May 062016
 

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Arnaud and Naja Girard

Arnaud and Naja Girard, owners and editors of the new, digital, Key West the Newspaper (The Blue Paper) previously reported for the former Key West The Newspaper, Key West’s longest running independent weekly, published by Dennis Reeves Cooper, Ph.D., from January 1994 until November 2012. The Girards are perhaps best known for their discovery of and extensive research surrounding the US Navy’s 1951 claim of ownership of Wisteria Island but are also responsible for top investigative stories including breaking news coverage of the highly controversial in-custody-death of Charles Eimers on Thanksgiving Day 2013, the catastrophic police tasing of Matthew Shawn Murphy, and the property tax scandal involving Balfour Beatty to name a few. Arnaud and Naja have lived in Key West since 1986.


  37 Responses to “KEY WEST: The “Trickle-Down Theory” of Affordable Housing?”

  1. A little while ago, I told Naja maybe she should have less birthdays to reduce the odds of such long prolonged labors as birthing today’s documentary :-). Naja laughed, requested a comment for her birthday present. I said “Yas boss M’am, coming right up.”

    Here is a link to the city’s video of the entire meeting:

    http://keywestcity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=484

    The Peary Court Plan B agenda item (31) begins at the 1:53:44 mark.

    The easiest way to get there is to scroll down the agenda index under the video to item 31 and click on it:

    *31 16-9506 Nominating the property located at 541 White Street, Commonly referred to as Peary Court, to the Monroe County Land Authority for funding for the purpose of acquiring an interest in the property in the form of Affordable Housing Deed Restriction

    The first citizen speaker is Tom Milone, followed by second citizen speaker, followed by me. I thanked Tom for his remarks, then I let them have it.

  2. NAJA, Please run for District #1 seat – we need some fresh ideas and you live in the district – Many of us do not even live in District #1 will be glad to help you.
    Just think of the real insight to the city books and the truth you could provide for the general voting public of Key West.

    This would change voting from 4 to 3 old ways to 4 to 3 new ways and add two smart ladies on the Dias….Please consider – Please

    Then all we need is someone to run for District #6 ?

  3. Happy birthday Naja!

    So keywestislandgirl is right the fix is in before meeting. We know it when Wardlow says “I know you have the 4 votes to pass this and I wil support it when it passes” and when Kaufman says “when this passes tonight”. So 1 hour and 45 of talking only to waste time!
    The only thing for perpetuity in KW is corruption!
    When will KW get this?

  4. I have never heard such bull s_ _ _ in by life. If in reality the city builds on land it owns it would in fact lower the demand for peary court properties and as a result the rents would go down not up. Legally the city is still buying something and would require the voters approval. And this so called affordable rent will still go up in time. This is just another scam like they fell for with Simonton trailer park. Take a look at it now. Nothing finished and looks nothing like the original picture. If this deal goes then you can bet some people will be seeing a huge thank you. Only in Key West could such corruption take place. Are we to worry about people that can afford $2400 might need to pay $2700 ? When will they care about the $10 workers needing 2 or 3 jobs. Fact is if KW builds some low income rentals the high prices of all rentals will go down and the illegal rental market will go away with it. This is a total misuse of the tax dollars and if misused I hope the feds investigate and send a few to prison. Tourist will sure love how you use that 5% bed tax. Think we will be finding a better party town in the future. I don’t mind paying a bed tax if it helps the low paid workers but dam sure don’t see as OK to help the well paid people. ELECTION DAY is coming.

  5. Look back at what I warned last week. The buyer is not putting up a dime.
    And sure seems that the sunshine law was broke. This deal was already agreed on without the public. Do you still want Cates ?
    This deal is nothing but greed and bribes.

    And happy birthday Naja. Please run for office or mayor. You would make this corrupt town wake up.

