CRESPOGRAM REPORT
NOVEMBER 10, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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Today, almost everyone believes that developer Jeffrey Berkowitz is the man responsible for the design of Skyrise Miami, and that the inspiration to build this vertical amusement park next to Bayside Marketplace was all his.


Not true.


Some time before 2008,a guy named Luis D’Agostino, then president of a company called High Point Energy, came up with the idea for this tower which he originally called Solar Universe.


In 2010, a number of websites including Miami Urban Life, did stories about Solar Universe describing it as a cutting edge, tower that would mix “recreation, education, technology and energy” within one building.


OLD SITEORIGINAL_SITE.html
ANOTHER BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI
BEFORE IT WAS CALLED SKYRISE, THIS TOWER WAS CALLED SOLAR UNIVERSE.  HOW IT WENT FROM A SOLAR AND WIND TURBINE ENERGY PROJECT TO A VERTICAL AMUSEMENT TOWER IS SHROUDED IN MYSTERY, BUT HOWEVER IT HAPPENED,  YOU’LL  AGREE THAT IT DEFINITELY HAS INGREDIENTS TO MAKE IT A MIAMI 
KIND OF STORY 
PART XXIV

As the description above states, the original design was based on the concept of form following function.

The tower was intended to be a self-sustaining, energy generating building that would be able to provide nearby properties with the excess energy that this building produced.

To generate this excess energy, the renderings of the tower submitted to the City as part of the application for a Warrant revealed that it was going to be a giant tower with 11 wind turbines on its Eastern side, and a collection of  solar panels covering the1000 foot southern face of the tower.  

How this project went from a being “cutting edge” design involving solar and wind power, to a vertical amusement park, and how the City of Miami Planning Department in 2010 issued a Class II Special Permit, after the project was initially rejected by the Urban Development Review Board by a vote of 5 to 1, appears to be just another It’s Miami, Bitches! kind of story that we’ll probably never get to the bottom of.


Like I said, the tower was the brainchild of Luis D’Agostino, who was definitely thinking outside the box when he came up with this idea, and I don’t know when D’Agostino first got his idea for this solar/wind turbine tower - D’Agostino did not reply to several phone calls I made in an effort to talk to him about all of the issues surrounding his involvement with this project - but by 2008 he had gotten far enough along to hire a fellow named J. Frederic Blitstein, as a consultant to promote the project for the princely sum of $500,000, “payable in monthly installments of $16,000,” and to get the various permits needed to build this Solar Universe Tower.


In researching Blitstein, I discovered that like so many folks in Miami, he too had a rather interesting history as reported in Miami New Times.

“This is not the first time Blitstein has been involved in environmental run-ins. In 1990 crews clearing land for a marina and condominium illegally bulldozed 1900 mangroves on Dumfounding Bay in Aventura. Calling the incident "the largest mangrove destruction case in Dade County history," veteran DERM inspector Robert Karafel told the Miami Herald that Blitstein had admitted ordering the bulldozing in his capacity as a project overseer for the developer, Glendale Federal Bank. Blitstein denied the charge. (In the end, Glendale Federal agreed to replant some 18,000 mangroves at the site of the bulldozing, as well as 1400 other trees and shrubs at a separate locale; the bank also picked up DERM's administrative costs for the imbroglio.)”

Records show that over the years Blitstein has gone by numerous first names including J. Frederic, Joshua, Fred J., J.F., Joseph, Joseph Frederic, Frederic J. and about a half dozen other name variations.


Although he was hired as a consultant, records show that he was also adept at making sure that his name appeared on all of the applications in a way that seemed to imply that he was a principal in the company and not a hired consultant.  


In this way he managed to be named as the applicant/recipient of the FAA Clearance letter, as well as the subsequent extension letter which was sent to his personal address in Key Biscayne, and the expiration of which was cited by Jeffrey Berkowitz as the reason for his need to drill on the Bayside Marketplace property to insert 3 pilings last May, even before the City Commission had voted to approve the contract for this tower to be built.

In April of 2012, D’Agostino sold the rights to Solar Universe LLC to Jeffrey Berkowitz, who first changed the name to Skyhigh Miami, and then in August of 2013, he changed it to Skyrise Miami.


And what happened to J. Frederic Blitstein?


Getting fired by D’Agostino, like being accused of being the biggest Mangrove Killer in the county, didn’t seem to have any negative impact on Blitstein’s employment prospects, because thanks to his having his name on the FAA application it seems that he was able to parlay that into a job with Berkowitz Development Corporation continuing to represent Skyrise Miami.


This all came into clear focus last week when I started collecting documents related to the two Skyrise Resolutions that were presented to the Miami-Dade County Commission.


In addition to the request for the $9 million in economic development money, a second Resolution was submitted requesting a Class I Permit to allow Berkowitz to park 4, 80-120 foot barges along the Bayside seawall for the next 4 years during the construction of the Tower.


The applicant and authorized permit agent turned out to be J. Frederic Blitstein.

I came into this information late and was never able - because the guy who had issued the permit had retired and I couldn’t track down anyone else in the FAA willing to talk to me - to clarify whether the issuance of this permit to Blitstein, and not to Jeffrey Berkowitz and/or Berkowitz Development Corporation was legal, since the design had drastically changed from a solar and wind turbine energy project to a vertical amusement tower.


Blitstein also managed in June of 2010, to be named as the recipient of the City of Miami Planning Department’s Class II Special Permit allowing construction of this tower.

In October of 2011, after the Warrant from the City and the FAA letter were issued in his name, Luis D’Agostino fired Blitstein.

In a time of constant change, it’s interesting to see that J. Frederic Blitstein weathered adversity and still has his hand in the game.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

Blitstein’s contract reveals that Paragraph 7 required him not to bad mouth D’Agostino, which it would appear he did to the point of getting fired.