Thursday, November 3, 2011

Click here for special City Commission meeting on the casino tenant leases (11/3)

Click title for live audio stream. Commissioner Maxwell is trying to get the entire meeting rescheduled to a future date since there was so much material added to the packet after Friday. He has made a motion, and it dies for a lack of a second. They need to make a motion to waive the rules to consider the additional information that was not available five to seven days prior to the meeting. They are now trying to quantify what exactly was added. One of the items was a side-by-side comparison of all of the leases. Mulvehill made the motion to waive the rules, Maxwell seconded it for discussion.  Maxwell is asked why this is being rushed.  Mulvehill says that they have a full house and they are ready to go so the time is now.  Golden says that no one needs to vote for any of the leases tonight.  McVoy understands Maxwell's concern, we can go ahead and make it "informational" and not vote on it.  He also says that we don't want a building that is completed without tenants in it.  Maxwell says that it seems that the important decisions made in this city are made in the eleventh hour and we are going to sit here for four and five hours not having all the information or new information.  Waterman confirms that they are having the same conversation they had two weeks ago, but they had a lot of questions then and some of them have been answered in this material.  She wants some time limits perhaps - wants to productively use the time they have.

Maxwell withdraws his second.  Waterman asks if that means that Maxwell is leaving - since he said he didn't want to be a part of this.  Mulvehill's motion stands and Golden seconds it anew.  Maxwell was the only dissenting vote.  Now they are on to McVoy's request.  McVoys broker, Sussman, cannot be there until 6:30 p.m. and only deals with the north end of the building.  There are re-ordering the agenda to deal with the leases first.

Margoles is reviewing the leases and is talking about operating hours and how Johnny Longboats serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, with a 2 a.m. closing.  There are differences in the leases since there are different tenants and different businesses.

(I'm listening on line from home - planned on going to the meeting, but things got a little busy this afternoon.  Feel free to comment if you are listening too. By the way, I think they need to state - again - that the entities they are considering contributed to their campaigns - if not a complete list of all of them, they should refer to their previous declarations.)

Waterman wants to deal with the lease with Kilwin's since there were no issues with it.  She wants that first.  Maxwell is pointing out that there are things missing in the lease and staff should have taken care of that prior to the meeting.  Carr is answering questions about the "final financing" and that won't happen until the project is finished.  He is referring to the PFM Group memo - he is saying that is a secondary issue.  He says that they - the final creditors - will look at the financial capabilities of the city as a whole, since this is a new project and it is considered speculative.  The City will have to pledge some sort of revenue toward payment of that loan - but the revenues will be the ones that will be paying the construction cost off - but that revenue stream is currently committed to other functions (this is where I have a problem with this scenario.)

Golden thinks that the turtles will be disturbed by 2 a.m. closing hours and the lighting required.  ERM will have ultimate review.  McVoy wonders if there is anything in the lease that would be conflict with ERM about closing hours if things change.  He thinks there is an uncertain element.  He thinks its international law.  Now he thinks it might be a sound issue that will bother the turtles, not the lights.  McVoy says that they are averse to law suits around here - eh hem.  Babble, babble, babble...he wants to give the city the ability to change the hours of operation if things change or if it becomes a problems.  Golden is now insisting that sound is also a concern related to the turtles.

Stanton is saying that giving the city the unilateral ability to change important conditions of the lease, that would impact the business plans for the various tenants and it would require a re-look at the basic business plan.  She is saying that it is a commercial building in a city park, and McVoy doesn't like that.  He thinks it is a park first.  In talking about language about the lease allowing for the city to enforce all of its laws, the City Attorney said that there are no guarantees in law.  Encouraging.  Golden is talking about the opening and closing of doors that would let light out that wouldn't be protected by turtle glass.  They are talking about about different operating hours during turtle nesting season.  Turtle season is May 1st through October 31st - outside of the traditional south Florida tourist season - fyi.

Waterman brings the conversation back to the Kilwin's lease.  McVoy is wondering how many of the five proposed tenants that hours of an operation are an issue.  Margoles responds that for the food service tenants - three of the five.  McVoy wants the issue "un-linked" from the 2 a.m. issue.  He says that other people have talked to him about hours of operations issues beyond the impact to turtles.  Maxwell thinks it may be best to have two sets of hours based on food service versus retail.  He is also concerned that the lease does not require them to be open to a certain time, which would be a negative.  He says there is an expectation that a certain tenant would be open till 9, and they close at 7, there are going to be people that are disappointed.  Mulvehill goes to Carvel - we seem to have an ice cream loving Commission.  Their hours changed recently.  Waterman says if there is a problem, the city can change the rules if it wants to.  Mulvehill says that people will call city hall and tell on businesses that aren't open.