  6. Trickle down housing, hah! And they used THAT in their deliberations? Not allowed to see the contract either when we’re basically putting up.the down payment ? AND the city has to come up with $300,000 more from it’s general fund to make it to 12.5 million? And did I hear Cornfeld say they were only putting about 3 million of their own skin in the game, financing the rest? So they’ll be financing more than $ 40 million? Run the numbers on that , someone. Will it work unless they get a whole lot of the remaining ROGOS ? There was never an answer as to whether these units could be sold individually either. That was another dodged question.
    Looking at your next article about the ” family run business ” sure presents a different pictureof this new buyer and I wonder if anyone in the city did their own due diligence as Ms Higgins has just begun? They look like a mini Balfour Beatty and I bet they would love to rent it out to the military so it doesn’t have to build more housing for THEIR personnel, 400 more who may be stationed here with that proposed drone detachment arriving. Great planning, huh?
    I had to laugh when Billy Wardlow pointed out that this whole proposal had only been vetted for six days from announcement to presentation to the commission. Everyone looked uncomfortable swallowing the charade. These folks make White Street Partners look puny with all their companies scattered about. Big players apparently? Where’d they come from? Maybe buddies with Weekly who so compromised his integrity by validating Bob Dean’s phony residency as Housing Authority chairman? Had to do that to keep the game rolling? So no one was watching the store at the Housing Authority in the meantime as they were supposed to be ? Kinda dropped the ball on that one didn’t they? A portent?

    Regardless, this deal does nothing for the ordinarily underpaid workers. What a mess, what a millstone, what a sham.

    I

    • The Land Authority Executive Director said the $300,000 could be borrowed from future allocations to Key West’s Land Authority account [No one said it would come from the City’s general fund.]

  7. I think if Naja ever decides to run for local a city office, she should run for mayor instead of for a city commission seat. I think she’d be a good mayor and ambassador for Key West. I don’t think she is currently inclined in that direction, though. But maybe if she could be queen and call all the shots? But if she did run, and if she did get elected, or coronated, would she feel comfortable continuing to publish the blue paper? Meanwhile, I think it would be wonderful if t e blue paper started making money commensurate with the immense value of its services to Key West, the Florida Keys and humanity. Arnaud and Naja work their tails off each week, blood, sweat and tears, so to speak, to bring out each week’s edition and later breaking news updates.

  8. Happy birthday, Naja. 🙂

    What’s interesting is the City doesn’t seem to be entertaining alternative proposals. Kaufman wrote a letter to the editor outlining a sensible-sounding plan for Poinciana.

    This deal, just like the last one, has a very used-car-salesman vibe. Lots of pressure to buy now. There’s this panic that if the city doesn’t immediately throw money at this specific property then 157 existing “affordable” units will be lost. Is this a realistic and immediate fear?

    The buyer is looking for $12 million from the taxpayers. That’s quite a generous donation. He should be expected to address taxpayer questions and concerns thoroughly and transparently.

    I would argue, that he should be able to anticipate many of those questions and concerns and address them proactively. That’s what I would do if I were asking for $12 million.

  9. Has anyone ever thought to run the numbers on Peary Court’s “Plan B?” If one were to accept that the assumptions of low costs and high revenues from the previous Key West Housing Authority created pro formas were accurate, then Peary Court, under city ownership, would generate about $750k in annual profit when all of the units were being rented at the 120% AMI level, but that pro forma assumed financing with a 3% tax free mortgage interest rate, a token city tax payment and absurdly low annual set asides for administration, insurance, maintenance and repairs.

    Let’s look at the mortgage financing and taxes. The 3% KWHA pro forma rate was calculated on a specific type of tax free financing for the lending bank. That isn’t available for Plan B. Private buyers will pay the market interest rate for their financing. The 30 year mortgage rate is currently at 3.77%. The city’s annual mortgage expense for the $46m that they would finance @ 3% was right around $2,327,256. A private buyer would finance approximately $47.5m @ 3.77%. That is an annual mortgage expense of $2,646,228. That, by itself, is $318,972 more a year in mortgage expenses for a private buyer than the KWHA assumption for a city purchase. Next, the KWHA pro forma only included a token payment in lieu of city taxes of around $85k. Private owners will need to pay the full spectrum of city, county, school district, mosquito control and other property taxes. Those taxes will add over $525k in additional annual expenses. Adding just these two factors together equals over $840k in additional annual expenses that a private investor will need to cover that city ownership didn’t. By the way, with the current 157 units, that works out to $5,350 per unit/per year or $445 per unit/per month. I could go on and on about extra costs any private buyer will face, but I think we already see that even if the KWHA pro forma were accurate, the margins ware razor thin. To think that a private investor could step in and predict the same outcomes is impossible. One needs to remember with private ownership is that they are in business to make a profit. If they aren’t making at least a 10% net return on their investment, then there isn’t reward for the risk.

