Monday, February 06, 2006

Pineapple at City Hall

Today the City Staff made their presentation and the Isaac Group made their pitch.

The term sheet differences were outlined - basically the planning staff believes that the deal is tilted toward the developer side.

An interesting report was given by the city's parking consultant. This analysis showed that the proposed Pineapple Square project additions for downtown (retail, condos, etc), and taking into consideration the 1064 total parking spaces proposed for the building, the net result will be a deficit of 213 parking spaces.

In other words, after all is said and done, the parking situation will be worse downtown. New residents and shoppers will consume all the new spaces and will be looking for an additional 213 spaces. By their questioning, it was apparent that several Commissioners did not want to believe this. After the session the developer's attorney was complaining to Commissioner Palmer that is was unfair to hold the developer to a "new standard".

For this, the developer wants the city to give them in excess of $18,000,000 in land and cash.

No decision was made. The discussion was continued until Tuesday at 1PM.

Many participants indicated that the "lobbying" pressure was more than they had experienced in a long time, if ever. The business interests were out in force with stickers indicating: I "heart" Pineapple Square.

Several comments were heard afterwards along the lines of "Sarasota has a reputation of giving away anything the developers want," as they shook their heads.


Anonymous said...

I guess what I have such a hard time with is that whenever the members of the general public, which stand to benefit in no way monetarily from a decision, show up at a meeting, they are depicted as being rabblerousers, emotional, forcing the decision they wish from the commissioners.

However, the same standard is not being applied when the business community shows up in force, with highly paid consultants and certainly with monetary benefits to gain from a decision in their favor.

Good for the business community for showing up in force; but, also, good for the citizens when they show up in force. Decrying the appearance at meetings of just one group (private citizens) makes it appear some are more equal than others.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

I am sure the developers of Main Plaza used a similar approach. They promised to expand the "retail sector." Main Plaza has plenty of parking in area of ample foot traffic and an arcade like passageway, BUT it has been a black hole for every retail establishment that has opened there. Even Crispers died there. Our elected stewards should not just assume that this idealized Pineapple Square project will be a retail-business-promoting panacea. The cost for the city is just too high and the confluence of factors that must occur before this project is a success is too tenuous. First, the city has to give away a street, a parking lot, and an exorbitant payment for a few parking spots. Then, the developer actually has to attract real businesses to the site, not just to drop names. Any business practicing due diligence should be hesitant to commit to this project--given the unsuccessful precedent of Main Plaza. Finally, the whole project has to work financially. All one can say is: "Plaza Verde, Plaza Verde, Plaza Verde."

Mary Anne Servian said...

I would welcome anonymous 9:25 and 9:47 to come to my office and perhaps reveal themselves. It is very easy to hide behind anonymous. Yes I am transparent in all that I do that is good thing so all can hear and see what I do....I have spent my life in banking and finance and fully understand this deal. I also spent many many hours with our staff on this and only after weighing the costs and the benefits was I able to come to the conclusion to move forward.
Please come out from behind the safety of anonymous and step into the light as I have.
Mary Anne Servian

Anonymous said...

Bravo for you Mayor Servian,

I always knew how you would vote- keep up the good work!

SOS1 said...

I removed two comments from this post because they were derogatory in nature and targeted (in part) at individuals.

Discussion of the issues, whether you agree or disagree with the author is welcomed. Derogatory remarks aimed at individuals is not.

The issue of anonymity also comes up on occasion. We encourage people to be open. We also rcognize that some would rather remain anonymous for a reason and that is OK.

I note that the other two blogs that host discussion of these and similar issues
(Sarasota City Manager and BurnSquare) also request that people identify themselves.

Dick Clapp

Anonymous said...

So am I to understand form Mayor Servians comments that she is enlightened? Maybe along with her life spent in finance she could spend a little time in humility. Anonmity works very well for those that risk a political fall out for speaking their mind. Some of us have known for a long time how you felt about this project, and it is rather disgusting for you to now claim that you weighed anything other than counting the seconds before you voted,

Mayor Servian. I would have to agree with the former bloggers- someone may at sometime actually take you and your poltical future serious- but only when you stop talking out of both sides of your mouth.