I guess nobody ever bothered to turn on a calculator and see what you’d get if you divided 23 million people by 365 days a year.  The answer is:


63,013.6 PEOPLE PER DAY


Now, I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I seriously doubt that 63 thousand people make their way through Bayside on any given day, or for that matter on any given week.


That’s a lot of people!  To understand


Just think of what the traffic congestion would really be like on Biscayne Boulevard if 63,000 people went to Bayside every day?


In fact if that figure was accurate, then as many people pass through Bayside every 13 days as go to the AAA Arena on an annual basis.

UPDATE: A reader suggested that I go search for the numbers associated with America’s top shopping malls, and I discovered that according to Travel+Leisure magazine, the 2nd most visited shopping mall in the country is Aventura with 28 million annual visitors and Sawgrass Mills, which came in 5th with 26 million visitors.


Now, I haven’t a clue what the actual number of daily visitors is, but I’ve spent enough time over the years going to Bayside to scout it as a location, to play tourist with my clients and recently to photograph some of the visible evidence of just how rundown the property has become that no matter what the actual number is, I would bet that a lot of folks don’t come back.


So, if the base number you’re using to calculate all of your projections isn’t accurate, then any and all projections based off of that number can’t be accurate either, and that makes me wonder how many other pieces of this jigsaw puzzle are predicated on bullshit and hustle?


I’m sure that I’ll probably be revisiting this finance issue with a lot more detail sooner or later, but think about that 63,013.6 number for a while, because as Johnny Cochran might say,





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THE PUBLIC’S INTEREST WAS NOT SERVED BY THE DDA ISSUING A LETTER OF SUPPORT FOR SKYRISE MIAMI IN JANUARY, AND WHAT THAT MIGHT MEAN FOR THE CITY COMMISSION VOTE TO APPROVE A RE-NEGOTIATED CONTRACT WITH BAYSIDE MARKETPLACE


The Downtown Development Authority (DDA) is an agency of the City of Miami. It’s Chairman is the District 2 City Commissioner. Individuals appointed to its board require the approval of the City Commission and it’s budget comes from ad valorem taxes that also requires City Commission approval.


In January of this year, well before there was any real information or knowledge of the state of the negotiations between the City and Bayside Marketplace and the actual agreement between Bayside Marketplace and Jeffrey Berkowitz - which is revealed publicly here for the first time - the DDA Board met, and after what can only have been a cursory and superficial presentation, voted to issue a Resolution supporting the Skyrise project.

CRESPOGRAM REPORT
MAY 19, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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Last year, when Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado commented that “Any deal in Miami is a bad deal,” in response to the revelation that the city was on the hook for the taxes on the parking lots at the Marlin’s Stadium, he was also articulating part of the mantra of developers who do business with the city.



                 Any deal in Miami that is a bad deal for the

               city, is a good deal for developers.



No better example of this exists than the agreement that Jeffrey Berkowitz entered into with Bayside Marketplace last year when they signed a land lease allowing Berkowitz to sub-lease a 2 acre portion of the property that Bayside leases from the City.


Much has been said, especially by Berkowitz about how his Skyrise Tower , “will NOT cost the City or its taxpayers anything.”


In fact, as I pointed out in PART II of this series last week, during the first 3 years of construction, the City’s Marina at Bayside will not only suffer a loss of anywhere between $700 - $800 hundred thousand in direct losses as a result of the construction, but the City’s Marina Manager estimated that in addition there could be a permanent losses of approximately $300,000 a year.


In the thousands of emails that the Crespogram Report has reviewed related to the negotiations between the City, Bayside Marketplace and Berkowitz Development Corporation there is evidence that the City expects Berkowitz to make good on those losses, especially the $700-$800 hundred thousand, but there is no evidence that Berkowitz has so far agreed to do so.


But that amount is chump change compared to the real losses that the City stands to suffer from the current deal. 


While Jeffrey Berkowitz is quick to claim that his Skyrise Tower “will NOT cost the City or its taxpayers anything,” what he fails to admit or acknowledge is that the City and it’s taxpayers will NOT receive any money from the deal that he and Bayside Marketplace have structured.


Back in 2012 and early 2013, when this deal was being negotiated and the sub-lease was signed, it would appear that both Berkowitz and Bayside Marketplace considered the Regalado administration to be little more than willing morons who would continue to go along with the one-sided deals that had started with the original contract between the City and Bayside in 1985.


This is self-evident in the proposal that Bayside put forth as their negotiation position in June of 2013, almost THREE MONTHS after they had signed off on the sub-lease with Berkowitz.

