The City Government Has Dropped the Ball

3

The City will lose money on the proposed Hillstone/Wildflower lease.  It’s essentially a bad deal for taxpayers.  For forty-five years there is no option to renegotiate terms which provide for less than a 1% increase in rent per year.  We will be locked in.  

Let’s take a look back at another significant City negotiated endeavor – As great as Mizner Park is, it is a loser financially.  Mizner Park has lost twenty five million dollars for the City thus far during its lifetime. The Mizner Park lease is supposed to give the city 15% of net operating income. There are no details as to how that 15% is to be derived.

Financial audits, performed by an OUTSIDE auditor, which are a requirement of the lease, have not been performed. Who is responsible for enforcing the terms of the lease?  We would like an answer to that question.  Further, per the terms of the lease, GGP, the present owner of the buildings at Mizner Park, can exercise an option to buy the City owned land under the buildings.  What is the value of that land?  If the value is in anyway determined by the undervalued lease calculations, then the City would be shortchanged upon sale.

It is essential that an independent Audit be performed as required prior to any sale of Mizner Park land.  Without such evidence the result is a slick deal for GGP.  When our City enters into “Public – Private” relationships, it fails, as shown above.

We believe the City and its residents would have been better served had they hired a consultant to assist negotiating a more favorable lease.

Back to Hillstone – We request Mr. Ahnell, City Manager, show taxpayers how the numbers yield the more than thirty three million dollar profit forecasted over a forty-five year period after the city pays: commercial property taxes, expense of building docks, cost of maintenance and liability insurance for the docks and all other costs the public will demand in order to enjoy this property. See ‘It’s Your Money’ article.

Why must citizens take it upon themselves to review the Hillstone lease?  As illustrated by the comprehensive analysis in the above mentioned article, taxpayers will lose more than three hundred thousand dollars during the lease period.  There is no thirty three million dollar profit as promised.  If the City has the ability to hire consultants to do other work, like a fifty thousand dollar traffic study, why not use a qualified consultant to help the City get the best financial return?

Two quotes from the Sun Sentinel’s Editorial Page of July 3, 2016.

“The privatization of public lands handcuffs generations, essentially subjecting a community’s overarching vision to the profits of a developer”

“St. Petersburg leaders deserve recognition for creating and preserving multiple waterfront parks against the pressures of development”

Do we want a private brick and mortar restaurant blocking water access and view from the average citizen, and yielding a loss vs open creatively designed green space and recreation for people of every economic class to enjoy for generations?

Boca Raton parks preserve value for all property owners well into the future. People want to live in Boca Raton vs Ft. Lauderdale, Delray or Miami, in part due our quality parks and beaches.  Our home values exceed those of other communities in the state because of what Boca offers.  Don’t sell the assets that make Boca unique.

Citizens should not underwrite and pay for a restaurant or any business on publicly owned land.  Hillstone restaurants cater to those with higher incomes so a large segment of our population will not have access to property they own. In fact, the lease denies and limits public access.  With this lease, Hillstone puts profit over people.

Nancy and James Hendrey

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Nancy and James Hendrey arrived in Boca Raton 32 years ago as IBMers. From Hawaii to Dallas to Atlanta and Boca, for them, IBM meant "I've Been Moved". In 1988 they chose to leave IBM management and take an employee "buyout" and start their own business. Twenty-five years later they chose to retire and stay in place. "With our previous experience as teachers, sales professionals, product developers, advertising managers, small business owners and real estate developers, we both have unspent energy, especially when it comes to protecting the city we love."

3 COMMENTS

  1. After reading the above article I would certainly volunteer to be on a committee of peers to review the particulars of all leases the city has entered into since Mizner Park was first developed. There are a lot of questions to be asked and I am not sure all of the answers will be voluntarily given. The public is tired of back door negotiations. We want more transparency!
    There many important elections coming up and certainly the November one is paramount in our minds today BUT we should remember that there is another important election coming in March 2017. Let us remember that one too.

  2. When is a park not a park? Ring a bell? Like, when is a museum not a museum? The City is engaged in selectively changing the language used for the common folk to its imperious advantage. Now we learn at last nights Scott Singer’s always interesting and informative get-together, the proposed Comprehensive Waterfront Study dose not include the Wildflower property. Why? The Wildflower site can and will form the nucleus of an synergetic park system offering water taxi service to other parks along the waterfront thus opening up all the waterfront parks to new and old downtown residents and hotel visitors who will not need a car to visit the other waterfront parks but travel via the one thing that makes Boca Raton so special, it’s waterfront parks. It will be a real draw and creative use worthy of national attention. The Wildflower property must be included in any waterfront study to leave it out is deceitful.

  3. I was not able to attend Singer’s coffee talk. I have him on record at two previous events stating categorically that the 770 project was not a ‘done deal’ and I would have loved to hear him deny that a third time.

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