except those related to extant

observation towers, are of a conjectural nature. No one can predict with

absolute certainty how many people will visit this project each day. Not I.

Not Mr. Berkowitz, nor his consultants. However if similar projects around

the world are used as a guide for analysis, this project is doomed to failure.

In the end We,The Citizens of Miami will have a 1000 Foot high problem on

our hands. The costs to the City of Miami can be astronomical.

While I agree with Corda that Berkowitz’s projections are highly optimistic, I think that he might get through the first one or two years just on the basis of the tower’s novelty.


It’s after those first couple years, and after he faces direct competition from the other observation towers offering similar views of Miami, as well as competition from the World Center Convention complex who will have their own mix of high-class restaurants, night clubs, convention space and all the rest that I think is where Berkowitz and his tower will face Corda’s  calculations. 


By then however, Berkowitz might have cashed out, the current Mayor and members of the Miami City Commission will be gone from office, and the only ones still around will be the taxpayers, who as usual, will wonder how any of this could have happened.


PART III - LET’S SAY THAT CHARLES CORDA, I AND OTHERS ARE ABSOLUTELY WRONG, AND  THAT JEFFREY BERKOWITZ SUCCEEDS BEYOND ANYONE’S EXPECTATIONS.  WHAT THEN?


I believe the City of Miami will still get screwed!


A close review of the sub-lease contract between Berkowitz and Bayside Marketplace indicates that when that contract was signed, neither the folks with General Growth Partners nor Berkowitz had any expectation that the City would behave in any other way than how they had previously behaved: The City would pretty much bend over and let them do whatever they wanted.


You got to remember that in 2012 and 2013 Johnny “The Doormat” Martinez was the City Manager, and for a big chunk of 2013 he was home recovering from his stroke.  The City was adrift during those 2 years and would have been considered easy pickings for a guy like Berkowitz and the folks at General Growth Partners.


On top of that, relationship between Bayside and the City from the very beginning of their dealings in 1985 has always been one where the Bayside Marketplace folks pretty much treated the terms of the contract as a license to screw the City.


Not only did they screw the City out of of millions of dollars between the signing of the 1985 contract until the 2001 Audit, but for years they allowed the property to fall into disrepair.


The fact that they’ve now been forced to spend as much as $27 to $35 million dollars on rehabilitating the property is because the place has become a dump.  Remember the photos I took in May showing exterior damages to the building?


In addition they played fast and loose with the money they were supposed to give the Minority Participation Program and to further appreciate their ability to bamboozle the City, after 9/11, they actually managed to talk the City into giving them a 3 month abatement on their rent while refusing to do the same with their own tenants.


Even Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, who I often don’t agree with described the original contract between the City and Bayside as “horribly negotiated.”


Therefore, when Henry Torre, the Director of Facilities Management, showed up at the last Commission meeting touting a deal that got some of the most onerous provisions of that original contract removed, and announced that Bayside would give the City a one time $10 million payment, plus changes to the contract that included a higher base rental payment and “6% of the gross revenue above natural breakpoint of $25,666,666,” you could have made a quick buck selling 4 of the 5 Commissioners a towel to wipe the slobber off of their mouths.


To them, Torre’s claims about how great the deal was translated into - “Mo Money! Mo Money! Mo  Money!”


Berkowitz was also quick to jump in with his claims about thousands of jobs he was creating and the BILLION plus in payments to the City from the deal.  Of course no one has produced a document that they’ve been willing to give me with THOSE projections, and that BILLION is supposedly over the next 99 years. None of us will be around then to see if those claims turned out to be real.


But since Torre and Berkowitz are the one who proclaimed that this deal is a great deal, let’s look at it.


WHO EVER GETS THE FIRST BITE OF THE APPLE IS THE ONE WHO GETS FAT


On page 72 of the renegotiated Bayside Marketplace lease, is a portion of the sub-lease between Bayside and Skyrise that spells out the rent payments that Bayside will receive from Skyrise during the terms of the sub-lease.


In addition to a base rent that starts at $1,350,000 a year for the first year of operation and ends at $3,183,229 for years 46-50 of the lease there is a provision for “Percentage Rent.”


That “Percentage Rent” agreed to by Berkowitz was 3.66667%, and like the base rent, has specific breakpoints for the life of the lease. The breakpoint for this “Percentage Rent,” starts out at $36,818,178.