ANOTHER BAD DEAL FOR MIAMI
OF ALL THE BAD DEALS THAT MIAMI HAS BEEN SUBJECTED TO RECENTLY, THIS SKYRISE DEAL COULD BE THE ABSOLUTE WORST
PART III

1. Fixed ground rent (retail and garage) + minority fund payment: $2.25M with 5% bumps every 5 years


2. $5.0M upfront payment to the city upon financing


3. Major property renovation of $10.0M to be invested within 10 years


4. With the renovation, an extension of the ground lease through 2112 (99 years)


5. No transfer fee

What’s significant in this proposal is that there is no mention, or increase in payments to the City in the above proposal that reflects the amount of money that Bayside expected to receive from Berkowitz.


And what is that deal?  Here is the money portion of the deal.  The complete Sub-Lease Agreement can be found HERE.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to appreciate that if this deal goes through as currently structured, Bayside Marketplace and General Growth Partners would receive tens of millions of dollars in payments from Berkowitz’s company and NOT ONE PENNY of that money would go to the City of Miami and the taxpayers who own this waterfront property. The citizens would get screwed royally, and without the benefit of lubricant.


This is such a nasty deal for the City of Miami that you’ve got to believe that it was calculatingly done this way because there was every expectation that they believed they could get away with it, which in turn as I said above says a whole lot about the level of disrespect that General Growth Partners and their lawyers hold for the administration of Tomas Regalado.

The Resolution, like numerous letters and endorsements that Berkowitz has been acquiring from as many politicians as possible, is in someways like trying to get a pod of seals to slap their flippers together.


These letters are primarily intended to impress potential investors, much the blurbs on book covers are intended to entice potential readers into believing that the book is worth the purchase price.

If the Resolution had been issued AFTER the re-negotiation of the Bayside contract with the City had been completed and approved by the City Commission there would be relatively little harm in the DDA signaling their approval, but to do so BEFORE, raises a number of questions starting with the fact that Neisen Kasdin, one of the lawyers representing Jeffrey Berkowitz is the Vice Chairman of the DDA.


Kasdin represents a lot of folks - David Beckam and his soccer stadium is another one - who have projects seeking financial support from taxpayers and support from the DDA, and even though he properly recuses himself from the discussion and vote whenever one of his client’s projects comes before the DDA, the fact remains that the DDA Board is made up of an incestuous little clique of insiders who have been largely hand picked by the Chairman, Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff.


Many, if not most of the private sector members are openly, or rumored to have business interests that are deeply entwined with the decisions made by the DDA, and few, if any of the so-called presentations made before this group seeking their support include either hard information, or more importantly hard questions from the board members.


This is a group whose outside counsel is Jay Solowsky, who also happens to be  one half of Solowsky/Allen, the law firm where the DDA Chairman and Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is “Of Counsel.”

Having already voted to endorse Skyrise, how inclined will DDA Chairman and City Commissioner Sarnoff be inclined to vote against a bad re-negotiated contract with Bayside Marketplace, or worse to weaken the contract with one of his patented slight-of-hand deals where he pretends to be a champion of the people while screwing them royally.


Above all no one should EVER, EVER forget that Marc Sarnoff voted against the Marlin’s Stadium deal, only to come back an hour later and cast the deciding vote that allowed the Stadium deal to go forward by claiming that he didn’t want to be responsible for creating a “..cost overrun...”

HOW DOES JEFFREY BERKOWITZ PLAN TO SERVICE A $430 MILLION DEBT WITH A COUPLE RESTAURANTS, A COUPLE OBSERVATIONS DECKS, A NIGHTCLUB, A BALLROOM, A COUPLE MEETING ROOMS AND A COUPLE THRILL RIDES

I make no claim to be savvy in the math or mechanics of high-finance, but I do know how to add and subtract, and more importantly, I know how to use a calculator, which is something that seems to be beyond what passes for the business press in this City.


The success of Skyrise succeeding is largely predicated on the claim made by Berkowitz in his various proposals, and by Bayside Marketplace on their website that their facility is a destination for “over 23 million annual visitors” with the implication being that with all of those millions of people passing through Bayside, the Tower, it’s observation deck, thrill rides and restaurants are bound to lure enough bodies to finance this venture.

If the numbers don’t jive, then don’t go on the ride!

A review of the thousands of emails that I was provided indicates that there is an effort to try to insure that the City’s doesn’t get screwed, or at least get as screwed as badly as they’ve been screwed ever since the original contract with Bayside Marketplace was implemented, but the question is how strong a stand is the Regalado administration willing to take if it results in the Skyrise project failing to make it on the ballot in time for the November election.


I’ll be addressing some of those issues in the Chapters to come.


It’s Miami, Bitches!


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