    I would like to see the pro forma that Cornfeld is using to justify receipt of the Land Authority $12.5m and the remaining $47.5m in other funding. What numbers are they using for mortgage payments, taxes, administration, insurance, maintenance and replacement reserves? What are the rents they will need to charge to pay for everything? It would be fiscally irresponsible for the Land Authority to hand over a single cent of assistance before being 110% reassured that the Cornfeld plan is both achievable and affordable.

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    • The affordable workforce housing ordinance in Key West will be the basis for the deed restrictions – we are told. It allows for a “moderate” basis for rents and allows for a mix of low, med, mod, middle-income. At the top level – “middle-income” – the 2016 cap for a 2-bedroom is $2709. The ordinance doesn’t say that the landlord must have a certain amount of or even one unit in each category. Just that it can be mixed amongst those categories and that the average rent roll can be at “moderate plus 10%”. Under the deed restriction the owner will not be allowed to charge $3000 per month for a 2-bedroom unit. They could, it seems, mix it up between moderate-income $2332/month [2016] and “middle-income” – $2709 [2016] and stay within the regulations. [Buyer has put forward a concept for future that includes asking for more density and possibly taking some of the existing units and splitting them into two 1-bedroom units. This would allow for a small renovation investment and would generate more revenue when combining the revenue from two 1-bedroom units that replaces the revenue for one 2-bedroom units. This would come to over $4000/month for the two 1-bedrooms] but would provide the smaller units that everyone is looking for. They would not be inexpensive – however.

  10. Did anyone else see him wiggle out of directly saying how much of his money is invested ? Told you what he will have in it after he starts building but not what he has in it now. Nothing will stop him from finding a foolish investor to take a second mortgage on the property and then he can walk away. Hope the deed restriction is very clear and in place before the closing. And watch for a sneaky first mortgage being made a few hours before closing. Don’t be too surprised if the seller is still in this deal. I smell something fishy. This passed without proof of anything including the contract for the sale. The city is basically buying part of Peary Court.

    Your fine city counsel voted yes without first even knowing what his investment was. Seems strange he got all of the property for just 5 million more. The seller has made a better deal to this buyer than they offered the city. And magically the new buyer has a willing lender (family) to offer the loan. The city needs to read that contract.

    What happens if he does not build the additional units ? What if he does no repairs or minimal and just pocket the rents until foreclosed ? And in the event it get’s foreclosed I hope the city knows all 157 tenants get eviction letters.

    If the city can’t make this deal work and get a mortgage just why is it he can ?

    YEP you been scammed again. Please demand the legality of this deal be investigated. The city will be in one hell of a mess if 157 units suddenly go away.

    Why would your elected city counsel after being told NO by the voters still do this. Guess your votes never mattered.

  11. While I think this is an awful move for the city – I explained why during my citizen comments this past Tuesday night, not included in the blue paper’s documentary, which City Commission Sam Kaufman told me in an email the next day were “spot on” – I am kinda amazed at the shock expressed in some of the reader comments here. What’s to be shocked about? This is Key West.

    I had hoped a long line of outraged citizens would be at the Tuesday night meeting, to express their outrage during citizen comments. But of the readers commenting above, only Page and I spoke against the deal. Where were the rest of you? Why didn’t you come and speak, if you were so against it? You speak of ousting the 4 elected officials who voted for the deal. But you were not there telling them not to do it. Will you be on the streets carrying signs calling or their defeat in this year’s city races? 3 of them are up for reelection: Cates, Weekley and Lopez.

    I hope there are not more gotchas in this deal than already are in plain view. But, to be honest, there is some serious gallows humor in all of this. That might become more clear, if you take the time to watch the entire discussion of item 31. Almost 2 hours worth. Here again is the link to the city’s video:

    http://keywestcity.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=1&clip_id=484

    Scroll down the agenda index below the video to item 31 and click on it, and you will go right to that part of the video. If it weren’t so serious, crazy and macabre, it would be hilarious. But then, that can be said of quite a few things the city government does or goes along with after the fact. It’s been that way a l-o-n-g time, and it seems from how the city elections go, a large majority of voters like it.