This sub-lease was negotiated and signed on March 29, 2013, well before any efforts were made between the City and Bayside to renegotiate their lease.


What this means is that the Bayside folks got the first, and best bite of the apple.


Consider the deal that the City made with Berkowitz:


The City will get a base rent of $1,059,082 in a fixed base rent, and they will get a “percentage Rent” of 1% of with a starting breakpoint “above $55,000,000.


Even though this tower is being built on City owned, waterfront property, the City is collecting 2,66667% LESS, and starting at a breakpoint $18,181,822 HIGHER than Bayside’s deal.

If the City had negotiated any harder they probably would have had to start paying Berkowitz “Percentage Rent.”


ARTS IN PUBLIC PLACES


But if you still have any doubts about how phony all these claims about toughness are, you soon appreciate that thanks to a little help from someone capable of inserting language into the contract Berkowitz was getting ready to start crying crocodile tears all the way to the bank.


On page 40, Section 4 of the Ground Lease Recognition and Non-Disturbance Agreement this little jewel was buried in the thick of an impenetrable paragraph.

When I read that, I sent an email to Michael Spring, the person in charge of overseeing the Arts In Public Places program for the County, asking him whether this was allowed.  Here is his response.

What does it mean for Berkowitz NOT HAVING to comply with the County  Ordinance provisions of Art In Public Places? 


It means a savings of 1/2 of 1% of hard construction costs, or as much as $2 million dollars.  That’s a lot of money that could obviously be better be spent on Thank You gifts and campaign contributions.


In a June 3rd version of this document Assistant City Attorney Suraez-Rivas actually asked whether the City needed to get County approval:

So the supposedly “tough” contract that Berkowitz claimed he had been forced to negotiate with Henry Torre was only tough because he didn’t really want to pay the City anything, and he didn’t want to have the deal go before the voters.


And in fact, to appreciate just how the fine print in the contract makes the claims about toughness ring hollow, I refer you to Exhibit “B” of the City’s contract with both Bayside and Berkowitz (page 25,) that states that the“Percentage Rents” are based on “Gross Receipts.”


When you read the explanation of “Gross Receipts” you realize that “Gross Receipts” is a misnomer, because as the contract states, that the Gross Receipts shall not include a number of exemptions.  Here are those exemptions:

From the final version it’s obvious that someone got cute and figured the way to get around this was to insert the language that illegally claimed that the building was a piece of art.


Whoever that person was - and there are only 2 or 3 people who could have done this - they should be fired immediately because that stunt represents an act of theft from the taxpayers.


PART IV - PARKING: WHERE ARE ALL THESE PEOPLE GOING TO FIT?


From his paid for economic study by the Washington Economic Group that proclaimed thousands and thousands of people would be hired to build and work at this vertical amusement park in downtown Miami, not to mention the millions of people that Berkowitz claims are going to visit the tower, no one has really asked any serous questions of where in the hell are all of these people going to park, and what will all of these additional people and their cars mean to the already overburdened traffic congestion in downtown Miami.


Bayside currently has approximately 1400 parking spaces and the renegotiated lease will allow them to add a total of approximately 700 more spaces.  However, as important as those additional spaces are, they won’t be able to accommodate all of these new employees and visitors, and ironically, when questioned at the last Commission meeting Henry Torre actually admitted that in order to “incentivize” Bayside Marketplace to add parking spaces, he had agreed to let them NOT pay any base rent on 296 of those 700 parking spaces.


How sweet is that!


The problems of massive, and often grid-lock traffic congestion and parking go above and beyond this specific project, or any of the other projects planed or under construction in the downtown area. 


Several Commission meeting ago Commission Chairman Willie Gort actually started complaining about how bad traffic had become in Miami, as if the decisions that he and his fellow Commissioners made during the last 4 1/2 years haven’t contributed to many of these problems.


I’ve even been told by several developers that they think that the City needs to impose a moratorium so that a comprehensive study can be done to figure out how to deal with all of these parking/traffic problems in Miami before continuing the uncontrolled and helter-skelter pattern of development now going  on.


Of course, that would require a Mayor and City Commission with an overarching vision for where they are taking this city, and unfortunately, this group of elected officials has never demonstrated that level of political sophistication or sense of responsibility.


IN CONCLUSION - AT THE END OF THE DAY IT’S STILL ALL ABOUT THE MONEY


I’ve written before that Jeffrey Berkowitz didn’t become rich by being stupid.  He’s worked hard and taken risks to be successful, and he’s been generous with his wealth.


