Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Read the complete Thalatta Feasibility Study on-line. Taxpayers hold on to your wallet and if you live nearby, invest in soundproofing your home!

CLICK HERE to review the Thalatta Feasibility Study.  Be forewarned, it is a large file consisting of 120 pages.  There are actually two studies; the first is for the Parking Garage project.  The second is for Thalatta, which begins on page 74 of 120.   These materials will be presented at the Special Council Meeting scheduled for Thursday, March 29, 2012.   Please note that these are my initial thoughts.  There will be more to come as I dive deeper into the details.

It is most curious that this Feasibility Study provides that “operational budget represents new expenses and revenues only.”   What happened to the old expenses and revenues?  I can see from my review of the report that the old revenues are in fact absorbed into the new projections.  There certainly could not be away way for Palmetto Bay Mayor and Council to host even more events at Thalatta Estate from what is listed. 

You cannot ignore the old costs.  You cannot, unless you plan on sweeping those under the budget rug into general park expenses, thus helping to build your “profit” margin.   It is disconcerting that the “profitability” upon which this report rests is based upon “a reasonably aggressive approach to estimating revenues.”  Another blog beat me to the punch by questioning whether a new business should estimate revenues conservatively.  A bank would.  Should the taxpayers who are going to ultimately be held financially responsible be entitled to any less?

I still cannot get off the point that the Florida Communities Trust (FCT) granted us, the Village, over $3.6 million for a park.  You can read my full concerns back on December 1, 2011, by clicking the headline: Thalatta Estate: Should a free park paid for by Florida Residents become an expensive exclusive party venue for those who can afford it?   The report provides confirmation that Thalatta will be closed to the public all day Friday and Saturday.  Saturday was a huge day to take your family to a public park, at least last time I checked.

I have been very public about my concerns.  Besides the promises we made in order to obtain a State Grant, there was never any public outcry that Palmetto Bay needed to address a sorely missing activity: a high fee special event facility, subsidized by the public.  This need is served.  Besides, as I stated before (Thalatta Estate: A plan that needs more consideration) Wedding events do not subsidize your county tax burdens at county parks such as Vizcaya, Deering Estate, Greynolds Park or any other numerous county parks. Events at Pinecrest Gardens are not reducing Pinecrest taxes. Rental events help defray the costs of the asset, but they are not money generators and it is foolish to think that Palmetto Bay could ever net out $200,000 to $500,000 per year to, as the mayor puts it, “bring income into our (Palmetto Bay’s) coffers.”

The current Palmetto Bay budget has projected revenues of $70,000 for this coming budget year. That is based upon nearly 24 expected events on the property as it currently exists. This is money in, not net profit.

Don’t cheer quiet yet for those of you who look to the construction of the indoor facility as the solution to restoring the quiet enjoyment of their nearly property.  There will still be significant outdoor events under this study, at least if the village thinks it can make a profit. 

It is ironic that Thalatta was originally sold as an outdoor wedding venue, to take advantage of the view of the bay.  The irony is that numbered page 26, page 101 of 120, clearly states, under “keys to overall project success and financial viability,” – “It is absolutely essential that … The following are important market differentiators” and I am not making this up:

“One of the finest and largest indoor venues for weddings and events” as the first and:
“The ability to have exclusive use of the estate for functions and events.” As the fifth.

Wow!  Make no mistake, indoor is not a misprint. 

You cannot have an outdoor wedding within the 7,500 square foot wedding multipurpose room.  The fifth market differentiators says it all; they are taxing your tax dollars and providing your back yard on the bay to those who can afford it (unless you are connected and this council provides you with a special freebee, but that is another blog for a later date).

This report further states that finding these exclusive renters shouldn’t be too much of a problem, as:

“There is a large population base in the area with relatively high levels of disposable income that provides a strong foundation for the use and rental of the Thalatta Estate.”

However – and traffic counters get ready: “However, the estate will need to market itself throughout the Miami area AND BEYOND.”  (last full paragraph, numbered page 26, page 101 of 120)

The report notes that Thalatta will be limited as a venue because of a lack of on-site parking. Will events be permitted that demand more parking than Thalatta can offer? If so, where will the cars be parked off-site? How will traffic be affected?

THE PARK THAT WILL NEVER SLEEP (and maybe neither will the neighbors)
What other events will be held there?  Look to numbered page 27, page 102 of 120: Birthdays, anniversaries, (undefined) family functions, Holiday Celebrations, Corporate Events, Quinceaneras, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs.   

Fees are substantial (See numbered page 35, page 110 of 120) and reach as high as $8.000.00 – for a start.  Note that recommended fees (recommended if you want the slight alleged “profit” to be realized) are noted to include catering permit fee, security and janitorial services, as well as (as contained in footnote 6), basic tables and chairs furnished by the estate.  All of these are expenses NOT included in the expense projections, but certainly come out of the gross receipts, thereby drastically reducing the alleged net profit. 

“All users should be expected to pay market driven rates for use of the estate and all fees should be increased n at least an every two year basis after benchmarking with other providers.” (See numbered page 27, page 102 of 120) (again, unless you are politically connected and this council provides you with a special free bee.  I promise, that is another blog for a later date).
Why do you want your tax dollars going into business on such a limited venture.  Besides, is the purpose of government really to go into a profit making business?


  1. So this council can spend our money on improving the Thalatta and increase traffic because it does not run by Joan Lindsay's house. On the other hand they fight tooth and nail against PTS because it's next to her house. Such hypocrites. Vote them out before we go broke and are reverted back to the County.