    • I think the lack of others attending was because they already knew it was already voted on. Anyone speaking against this was just for legality sake. They where too busy counting money to even hear you. And with out delaying this till next meeting to view and back up Cornfeld’s remarks to see if truthful they just voted for it. Hope the people know voting is 2 sided and vote the ones that voted yes out of office. Cornfeld is not investing a dime of his money. He seen some stupid easily swayed commissioners and played his scam offer.

      Wonder how many living in Peary Court understand that when their lease runs out they might be booted out for non qualified. Would love to see a copy of the lease they have now. Often it has a clause to renew with perhaps a few percent increase. That just might keep unqualified people in it. Others just don’t care because they have a place to live on the island and could care less about others. I care and do not even live in KW. Reason I care is because as a tourist we need the services of the low income people. On average we spend about 30 days a year broken into about 5 trips. How can a couple live in Peary Court on $10 an hour jobs ? They would both need to work 60 hours. After taxes that $1200 is likely less than $1000. Now out of $4000 pay $2400 plus utilities and cell phone and such. Leaves them maybe $200 a week for food and enjoyment. That does not go far in an overpriced city like KW.

      The true fix is more housing even if at $2400. The lack of housing is what causes the high rents. And now the money to build is gone unless a bank will help with using the property as down payment.

      Do thank you Sloan for trying.

  12. Thank you Colby Fisher for doing the math on this deal. Thank you Bluepaper, Sloan Bashinsky, Jimmie and others for paying attention. Yes we should all have been there to speak, even if the fix was in. Soon, if it’s not shot down by the land authority directors, it will go to the County Commissioners who have the final say.
    Uh oh… Doubt they’re going to enjoy this tar baby.

  13. So what this deal amounts to is for a payment the owner gets a devalued property.
    Now my question, did the property owners get paid when their properties got deed restrictions ? What year did this begin ? Any time the government take all or part or devalues your property it must pay.

    Why would Cornfeld want such a restriction ? If they have the finances to buy it for cash this deal would not be happening. Truth is it is the $12.5 million from KW that is the true down payment. It is called O P M. Can’t blame him we have done the same many times.

  14. Just an observation so don’t kill the messenger, but rather think of the positives in the Peary Court situation:

    1) The city will now have no long term debt to worry about.
    2) No problem making sure the property doesn’t go into the red.
    3) Only put up “tourist money,” with no property tax money involved.
    4) Doesn’t matter who is staying there – hopefully for the core workforce though.
    5) Supposedly, the property can not be sold piece-by-piece – only the whole parcel.
    6) Technically, the island gets 157 units added to its rental inventory plus an additional 3 units, then another 48 units at least (maybe even 96 units) – for a total of 208 units (or 256 units) using tourist money. I say 208 units (or 256 units) are being added because they are not going to be subtracted if a different buyer turned the property into luxury homes, and you’re getting 208 units (or 256 units) for $12.5 million. Not that bad when you consider that to build new equivalent units or to construct “housing project” type buildings you might end up with 120 units or so.
    7) In theory, we won’t have to worry about maintenance or replacing appliances, etc., and can just bow out.

    • I did not hear of any restrictions on selling the units piece by piece or all in one. They would just have the restrictions on who can live in them. A second home buyer could meet them.

      As to gaining units your math is way off. Cornfield is not required to build any. Cornfeld has plan C in the making. If the deal goes through watch and see him sell the extra land for his profit.

      Will admit it keeps the rents from going crazy but still far too high for real workers.

      And now we are trust who to oversee this job ?

      What a fine use of tourist bed tax. Give it to private owners. In a year you will see the results. Cornfeld will walk out of this mess with a nice profit. Why would an investor limit his potential for a 20% investor ? In the end you still have the same 157 units renting to the high paid workers. The property can still go in the red and you just might see 157 empty units. Then what happens ?

      Had they used the 12 million on new smaller units they would produce a profit and build even more units.

      Just maybe KW does not have the ability to be a smart landlord. Government usually screws things up.

      This will just be another flip the house deal and with none of Cornfelds money.
      He is a smart man. I too have bought properties with none of my own money. OPM is the best game.

