CRESPOGRAM REPORT
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
ARCHIVES2014_ARCHIVES.html

CONTACTCONTACT.html

RETURNSPLASH_PAGE.html

SERIESSERIES.html

VIDEOSVIDEOS.html

TWITTERhttps://twitter.com/crespogram

OLD SITEORIGINAL_SITE.html
WITH THE COUNTY COMMISSION POISED TO RE-VOTE ON THE $9 MILLION IN TAXPAYER MONEY FOR THIS SKYRISE PROJECT ON TUESDAY, HERE ARE A COUPLE MORE ISSUES YOU’LL NOT READ ABOUT IN THE MIAMI HERALD
PART XXVII
ANOTHER BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI

Much has been said about the efforts of Jeffrey Berkowitz to get $9 million in economic development money from Miami-Dade County to pay for “public infrastructure” associated with the construction of his Skyrise Miami Tower.


Here are some items that no one, especially the Miami Herald has bothered to look at, much less report on.



THE AMOUNT OF IMPACT FEES THAT THE SKYRISE TOWER WILL BE PAYING


This project has been touted as a “game changer” by Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, and that’s the reason why he claims it deserves $9 million in taxpayer money.


Among the reasons why it has been proclaimed a “game changer” are the claims that this project will generate over 6000 construction jobs, and anywhere between 500 - 900 permanent jobs.  I addressed the issue of the wages of those jobs in my November 24th story, (that I’ve reposted below this story,) but no matter how many permanent jobs are, or or not created, the total number of people coming into downtown every week to build this tower and then staff it are going to be considerable.


In addition are the claims that 3.2 million people are expected to visit this tower just in it’s first year of operation, and that the numbers are supposed to increase every year after that.


If 3.2 million people actually do show up that will mean a daily average of 8,767 people will be coming into downtown on top of all the other people that show up daily to work, play or sightsee.


These are significant numbers, and clearly represent a major impact on traffic congestion, parking and other city and county services, services that you would expect the developer to help pay for through Impact Fees.


Not so.


This is the amount of Impact Fees that this “game changing” project is paying the City of Miami, as per a public records request.


Impact Fees: $92,307

Downtown DRI Fees: $248,945

Total: $341,252


This is the amount of Impact Fees that this “game changing project” will be paying Miami-Dade County.

-0-

The reason I was told why the Skyrise Tower is not paying any Impact Fees to Miami-Dade County has to do with the DRI fees that the project is paying to the Miami Downtown Development Authority, and because the building is not a condo.  If it was a condo tower it would pay Impact Fees to the county.

Does this seem fair or equitable?  Berkowitz wants $9 million in county taxpayer money, and yet he’s only paying a total of $341,252 in Impact Fees to the City of Miami for all the confusion and congestion that his project is going to create in downtown Miami.


HOW MANY VISITOR NIGHTS DID YOU SAY?

Jeffrey Berkowitz claims that he expects 3.2 million people to visit his tower on it’s first full year, and of that number, 2.8 million he has claimed will be ticket paying customers going to the Observation Decks.

As part of the Resolution submitted by the Gimenez administration to the County Commission the number of visitor nights that Berkowitz claimed, and the county accepted, will be generated because of people visiting this tower will be 2.8 million.

If you take this number at face value, it pretty much supposes that a very sizable portion of those 3.2 million people will first of all be from out of town, and more importantly, they will have come to Miami for the exclusive reason of wanting to visit this Observation Deck.


You really got to wonder how people come up with these bullshit numbers. Here’s what I mean.


In 2011, the latest year I could find online, the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau reported that 13,075,200 visitor nights were racked up by visitors.  Now, we know that this number continues to increase, so let just say for argument sake and to make this simple, that by the time that the Tower is built the number of visitor nights is up to 17,000,000. 


The additional 2.8 visitor nights that Berkowitz is claiming will occur as a result of people coming to visit his Tower would have to be considered as new visitor nights above and beyond those 17 million visitors. If we go with 17,000,000 million total visitor nights, then Berkowitz’s 2.8 million visitor nights would represent an additional 16.4% increase in hotel and motel room rentals directly related to visitors to his Tower.


How impossible is that?  Well, consider that in 2011, the TOTAL increase in visitor nights was 8.8%. 


I believe that it is the height of arrogance to assume that 2.8 million visitor nights can be attributed solely to people coming to Miami to visit this Observation Deck and Vertical Amusement Tower, instead of a visit to this tower being part of a larger set of experiences and adventures that people might be coming to Miami to experience.


Very few people get on a plane and go to Paris just to visit the Eiffel Tower, they go to Paris, and maybe visit the Eiffel Tower.  The same goes for the Empire State Building in New York, or the Tokyo Skytree in Tokyo or any of the other observation towers around the world.


