Will Fort Laud. Commissioners Stop The Rush To Approve 100-Year Lease Of City-Owned Land?





What’s the rush?

That’s what Fort Lauderdale activists want to know about the proposed lease of city-owned Bahia Mar yacht basin on the beach.

The 100-year lease – Yes, 100 years!!! – popped up on tomorrow’s Fort Lauderdale City Commission agenda on Friday.

That gives commissioners and the public roughly four days to consider this deal, which allows developers to enrich themselves through the use of city-owned property.

In my experience an item is dropped on commissioners at the last minute usually means there is something questionable in it.

In the case of the Bahia Mar lease, there is plenty odious starting with the length, which is apparently 100 years to satisfy some developers.

The problem with this project and so much in Fort Lauderdale is that developers are driving the deal. Instead of the city coming up with an imaginative idea for the marina, which is on irreplaceable beachfront land,  the developer is proposing to build massive condos that are roughly triple the size allowed by the rules.

Condos that will look like every other city along the Gold Coast. Condos that will essentially take the city-owned land away from the public and make it the property of a bunch of roughly 600 very wealthy condo buyers.

It is the developer’s plans, their concept and their demands. And City Hall, like good lackeys with no imagination, has followed them down this path.

Residents, who after all own the land, deserve a long look at the lease. They deserve thoughtful consideration of this deal.

And if developers huff and puff and threaten to walk away if the lease is delayed, so be it.

The land will be there for the next developer.

Here is what the politically-potent Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations e-mailed to the City Commission over the weekend:


Hello Commissioners

On behalf of the Executive Board of the Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations, I am requesting that you defer action on item #15-1565 Bahia Mar Master Lease. It would be premature to approve a new 100 year lease of City owned property before the public hearing process regarding the proposed Innovative Design District Application for the same property even begins. In Commission Agenda Memo No 15-1565, the City Manager states “It is intended that the property will be developed in several phases as described in the Innovative Design Application.” The Master Lease contains references to this same unapproved project. Such statements have a chilling effect on the public participation process and many people will believe that their input will not be considered by the Commission.

There are so many questions regarding the item, here a just a few.

1. Does approval of the Master Lease assume that the development project will be approved?
2. If that project is approved, modified or disapproved, what effect will it have on the Master Lease?
3. Is there a compelling reason to act now?
4. Has there been sufficient discussion regarding the terms of the lease?
5. The analysis of the terms of the Master Lease by the Special Council and dated December 11 2015 is not part of the application. No one can expect residents to review the the Master Lease and provide you with meaningful input without this analysis and without sufficient time.

This is City owned property, our property. Everyone should have an opportunity to review the terms of the lease. Scheduling a vote or even a discussion of such an important issue during the week before the Holidays is unacceptable. At the very least, the Master Lease and the development project should be reviewed simultaneously. In the long run it will save time and aggravation for you, the public and the developers.

As for the Strategic Connections cited in the in the City Manager’s Memo; everyone supports managing resources wisely and sustainably and everyone wants a structurally balanced budget. Getting the maximum economic return from leasing this magnificent piece of City Owned land on our beautiful beach should not be our only priority. Any new lease should maximize public benefits including preservation of the Boat Show, increased public access, the best rental and sustainability should be our goals. We hope you see the difference.

Marilyn Mammano

Marilyn Mammano, AICP President
Council of Fort Lauderdale Civic Associations

Here is what the city’s own Special Counsel wrote about the lease. The lawyers point out numerous numerous short comings in the lease that need to be carefully considered:


Memo From Special Counsel




18 Responses to “Will Fort Laud. Commissioners Stop The Rush To Approve 100-Year Lease Of City-Owned Land?”

  1. Bob Bekoff says:

    You have to wonder if anyone has seen Bahia Mar in the last couple of decades? It is a decaying embarrassment ? Maybe the handful of NIMBY who think they are the Commision will chip in and put a park there. The public marina will endure. Valuable property requires valuable investment. The Commision should be left to do their job.

  2. Karen Owen says:

    Thank you for your insight and love of this great city.

