Friday, February 10, 2006

What's the Value of Sarasota?

According to John Simon of Pineapple Square a prime lot in downtown Sarasota is worthless. He reluctantly gave the city $1,000,000 for the lot appraised at $10,900,000 by a highly respected appraisal firm. But Simon continues to insist it has no value.

He also was able to convince four commissioners that it was worthless as they agreed with his assessment and brushed off the appraiser's valuation.

Mike Saewitz reports that "Simon originally didn’t want to pay $1 million for the lot — he wanted to pay nothing."

"Mayor Mary Anne Servian thinks Simon may be right about the lot’s value.

But Commissioner Lou Ann Palmer doesn’t understand how the State Street lot could be worth so little. It’s just a block from Main Street. “I just don’t agree that it’s valueless,” Palmer said."

What's he real answer? Commissioner Shelin says "The truth is always somewhere in the middle." Simon says: "[he] acknowledged the two vastly different opinions about the value of the State Street the lot — “the right one, and another one.”

Only the professional appraiser has the credentials, expertise and lack of financial interest in the project. No one has shown his methodology (the commonly used comparable sales method) to be inaccurate. So why do commissioners and Simon insist they know better?

Your guess is a good as mine. It would seem that a heavy dose of politics mixed with a slick sales pitch and topped with a bit of wanting something so badly that common sense was over ruled, resulted in tossing out the facts in favor of make believe.

Too bad the citizens of Sarasota are being forced to fork over $18,000,000+ of our property and cash with no explaination needed (or allowed). A little math shows this means every resident of Sarasota (all 55,000+ of us) will be donating over $300 each for this project. No explaination other than the business owners and most commissioners are enthralled by the project and were unwilling to negotiate a fair price.


Anonymous said...

If you were responsible for making a serious decision on behalf of other people (your constituents), on the issue of the value of property, and you had a certified appraisal on the one side, and an opinion on the other, it seems you would want to ask for a certified appraisal from both sides.Then, if the two appraisals did not indicate a fair negotiable price, you would require a third appraisal...from a company with experience in defending its results in court.This is not an unusual scenario.

Anonymous said...

Anyone who read the consultant's report to the commissioners would have had questions.A responsible person, challenged by the consequences of his actions, would have wanted to have substantiation for the unresolved questions raised by the consultants in the packet given to the commissioners.

Anonymous said...

So if Shelin believes that then why isn't the developer paying $5.5 for the State Street lot?

Anonymous said...

I can tell you that all the business people in downtown are not thrilled. Many were sold on the project but the deal the city just made was not made public and many spoke in support without knowing how bad the deal was to the city. People are still confused what is being asked for because no honest dialog is taking place, it is spin city when it comes to the commissioners comments or Simons presentations. Commissioners are puppets in this game and they do not even realize how they are being played!

Anonymous said...

How do you get the commissioners to be accountable for what they say and do not do. I find it horrible what Mayor Servian said in SRQ and then did not do with Pineapple Square. This is not acceptable from a commission that keeps discussing accountability!

Anonymous said...

The public should read the consultant's advice. Wonder which commissioner other than Lou Ann Palmer read the reports from the parking people and Mr. Abramson.