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.