Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Sardonicism: No better way to describe Cara Jennings at the meeting held by Hudson Holdings

Here is a quote from Cara Jennings from the recent article in The Palm Beach Post about the Hudson Holdings meeting on Monday 8/24:
     Speaking for some in the audience, former Commissioner Cara Jennings said she doesn’t want Hudson Holdings to have anything to do with the casino.
     “What’s it going to take for Hudson Holdings to stop pursuing this project?” she asked. “We don’t want expanded development on the beach.”
Sardonicism with a healthy dose of irony would be a more apt description. If it weren't for the inept and bungled efforts by a previous commission there would have been no reason for the meeting by Hudson Holdings in the first place. Or put it another way: the reason why we're having a debate about the failed Casino complex is because of those such as former commissioner Cara Jennings. But there she was in attendance in her shrine to incompetence.

Here is the reason the future of the Casino complex and pool is being discussed:
Once again, here is a partial list of the problems with the Casino complex that the current city commission is tasked with fixing (note that these issues don't address the municipal pool—a totally separate issue):
  • The whole project was premised on "saving the building." The building was 94% demolished
  • Virtually all "Green Environmental" amenities were eliminated, including pilings to protect the building against storm surge (and sea level rise which is a concern for many), against an untested seawall
  • The original Request for Proposal (RFP) was a "remodel" of a 2nd floor ballroom covering one-half (50%) of the ground floor (shops and John G's restaurant [now in Manalapan])
  • There was no commission approval to expand the RFP scope to include a 2nd floor covering 100% of the ground floor (shops and restaurant)
  • Adding 33% to the project size within the $6 million budget was unrealistic and created major deficiencies: quality and functionality
  • The original rainwater collection system was eliminated; and designs changes were not done to allow for that function in the future. Remember the continual mention of a "cistern system"?
  • Acoustic treatments, event office space, and additional storage were eliminated from the final plans
  • The Ballroom built-in wiring for video and sound access/convenience were eliminated. (In fact, the ballroom, kitchen and bathrooms on the second floor are all on one circuit. People are advised not to bring blenders to events since using them has been known to blackout the entire second floor during an event)
  • The exterior balconies have poor/reversed drainage causing water to flow towards the second floor rooms resulting in flooding during heavy rain events (like a hurricane, tropical storm or thunderstorm)
  • Inferior doors and windows allow water intrusion along with rusting and corroding hardware
  • Rainwater from the roof and balconies drains directly onto the sidewalk over any pedestrians that happen to be nearby (such as when waiting for a pickup or making a delivery [for which there is no designated space])
  • Rainwater draining off the roof and balconies damages the awnings, produces mold (particularly on the decorative cast stone), and creates more building maintenance issues
  • Removal of a water booster pump to get pressure to 2nd floor fire sprinklers was eliminated. The City then had to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to increase the main water line loop around entire beach site. Then larger water meters were installed incurring additional monthly charges. Cost was passed onto site work budget. Water comes from the Palm Beach water system which is West Palm Beach water
  • Air conditioning of exterior covered walkways, elevators, and stairs was eliminated. This would have protected the interior of the structure from corrosive salt water (and protected visitors from hot temperatures and inclement weather)
  • The eliminated amenities, or "value engineering" if you like, reduced the cost but resulted in lower lease rates, event rates, and contributed greatly to un-leased second floor space
This Casino complex was constructed using borrowed money that the City is having difficulty paying back. Sobering isn't it?