  3. Karin Rhodes says:

    Not just a handful of NIMBYs but anyone who visits the beach or drives Las Olas, A1A and 17th Street.
    Shame on the commissions who didn’t make Bahia Mar live up to the standards set forth in the current lease which require it to be a first class hotel and resort.
    The new lessees would only agree to maintain a three star rating not a four.
    This 100 year lease will not be a lease but a total give away.

  4. Just a million? says:

    The lease only calls for a payment of One million a year. That would value the property at 10 to 20 million dollars. If the city is going to give a 100 year lease so that Jorge Perez can build 525 condo units in two 39 story towers( the current tallest building on the beach is 30 stories) the minimum rent just for the condos on the land lease should be $10 million a year, plus rent for the marina and other spaces.

    If we are going to give away this city land for future generations it should be a sound business deal. Not a give away.

  5. Talks like a politician says:

    In answer to your question: “NO”. There is not one speck of vision in any South Florida politician.

    Thanks for pointing out the expected transfer of public land to private use.

  6. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    1. This item was posted on Friday and I asked for DEFERRAL on Friday.
    Why did the “Council” e-mail only go out on Saturday or Sunday when the City offices had closed?
    2. The lease documents posted are a 50-Year NOT a 100-Year Lease BUT WITH A 50 Year Renewal
    3. Yes, this is too much for a “quickee” vote but
    4. The Council is so MEANINGLESS they did NOT even have a CANDIDATES FORUM during the last City Elections. They said “NO INTEREST”
    5. as the only one who usually shows up when Planning and Zoning Maps and other issues people LATER COMPLAIN ABOUT are discussed and voted I am SICK AND TIRED of “beach community activists” who NEVER ARE HOME TO ANSWER THEIR HOMES because they live ELSEWHERE as was the case this weekend when the “leading community activists” on this issue WERE NO WHERE TO BE SEEN!
    6. And although I want AN INFORMED VOTE by the City Commission, it is ALSO TRUE,

    a. Jimmy and Kenny Tate are LONG TERM DEEP POCKET INVESTORS FROM SOUTH FLORIDA not Oligarchs from Russia like on Miami Beach and Sergio Rok and his family are the major force that REVIVED DOWNTOWN MIAMI and have contributed to nearly every charity this side of Heavens, while Keith Menin may wear too much jewelry, he and his Galbutt relatives have always promoted and developed FIRST CLASS COMMUNITY FRIENDLY PROJECTS since the 1920s.
    b. the people who have “objected” so far come unprepared to meetings, have no “followers”, and too many times are
    I. out of towners who parttime condos
    II. unemployable loudmouths working for or looking for work with non profits we the taxpayers finance,
    III. old farts who hate the world because the kids don’t want to visit them
    IV. people wanting to restrict development NOW so that they can sell their units LATER FOR MORE MONEY! (This was true of SAVE MIAMI BEACH’s financiers, all property owners who sold out once prices went up when zoning became restrictive. the higher buyers of course got the restrictions vacated)

    IN SUM, the TATEs and ROKs have Yuckus up the Tukus, the opponents have got questions BUT NO FOLLOW UP, Time after Time!

    YES, DEFER IF THE QUESTIONS IN THE LETTER ARE NOT ANSWERED, BUT PLEASE, the Council is a paper organization that has ZERO political influence in Fort Lauderdale because its disorganized with lazy leadership that sits around doing nothing until the last minute, then can’t make an intelligent argue.


  7. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    I’m sorry, but its Special COUNSEL not Special Council. Yes, this is the quality of the “community activists”!
    I agree on DEFERRAL, but the people who should be giving the objections can’t even get their spelling correct!
    Its one thing to blog like I do with cataracts or on a little cellphone, but to write an “official” letter to a Government Body on a BILLION DOLLAR DEAL you really should spell the words correctly.

    I am DISAPPOINTED, and NOT FOR THE FIRST TIME with the Civic Associations and their USELESS, USELESS, USELESS, leaders.

  8. Nick Sakhnovsky says:

    The existing, extended lease terminates in 2062, which leaves ample time for a thorough public review of what to do. No need whatsoever to rush this.

  9. This makes no sense says:

    We are being Raped if they approve a 100 Year lease. Are we a bunch of idiots?

  10. John Henry says:

    Me thinks the City is going to broker this land deal on the cusp of another major real estate market crash.