      So tell me what KW got for 12 million.

      The deal was worked out before KW even asked what he is putting into it. I heard him admit nothing till he builds the other units. And that is a huge IF.

  15. JIMINKEYWEST, It doesn’t matter if the extra 48-96 units are not added, but they would be added to Cornfeld’s or someone else’s bottom line if they are and are probably necessary to make the deal worthwhile. I am pretty sure but not positive that units can’t be sold off individually – so let us know if you find out to the contrary and I seriously doubt if any of these units will end up being 2nd homes.

    If Cornfeld does flip the property, then the new owners will still have the deed restriction guidelines set forth – so in that regard, what is there to worry about? This is or can be a sweet deal for Cornfeld, yes, but I won’t hold that against him and am glad that we can wash our hands of this property which should have been ours for $35 million in the first place. Actually, the Navy claimed that the reason they took back the use of the property from the city was because the city didn’t put in any improvements to the property which would have enhanced the area for use as a park. However, roughly during this time frame the Navy was also looking to sell off some of their surplus property across the country and here’s where Balfour came in to play.

    157 empty units? Maybe, but in the unlikely event that will happen, someone will eventually take over the property, and “IF” the sale contract is written properly, the deed restrictions will still be in place. And, I have no problem with the rental units being used for “high paid” workers with the lower echelon being addressed down the line. It would probably take around 5 years from start to finish to bring more housing on line if you started today anyway, at least that’s how long it will take for the assisted living facility (2013-2018. Remember, RARELY is a deal or solution ALL THINGS to ALL PEOPLE.

    • The way it works is unless part of deed restrictions and sale contract says individual units can not be sold then they can be.

      Do agree KW should bought it at 35 million

      The other units being built very much matter as they are what is needed before Cornfelt has a dime invested in this scam. Right now he is walking in to rental property with no money of his own. That is perfect for an investor. And to top it off they are already rented.

      Now a forgotten issue is the 157 units likely have a security deposit that must be transferred to Cornfeld.

      As long as the deed restrictions are done properly and recorded that part is safe.

      What I see happening is the Cornfeld family will close this with a first mortgage that they will own. Then proceed with plan C and sell the extra ground and walk away with huge profit. Next step is refinance the property with a real bank without the extra property. Final step is collect rents till bank forecloses. And that is what what then boots the tenants out unless the bank gets into the rental business and few do. 157 people will receive eviction notices. Where will they move to ? Eventually is the main problem. How long is eventually? This is like the Simonton trailer park disaster. That cost not only housing but many of the Mallory Square performers. That is now not worth even walking to see.

      What would really happen if Cornfeld does not buy this property ? Does anyone really think a seller would not sell to this supposed waiting buyer? Only a fool would risk that buyer walking away. Generally serious buyers sitting on that much money buy fast.

      What upsets me is the careless use of tourist tax money and then hear KW complain that an event such as Fantasy Fest cost the city money. @ 5% a night that comes to about $20 a night. We will be there all 10 days so about $200 bed tax alone. And now you just give it away because you are scared the seller might raise the rent or sell units as second homes. And yes I do agree that could happen. But it still can even with the deed restrictions.

      Had they used the money and bring in prefab units in less than a year they could easily be occupied by low paid workers. And then just maybe they could actually work 40 hours and live like humans and enjoy life. Trust me if you gain units the supply goes up and rent comes down. Peary Court is getting high rents only because of demand.

      We been buying, building and selling homes for over 40 years. Me and my wife bought our first home when she was 17. We do know how to play with housing.

      Cornfeld is doing this for profit only and I do not blame him, I blame KW for being STUPID.

      • How can they sell as second homes if deed restriction is written to require purchase by households that earn at least 70% of their income in Monroe County and they must qualify income-wise for the purchase?

        KEY WEST CODE:
        “Affordable housing (moderate income) for a rental dwelling unit shall mean a dwelling unit whose monthly rent, not including utilities, does not exceed 30 percent of that amount which represents 120 percent of the monthly median household income (adjusted for family size) for Monroe County. For an owner-occupied dwelling unit, affordable housing (moderate income) shall mean a dwelling unit whose sales price shall not exceed five times the annual median household income (adjusted for family size) for Monroe County, in accordance with section 122-1472.”