  2. Neighborhood ladyMarch 28, 2012

    I hate the idea of commercialization of that property. I can't imagine not having free public access to the shoreline. I can't imagine competing with Deering and the Village Center.

    The grant: I remember the grant and I know what happens when you do not perform the grant as promised. The money is recalled,without negotiation ... If the grant contract exists, I think there would be a recapture clause.

    And a PARKING GARAGE? Where the hell did our passive park go?

    And yes, I get pissed every time I drive past those locked gates and see employee cars there. If they are on the property, the gates should be open. The employees are being paid.

    I have yet to go to that park even though it is a mile from my house. Every time I think about it as I am driving by it is LOCKED. My kids and husband have not gone. Their schedule doesn't match the hit or miss open gates. I can't even show the "jewel" of our parks to my friends who meet me for coffee or lunch nearby. It is always closed. It is a waste.

    All these grandiose plans must have something to do with the property next door... Do we have a deal on the table?

    And by the way, how much did the feasibility study cost? And where did that $$$ come from?

    Come on people, I am not a tight wad, but I sure as heck expect better from my elected representatives. This is a broken promise and commitment to the community and our park funders.


  3. This park will become a regional park, because the people using it will not be from Palmetto Bay, but from the north. We will get the leftover events from the Deering Estate which has ridiculous rules (and costs) or the Village Center which has a great air conditioned view.

    This park needs to go back to the county since the people in our village are not allowed to use it like we use Coral Reef. I thought it was going to be a place like Coral Reef where we could use the pool and walk along the shore. It was not going to be a place like Deering or the zoo where we couldn't get to it. At least I thought.

  4. The traffic is an issue. A BIG issue and a public safety hazard. If the park has to have an garage, then the proposed use is too intense.

    Think about Fairchild and the traffic and what it does to the neighborhoods. Think about police, fire rescue and fire trucks.

    The next thing you know, the village will want to bridge the canals since the traffic is too much of an issue on Old Cutler.

    The traffic IS an issue with PTS, too. This just makes it worse. Joan is not the issue. The entire council is the issue. Everyone that buys this deal is the issue.

  5. We want to know how many events will there be at Thalatta. How many cars, how many people and how much noise for the neighbors will there be? There has already been one fatality just out front of Thalatta. How many more will there be once this regional mega party event opens up?

  6. Joan Lindsay would never permit a use this intense to go on anywhere near her house. She should not allow Thalatta to go forward anywehere near the village. It is not just Thalatta alone. You have to take in the entire picture. It is time for these so called village leaders to think what life will be like for those of us who have only Old Cutler Road to go to and from our homes on nights where the parties are really going at Deering, Thalatta and the Palmetto Bay Center.

  7. Stop it. We need some relief from the traffic we suffer with now, not create even more activity with the noise and increased traffic that it will bring. There are events that on regularly at the Ed Feller Library. There are holiday events, parties and concerts. Does anyone remember the battle of the bands? I do. How is an emergency vehicle going to safely move down Old Cutler when there are events going on at Old Cutler and St Andrew Churches, Westminster school, Deering Estate, Thalatta Estate, the Library and Palmetto Bay Village Center? Good bye quality of life for us that live along Old Cutler. We are supposed to live in a quiet neighborhood along quaint Old Cutler. This is not supposed to be party central South Beach.

    We will remember you at election time. I recommend that everyone remember the names of Shelley Stanczyk, Brian Pariser, Patrick Fiore, Howard Tendrich and Joan Lindsay and vote against any of them who vote against us by adding to the congestion of Old Cutler, ruining the quiet enjoyment of our homes.

  8. Thalatta is already a place that attracts crime. Do we really need to attract more crime to our general Old Cutler area? A woman called police after a thief smashed a window of her car and removed items from inside while it was parked at Thalatta Estate Park in the 17300 block of Old Cutler Road between 5:45 and 6 p.m. March 18. It was not even dark yet.

    Read more here:

  9. Councilman Howard Tendrich is the only member of this present council who has shown that he can sucessfully run a business. He has over 35 years of success with his store. Perhaps the remaining council members should defer to his business sense in determining whether this matter is a good idea for the taxpayers.

  10. I take issue with the anonymous poster above. The issue is not profit or loss. Protection of our quality of life is what matters and the huge plans for Thalatta will harm our property values. We bought here to live in a quiet paradise, not a party zone.

  11. When the United States was born, government was not intended to have a hand in business. Businesses would be free to act in their own best interests without government involvement. The basic role of government in business would be as a referee only. Government’s role would include:

    Protecting business property
    Enforcing business contracts
    Settling business disagreements
    Setting and collect taxes

    Palmetto Bay – it is NOT your role to go into the wedding business!

  12. I don't know why your left early last night. You should have stayed for Thalatta. The only people that spoke on behalf of Thalatta were Shelley's campaign supporters. All were donors or worked the polling locations for her. I would bet that some, if not all, of the pro Thalatta speakers have expectations of being named by Shelley, Joan or Brian, to the Friends of Thalatta committee created by Shelley. The watch dogs are keeping an eye out. It is unfortunate that this is the state of politics in Palmetto Bay under the current regime.

  13. It was strange that Sancho Panza was missing from the chorus of supporters last night.

  14. OK, I give up. I understand the reference as to the literary character "Sancho Panza." E-mail me at as to who you are referring to.

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