Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Heard about the City Commission settlement for the Casino at the Beach?

Are you wondering why the Casino structure still does not have a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). It’s been a Temporary CO ever since the new Casino was constructed. Heard about the seawall? Wondering why people are concerned that this settlement is not in the City’s best interest?

Use this link to read more about what happened last night:
One of the lines was, “at no cost to the city”. What about all the lost revenue for all these years because the 2nd floor was not leased?

Below is a blog post from the archives that will try and explain a lot about this situation.

Back in 2011 the mantra from a previous administration in the City of Lake Worth was SAVING the former Casino structure from demolition, along with the promise that all the existing tenants could stay during the ‘reconstruction’. This ‘rehabilitation’ myth continued until it was finally debunked on this blog.

Photo of the Casino construction site in August 2011.
Above is what was actually “saved” after all of the debris was cleared away.

This video from April 2010 may bring
back some memories.

The City’s ‘team’ worked the calculation to determine whether this project represented a “substantial improvement” and came up with a valuation scheme that put the “new building” below 50%: the threshold after which the building would have to meet current code standards. You can read about the implications of that using this link.

Photo from December 2011:
East side of current Ballroom. This side of the ‘renovated’ structure is where most of the
water leaks are.

The long and short of this is that since a previous administration chose to build in exactly the same spot as the original building, to give the perception that it was a “rehabilitation, now calls into question whether the $6 million investment is adequately protected by the existing seawall or “armoring device” as the Florida Building Code refers to it.

This meant the time and expense to do an exhaustive study was needed by a certified engineer that actually evaluated whether or not the seawall qualifies as that armoring device. Also, by shutting down creativity and the problem-solving, that made it impossible to look at other locations on the site, and risking a site plan that could have been more functional.

This is what is being heard now — complaints about adequate parking for delivery and emergency vehicles, the pattern of traffic in the upper parking area, the long walk up the dune for the elderly and families — among other issues.

Another photo from 2011.
Retail area on the ground floor.

Second Floor looking south. Lovely renovation, no?

Second Floor looking west. All new construction.

A previous plan by Greater Bay — never approved or officially reviewed — had the building in the center of the property along with a parking deck. Think of the unobstructed view of the Atlantic Ocean as you crest the bridge east towards the Beach! Unfortunately, now we have a walled-off view and a structure still without a CO next to the Atlantic Ocean.

A parking deck would have provided needed shade for beach-goers and consolidate asphalt/concrete to allow for more green space. But no parking deck was ever considered for the Casino structure we have now. And a lot of other features were also “value-engineered” out of the final product. That’s called “Greenwashing.

Now fast-forward to 2015.

A WPTV news crew showed up when reports were coming in the Casino was flooding.

[Note that water leakage prevented this space on the 2nd floor from being leased to a tenant. Will City of Lake Worth ever recover that lost revenue?]
Inside the second floor during a storm.

Use this link to watch the WPTV news segment. Remember, this is 2015. Here is the text from the news report:

Juan Ruiz, Director of Leisure Services [now assistant city manager], reports 8 leaks; 2 doors in the upstairs ballroom and 6 doors in the adjacent vacant space.
     Ruiz sent the city pictures of the damage. Lake Worth City Manager Michael Bornstein says the continuing issues are being documented and are being handed to the city attorney.
     Bornstein reported in an email that he had not heard from the contractor and/or architect on how they plan to correct the issues. As a result, Bornstein asked the city attorney to draft letters voicing their displeasure.
     The city plans to recommend further legal action if “rational and feasible plans” aren’t presented by the contractor and/or architect.

I hope this helps to explain things. Thank You for visiting today.