        Assumed family size for a 2-bedroom is 3 persons. Median household income for 3 persons [2016] is $77,400 if not married and $103,200 if married. The units can be sold for no more than: 5 times $103,200 [to a married couple] = $516,000.

        • It is bit tricky but what they can do is claim this unit in KW as their main house and the one they own up north now becomes the fake second home.

          But now comes the question of what they would sell for. I broke this down and at 60 million dived by 157 means he paid 382,165 for each. And that is cheap. So if a buyers income is low enough and he sold them at 500,000 each he could make a killing and then still have not other vacant ground. I simply don’t trust this buyer. Without deed restriction to not sell as single units nothing stops him. Maybe this is something that needs added to the deed restriction. We must look at what is written and signed not what we assume or promised.

          The rich can afford to buy second homes and that is part of the problem. That is what has drove the prices up to what they are now.

          Income can easily be played with to show what ever number is needed. What if they are offered at 1/2 million and the buyer pays cash and retired on SS of $1000 a month ?

          It is a game of loopholes. Personally for now we would rather drop $2k a week on a nice bed and breakfast for a week maybe 5 times a year. That is cheaper than investing in buying or renting. For a snowbird that wants to live in KW for 6 months it is smarter to buy.

          My point here is we are trusting a man nobody knows. What his real plans are we do not know but will find out. My bet is he flips the deal.

          • He’s not paying $60 Million – he’s getting $12.5 Million towards purchase price from the Land Authority. He is also paying about $2 Million in closing costs. So cost to this purchaser is around $49 Million. At keast $5 Million can be allocated to the 48 new not yet built. So cost for 157 units would be $44 Million or $289,000 each. So, at the “moderate-affordable” sale cap there’s room for profit. Is that sales cap below market? ($516,000)

  16. Actually using the price of $289 k and 3.5 % interest = $10115 interest per year or $843 per month. Out of $2400 leaves a profit of $1557 minus taxes , upkeep and insurance. Not a bad profit for using OPM. Too bad the city of KW could not get a deal like that.

    Maybe if forced the city should buy it.

  17. No not a 10% profit but still nice for using OPM.
    Times 157 might be worth it. My thinking says the people would rather still buy it than give 12 million away. Land Authority does not need a profit.

  18. Yes, in a perfect world the city should have been able to buy the property for $35 million, but the city was not able to because they were told that negotiations were to be done outside of the public’s eye and the city could not do this as that would have been illegal. So, no negotiations.

    IMO, this present deal would still be okay even with us using tourist money as we really need the rental inventory, but there is a different slant to this if the units can be sold off individually – and it looks like that could happen.

  19. Hello readers, Dottie and I went to the Monroe County Land Authority for funding 5/11/16 in Marathon, also present was Mayor Cates, City Lawyer, Castillo.
    We where the only citizens presents, we where given a copy of the contract and even had a chance to speak. This meeting started at 09:00 and ended at 11:45.
    No City Commissioners, No Blue Paper, No Citizen paper. The meeting in a short – $12.2 million was approved and another $300k is approved on Oct 1, 2016. The finial approval is when (4) four each items are amended before the May 18, Monroe Commissioners meeting gets the finial copy. Interesting that 157 homes will be work force and will in future be asking for density change making 157 two bed room homes to single bed room homes which totals to 314 single bedrooms and charged the same rate of approximate $2400 Per month, if I heard it right? This is with density change…the 48 new units could be 96 and totals out to 410 units x $2400 single bed room…Parking could be 410 cars x scooters x bicycles.
    Looks like we are now finial going to have work force housing, this is the future and Key West will never be the same as we have known for the last few years.
    I hope more people show for the May 18th meeting !

    • 1 bedrooms do not rent for the same rate as 2 bedrooms. The rent caps are based on unit size. That said, the revenue for two 1-bedroom units is quite a bit higher than for 1 2-bedroom unit. The community does seem to need more 1-bedroom units than two bedroom so this sounds like a sound concept.

    • Correct me if I’m wrong, but nowhere did I hear that all 157 units would be converted to 2-1 bedroom units. I am under the impression that just some of the units will be converted.