2.8 million room nights is an astronomical number to claim will be the direct result of people visiting this Tower, even if they take in all of the other activities, eat in the restaurant, and boogie in the nightclub


Also keep in mind that on or before Berkowit’z SKYRISE Tower opens, Tibor Hollo’s Panorama Condo Tower will also be featuring an Observation Deck, thereby making 2 Observation Decks available to residents and visitors.


THE NEIGHBORS ARE REALLY PISSED


At the November 5th County Commission meeting, Commissioner Audrey Edmonson explained why she was voting against the $9 million dollar request by saying that she had heard from her constituents, and that they were pissed - my word, not her’s - about the construction of the Skyrise Tower.


Here is the resolution that was passed by the Downtown Neighbors Alliance and that the Commissioner referenced.

The only problem with Berkowitz’s explanation was that according to the Miami City Attorney, it wasn’t true.


Berkowitz had made the same claim before the Miami City Commission back in June, and after the second time he complained to the Commissioners about being forced to take this item before the voters, Victoria Mendez, the Miami City Attorney interrupted and told him the following.

Sometimes the truth gets in the way of a good story, especially when you can blame someone else for making you do something that you didn’t want to do to begin with.


THE FAULTY LOGIC OF MIAMI-DADE MAYOR CARLOS GIMENEZ


At the November 5th County Commission meeting, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez offered the following rationale for why the citizens of Miami should not object to the County’s efforts to give Berkowitz this $9 million in economic development money.

Not surprisingly, the Mayor failed to mention that when Berkowitz’s tried to get state funds, the request for $10 million was reduced to $2 million then the legislative allocation was vetoed by the Governor as being a Turkey.


Gimenez’s argument is bogus because the citizens of Miami were neither in 2002, or now, provided with an opportunity to vote on whether they would approve issuing bonds to pay for expenses related to the Skyrise Tower.


What the citizens of Miami were asked to vote on in August was whether they would agree to allow construction of this Tower on city property as long as there was no public money involved, and that is what they voted to support.


The issue that the Mayor of Miami and a number of citizens has raised is the intention of the county to try and force them to pay for bonds for supposed infrastructure improvements on a project that they were told would not involve public money.


Additionally these infrastructure costs are ones that the Berkowitz the developer and Bayside Marketplace contractually and verbally agreed to pay for themselves.


That’s the real key to this issue. Jeffrey Berkowitz told the Miami City Commission that he would pay for the Baywalk.  Here is the video of him saying that.

Now Berkowitz wants the taxpayers in the City of Miami to pay for Batwalk.


The record shows that General Growth Partners, the company that manages Bayside Marketplace and/ or Berkowitz also agreed to cover the costs for moving the utilities, moving the Miami Marina Office, paying for garage improvements, and several of the others items for which public bond money is now being requested. 


The issue is not about whether the citizens of Miami would prefer to see any portion of the Project 124 bond money spent on projects within the city limits. That’s a grossly misleading question because many citizens living within every city or municipality in Miami-Dade County would chauvinistically be expected to support the expenditure of public money for prospective projects being located within their city or municipality.


The right question is whether after having been sold on a campaign that claimed the Tower was going to be totally financed by the project’s developer - never once revealing publicly to any of those voters that there was an application sitting on the County Mayor’s desk for county money,  that the Mayor of Miami-Dade County would now ask the County Commission to issue bonds that will in fact require those same citizens of Miami to make bond payments to cover some of the costs associated with this project.


And the elephant in the room that everyone sees, but that no one really wants to talk about, is that not only is this request unsupportable on the basis of the previous statements and commitments to pay for these costs with private money, but that given the relationship between the Carlos Gimenez and Jeffrey Berkowitz, is this attempt really about funding infrastructure, or a way to transfer $9 million in public money to his friend and political benefactor as a holiday gift so as to prime the EB-5 pump?


It’s Miami, Bitches!

DECEMBER 15, 2014

BLAMING IT ON THE MIAMI CITY ATTORNEY


At the November 5th County Commission meeting Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz invited Jeffrey Berkowitz to explain why the issue of the tower had to go before a vote by the citizens of Miami.


Here was his response.

THE EB-5 IMMIGRANT VISA PROGRAM HAS BECOME A MAGNET FOR ALL KINDS OF PROJECTS THAT NO ONE WOULD PITCH TO AMERICAN INVESTORS.  HERE’S A CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF ONE PITCH THAT WENT AFTER CHINESE MONEY, AND WHY SOME CHINESE INVESTORS MIGHT BE LOOSING THEIR ENTHUSIASM FOR SOME OF THESE  DEALS.

CLICKhttp://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/chinese-investors-in-failed-s-d-beef-plant-may-be/article_8f60a90e-3e48-5c67-85bf-a7eeeca9e94e.html