Stanton says that the businesses need to have certainty and not be subject to the "highs and lows" of Lake Worth politics.  Good point Susan!  How do you like your job now?  Waterman is not saying that this is not allowing for the "whims of the foolish."  Golden asks if we had closing hours at eleven p.m. during turtle season would be lose tenants.  Broker Snitkin responds, yes two would not want to go forward.  He says that we can make it work.  (He didn't know the true period for turtle season, which you would think he would know by now if he is dealing with these leases in this building.)

Mulvehil is making a motion on the Kilwins' lease, with some amendments regarding following city laws and some language that ERM is requiring.  Plus, no polystyrene and plastic bags.  Waterman wants to know if that applies to "gift bags."  They are saying that they can restrict it through leases, but not through city ordinances according to state law.  Now they are talking about "gift bags."  McVoy thinks a bag is a bag.  This is getting ridiculous.  Waterman doesn't want to be too restrictive. Golden seconds the motion.  Public comment on Kilwin's.  Lynn Anderson is all over the 2 a.m. closing and thinks it changes the whole flavor of the beach, that they should close at a reasonable hour.  Lynda Mahoney says the closing should be 11 p.m. and that turtles are sensitive to many things, not just light.  She is talking about changing the closing hours for alcohol sales to an earlier hour - citywide.  Mary Lindsey, sides with the city manager and says that the Commission should step way back and realize that this is a commercial business plan.  She also points out that this item has gone past the 30 minute for this to go to a workshop, she is afraid that Kilwin's is gonna walk and she is still waiting for an answer where this money to build the building is coming from.

McVoy says a 2 a.m. closing is changing the character of what goes on up there - he is saying there needs to be clarity and he thinks they need to resolve it.  He thinks there should be some consistency, he wants to decide on hours and say that 12 a.m. is the closing time - let's get it done now.  People need to know what they are getting into.  Maxwell says that the leases needs to be set up so that the city doesn't have the ability in the future to tinker with it.  He thinks we need to step back  - he says it's o.k. to make a mistake, but it's not o.k. to defend it.  Golden says that if they approve the Johnny Longboat lease to  2 a.m., they are all going to want to stay open until 2 a.m.  She is saying 12 a.m. at the most and 11 p.m. during turtle season.  Mulvehill is disclosing her contributors again - it is like they are reading this, which it really seems that they are.  Now they are talking about deciding these all at one time - and they are talking about setting firm hours as an issue.  Mulvehill hears the concerns and that some businesses are going to have different closing hours. Motion fails 1 - 4 with Mulvehill the only one for it.  Waterman is now saying they should workshop on it, and that Kilwin's was not supposed to be contentious, they have talked two hours already.  Stanton says they have to re-visit the business model, they have stopped construction due to the uncertainty regarding the nature of the use of the second floor.  All of these will be work-shopped in the future.  Mulvehill says that the second floor of the Riviera Beach Johnny Longboat's location is vacant - that we need to go on and doesn't see second floor stand alone businesses as being viable.  Vote was 4-1, with Mulvehill dissenting.

They are now going back to item 2(a) and this is McVoy's broker that he is bringing in.  He thinks he will have the answers about how to make it commercial without changing the character of the beach.  He is now saying 11 p.m. should be the closing.  He likes quieter and nicer dining on the upper floor with spectacular views east and west.  Mr. Sussman has experience in creating restaurants and we don't want to be in a position that the building is empty.  He thinks that there are restaurants that would want this unique location.  Mr. Sussman says that this is a last minute request.  He says that restaurants are a theater-like experience.  He thinks that this location is exceptional and would not apply to the rule that restaurants do poorly on the second floor.  He thinks its a spectacular location.  "The view is drop-dead fantastic."  There is an opportunity to "raise the bar."  He thinks that you need to put something "iconic" there.  He thinks they aren't giving the location its due - he does not have a tenant in his pocket.  He says that they have to step back and see if there is a tenant out there that would met those criteria.  He says after the first one fails, it hard to get a winner later.

No comments, other than McVoy thanking him.  He is repeating what the guy says now.  He wanted to get some pictures from up there and didn't want to trespass. It would work financially and meet the other requirements.  Golden is throwing a wreath at Mr. Sussman's feet.  Public comment now.  Lawrence McNamara points out that there are Palm Beach restaurants in a stand alone location that are successful and could make it here.  Gentrification anyone?

It's 8:15 p.m. now and they are wrapping up.  I am signing off for now.  Comment away.