My arguments aren’t so much about Berkowitz or his wealth, but about public  policy and process and about the results.


To begin with, we have the folks with General Growth Partners agreeing to do a deal with Berkowitz that involved City waterfront property, without having any discussions with the City prior to negotiating and signing a contract with him as to whether this deal might be the best or only use of this property.


The property after all is public property subject to voter approval prior to anything being built, and to lock the City into this deal - and do so as part of a renegotiation of their own contract that they’ve failed to honor over the years - is just one more indication of how this company views their ability to manipulate the City of Miami anyway they want.


That manipulation has been aided and abetted by the City at pretty much every step of the way, because above and beyond the issues raised in this story lies another story about how the Warrant allowing this deal was crafted in a way to evade having this entire deal go before Coordinated Review Committee (Section 7.1.2.4(c)(2)).


The City of Miami has been mismanaged for decades by incompetents, fools, schemers and outright thieves, and so many bad deals have been approved over the years, that it’s probably impossible for the City Commission at this point to make value judgments between a good and bad deal, because they don’t know what a good deal looks like.


Even claiming that this deal - the one involving Bayside Marketplace now being better than the previous deal - is a little like arguing that the ass whipping you got with a baseball bat is better than the ass whipping you got with a sledgehammer.


While the terms of the contract might be different, the people responsible for honoring it remain the same, and that’s always a problem when it comes to expecting different results from people with a history of screwing the City.


On the other hand, Jeffrey Berkowitz had made much of the claim that he intends to invest $30 million of his own money into Skyrise. What he hasn’t been willing to admit or reveal is how many millions he plans to make from this deal in developers fees, the management fees of  his EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program, as well as any other fees and monies he’ll start collecting if the voters approve this deal.


Now, THAT’S the really good deal, because for every dollar he puts in, he’ll be pulling out dollars for all of these fees, and even if the tower never gets a single visitor, he’s smart enough that he’ll be able to figure out how to walk away keeping ALL of his money and leaving the morons in the City claiming, “Damn, we never saw that coming!”


If the members of the Miami City Commission aren’t in Berkowitz’s pocket, or worse, the pocket of General Growth Partners, then they need to demand that these contracts be rewritten to provide both a better financial deal for the City, and for better protections, including real enforceable penalties against the kinds of abuses that were committed by General Growth Partners in the past.


Now is the time to renegotiate these contracts, and if they’re not, and this deal goes forward in its current form then there should be a Recall effort to remove some of these Commissioners for a failure to protect the public’s interest, and if Jeffrey Berkowitz objects and threatens the City Commission that he’ll walk away from this deal, then let him.  The City Commission cannot, and should not be making decisions on the basis of threats made by a developer.


That only reinforces the belief that Miami is a Banana Republic, and that,


It’s Miami, Bitches!

IT’S ALSO BEEN POINTED OUT TO ME THAT THE ONE THING THAT SEEMS TO SEPARATE ALL OF THE TOWERS THAT BERKOWITZ POINTS TO AS COMPETITORS OR COMPARISONS ARE COMMUNICATION TOWERS.



















ALL OF THESE TOWERS GENERATE A PORTION OF THEIR INCOME FROM PROVIDING TV, RADIO, AND OTHER ELECTRONIC TRANSMISSION SIGNALS, EVEN THE EIFFEL TOWER, YET BERKOWITZ SEEMS TO HAVE COMPLETELY IGNORED THIS VALUABLE REVENUE STREAM.

The best part was that I was told that Berkowitz whined and complained all the way through the negotiations to his pals Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado, County Mayor, and long time pal Carlos Gimenez, and to Danny Alfonso, the City Manager over the way he claimed he was being treated.


Given the final terms of the agreement, his whining could only be based on his believing that he should have been exempt from paying the City anything, because what the City got - if you accept Berkowitz’s projections regarding how successful this project will be - is actually far less than one of the City’s Appraiser’s came up with, much less what the City actually agreed to.

An additional source of unhappiness for Berkowitz was the requirement that this project had to go before the voters, and on several occasions during the last Commission meeting he revealed that unhappiness by complaining how the City Attorney’s Office had changed their position over the requirement to put the construction of the tower before the voters. That finally pissed City Attorney Victoria Mendez off, and she let him know it.