    Its going to become a huge mess both legal and civic

  11. Looking For Answers From Commission says:

    Would it be that City Manager Lee Feldman, of that job hangs by one vote, engineered this to burnish his image as a friend of developers and grease his way to a new job? Aren’t the developers from North Miami where Feldman once was manager?

  12. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The fake name attacks have started!
    Lee Feldman had nothing to do with several froms only of which has offices where he used to work.
    The group of firms were lead by teo third generation family businesses that do most of their business in the City of Miami NOT North Miami
    The reason the Tate n Rok families’ lead group is negotiating a deal since October 2014 is that in July 2014 they purchased the lease from Nlackrock who wanted to sell their south Florida hotels. Because they owned the main venue of the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show since 1983 the city wanted to insure the Show would not be pinched by other cities n wanted to guarantee the Show which wanted huge upgrades the Show could not fund n even wanted n gets a discount on their rent.
    The owners of the lease said they could do both IF they got profits grom condos they would market to foreigners n set aside a new public park also.
    However a second group on a separate part of Bahia Mar as Mr Nevins alerted us THANKFULLY usec the reasonable negotiations to come ip with a proposal from lobbyist Stephanie Toothaker who sits or sat on the Beach Redevelopment Board to swap part of Bahia Mar NOT part of the first groups land with the Fire House built in 2004 with bond proceeds so that they would also build condos on Bahia Mar.
    The two proposals are day n night in terms of the public interest but people who dont know the background n details are convulting both.
    These two proposals. one reasonble one a steal n outrage with the huge Galleria proposal are all mixed in to an unsigned flyer mailec in Commissioner Dean Trantalis’ Commission District.
    To compound the confusion n misinformation my Commissioner did not follow up on my two in person requests to get the October 2014 information on thw Tate Rok Groups Propisal because after I left for Prague Oct 4 he thought the materials distributed by CM Lee Feldman were confidential n never passed them on the the Central Beach Alliance or Council of Civic Organizations etc how now feel blindsided as I did Friday.
    Its no Lee Feldman n Jack Seiler plot as Dean thinks – the other Commissioners n Mayor all discussed it since late October with people – just a typical misunderstanding by Commissioners do a lot of paperwork.
    Of course the usual crazies in the lunatic asylum called The Second Commission District of Fort Lauderdale were all up in arms because they had no facts no understand n no commonsense.
    The whole issue was deferred as I requested until the second meeting in January 2016 but Wednesday – its today 1:47 am the usual suspects can scream n holler again – probably ignoring all the facts they heard an hour ago!


  13. get real says:

    Hello people

    It is Jack Seiler driving this train and every other train. He is the one with the so called VISION

    Wonder what he gets out of it??


  14. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    Get real thinks in 1983 Jack Seiler plotted the 2014 purchase of Blackrocks lease to a group lead by two three generation investors! The manure is piling up, let me get my sshovel!

  15. City Activist Robert Walsh says:

    I think the proposal is a good one. w/ Jorge Perez involved, and all we as the city have to do is sign the lease and its done ,perfect. People, its better to have a nickel, than chase a dime(big Bernie my late father used to say that all th e time, yes genius in some ways(the hand bag business was brilliant Dad, (the wasn’t all bad)but I still couldn’t made that kind of money @ 19 etc-gift of the Irish, but Jack Daniels, the Marlboro man and esp. ever tramp in town would get the better of him every time-huh spilled milk). So folks this project will be awesome. So if they are going to build and we have to giv e them the land etc. Go baby go. Besides P/Z bd. just passed it what 6-2.Sign on the dotted line Mayor…..

  16. just asling says:

    The lease that Feldman executed with LXR was “sold” to this group who pleaded at the last commish meeting the terms of the lease had to be revised.How much did LXR get in the ‘sale’? Taxpayers never get anything and will never see a fair annual rent let alone a generous payment based on value.

  17. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:


  18. Count LF Chodkiewicz Chudzikiewicz says:

    The lease was created 47 years ago NOT by Lee Feldman. It was THE CITY that requested a new lease to protect the Boat Show! I mean just asling which no doubt is a mis-spelling for Just Asking is lying while hiding behind a fake name. How many lies can the so-called Beach activists make up in a given day? The Beach activists get nowhere because they are lazy cheap n lie.