  20. This deal could still work out to the city’s advantage and in its best interest, but obviously still a big “IF”: If the deal is completed and Cornfeld does split some of the units up to make one-bedrooms, then you’ve got your lower priced housing. Doubt if it will be enough like 50 duplexes split up, but at least it would be something. You’ll just have to wait and see. And again, it is vitally important to have and hold on to the workforce professionals in a community or else you’ll end up with something similar to “brain drain” which can destroy an area.

  21. Splitting the two bedrooms into 2 one bedroom units, besides a massive change in density, will require a lot of renovating like adding another kitchen and bath at the very least. I hope someone posts the contract so that the public can dissect it for all its potential ramifications.

  22. So here we go with even more IF’S.
    Unless wording changes Cornfeld can still do anything he wishes with the property.
    Now he can increase his profit by having up to twice the number of units.
    That changes everything. Now tell me what happens to the current tenants that have family and needed 2 bedrooms. Where will they move to ? Just maybe they will attend the next meetings. And Cornfeld now has something of even more value. He also would create more affordable places to rent or SELL. Mark my word that unless wording in the deed restriction restricts the sale of units the end result will be SOLD units to the rich. And that could be a good thing as taxes go up. Gives KW more money to waste.

    From being in the building business most of my life I can tell you this is not a simple construction job to change a 2 bedroom into 2 one bedroom units. First off it means a severe change in the electrical service. We now need 157 more meters, 157 more water heaters, bathrooms, kitchens, pluming, 314 new A / C units as the 157 are now over sized and require re ducting. This is almost more work than building 157 new units. And they would need brought up to code. It also creates parking issues that may or may not be an issue as 2 car families are unlikely in KW.

    This change is another major give away from the city to a private owner.

    Now sit back and watch rents go up for people that now must find a 2 bedroom place.

    Bottom line Cornfeld is not required to do any changes or build any units. Yes this has the potential of creating more housing but only if Cornfeld sees a profit in it. With the added potential the property would now be of higher profit as soon as he closes the deal. He might already have a buyer. He just might walk away in a few months with a nice profit of several million and never do anything more than paper work.

    Yes KW will never be the same. Regardless of who profits from the deal the potential of about 200 more units is a plus. Just what would the rent be for a 1 bedroom apartment ? You can bet it will not be half of 2400 and not much lower than 2400.

    You need to get some experts involved that know what they are doing. I see another disaster coming fast. If building more units on that extra property was a financially smart move they would already been built. Why has the city been sitting on this money so long and not built on the ground they already own ? Almost any bank would lend money on such a project with just the property as collateral.

  23. I’m curious how the units will be reconfigured to accommodate one bedroom apartments on each floor. When you look at the current floor plans (http://www.pearycourt.com/key-west-fl-apartments/peary-court/floorplans/old-town-hammock-184910/is-premium-view/1/), there will need to be some BIG changes. Both floors will need to be gutted and start again from scratch. I suppose new exterior stairways will need to be build that will allow access to the 2nd floor. How will HARC respond to that?

    It is ironic that the Peary Court “family” neighborhood that we have all read so much about will disappear as the families are replaced with working singles and childless couples. It is also ironic that the current Peary Court residents who were promised that they would be allowed to stay, and worked so hard to keep the status quo, will be kicked out.

    The Peary Court promises are already starting to fall apart.

  24. Was told as a teenager, anything not in writing is worth nothing.

    But do not worry. Long before they split the units in half they will build the new 48 units. That by far is less costly and more profitable. Most unless been in construction have no idea how involved splitting the units up would be. And yes pretty much would mean gutting the units. Remodeling is always more costly and time consuming than new construction.

    I truly don’t think Cornfeld will keep the units or any promises. This place will be flipped and the extra ground sold. It is called creative financing.

    Cornfeld is already changing the deal to make it more valuable to him for resale.

    The good news is you still have the 157 units

    Only a few months ago the concerns where over the condition of the building and now ready to split the units.

    What stops him from dozing them down and build new units ? Plan C = Cornfeld .
    Developers do not care about people just profits. With the helping hand of KW he can do it.

  25. I think we all know this deal will happen no matter what the people want. Too much money for not to be some bribes. And if no sale then no money. Just CORRUPT business as usual in KW. The scary part is what can or might happen after Cornfeld owns it. He is getting a blank signed check and has nothing at risk.