Rickenbacker Marina Says City Is Trying to Force It Out of Virginia Key

Categories: Unreal Estate

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For more than two decades on the tip of Virginia Key, Rickenbacker Marina has run its business providing boat storage, a rare longtime Miami operator during a period marked by rapid development and soaring property values. But now the marina is claiming the city is pushing it out to make way for a new lessee -- and using dirty tricks to do so. The marina filed a lawsuit yesterday in Miami-Dade civil court detailing its complaints against the city.

"This is not a case where we didn't pay them," David Haber, an attorney for the marina, tells Riptide. "This is a case where the guy's paying his rent for 30 years and they just don't like him anymore and they want someone else. You can speculate on why."

See also: Key Biscayne Wants to Levy Toll for Bicycles On Rickenbacker

The dispute has its roots in the marina's most recent lease renewal, which was signed in 2009 and extended Rickenbacker's operational rights through 2016. As part of the contract, the marina agreed to build an 11-foot-wide walkway -- but that proved impossible, Haber says, because of environmental concerns raised about adjacent mangroves, so a five-foot walkway was built instead and signed off on by the city in 2011.

Two years later, the lawyer says, the city came back and abruptly withdrew its approval of the lease. The marina sued, and the city returned fire with a countersuit alleging that not only was the marina in default because of the reduced width of the walkway, but that the marina also owed the city $2 million, to be paid immediately, because of a stipulation in the lease requiring the marina to compensate the city if a parking structure were constructed.

But the city's real motivation, contends Haber, was political: They wanted to find any way they could to disqualify Rickenbacker from its lease so the city could clear the way for a new bid.

"We found emails saying they were looking to find defaults," Haber says. "Fabricating breaches and litigating with the public's money because they want to one day enrich some other fancy developer is not the way cities are supposed to do business."

The City of Miami did not return Riptide's call for comment.

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31 comments
Jo Braga
Jo Braga

Miami is destroying itself..

formercity
formercity

Anyone in the City familiar with this site and issue knows that this is a Marc Sarnoff play to benefit one of his fancy friends of convenience. I don't think any of the Commissioners or the Mayor are in immediate favor of a garage when they know that one will be included in the new bid. Sarnoff is cutting off his nose to spite his face, again. What a prick. I feel for the owner, he's a good kid who has dramatically improved the place since he took over from his Dad, remember hims as a very nice Indian man. Sarnoff is termed out in 2015. Stay strong Rickenbacker! 

kamzoori
kamzoori

Real simple, lease is up, operator was given an extension during which time he was supposed to pony up his share of money ($2mm) to build a parking garage, he didn't do it and now he's in default and the lease is up for bid.

The mere fact that the operator has been there for 30 years is a problem in and of itself. I'm sure whoever comes in after them will pay considerably more rent which the city desperately needs.

See this as what it is, a desperate press release from the tenant's attorney to try to garner support for his client who is clearly in default.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.......................city officials simply want a pay-off or bribe and everything will be fine again - city officials do this all the time to illegal operators who have to pay or be shut down

nothing in MIAMI is legitimate - it's ALL just one big corrupt samba dance

this marina better start handling cocaine shipments coming in to afford the corruption

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

HeHeHe

Tell me again how Keynesian economics is good.

James G. Camp
James G. Camp

When there are no marinas, what will they have ? Restaurants for the most part aren't always success stories. Marian must be a solid business model if they are 30 years old ?

Linda Cintron
Linda Cintron

Miami is really looking to burst the next bubble.

Tony Prieto
Tony Prieto

It's another case of Miami being destroyed. Let's build another condo and overpriced seafood restaurant.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

......................my question is why interupt a LEGITIMATE business when there are so many illegal operations in MIAMI ?

and as for RENT collections, is the city pursuing the MIAMI-BILTMORE ? or the HEAT ? or anyone at all for the old MIAMI arena that still isn't paid off ?

sounds to me corrupt politicians want a kick-back or bribe to fraudulently push this issue around and are using public taxpayer dollars to cause enough problems that the legitimate business eventually agrees to pay under-the-table amounts to the commissioners and inspectors and all the other city officials with their hands out

marieltios in suits and elected public office are still marielitos = period

305carolann
305carolann

@frankd4 Are you a native?  You must be because you sure know how Miami operates! 

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

......................the only thing wrong with CAPITALISM is it is run by CAPITALISTS

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

..................yeah but apparently they are a LEGITIMATE operation and do NOT pay bribes and kick-backs to these local officials who can very easily substitute this legitimate business with their marielito friends operations who WILL pay these city officials kick-backs and bribes - its how they roll in MIAMI

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

................you know guys like real estate developer jorge PEREZ are paying through the nose - big time - except he can pass those costs onto the drug king pins who buy his condos

kamzoori
kamzoori

Frank,

What if you run a legitimate business like the tenant does and would like to bid on the lease, shouldn't you have the opportunity to? What is that makes you feel that they have a right to stay there forever? Lease is up, end of story and they're not allowed to rebid because of their past history. What's so hard to grasp?

Frankly, I think the marina should be turned over to the city for them to run and let them collect all the income. The city does a fine job running Dinner Key and Bayside's marina, why not give it to the city?

kamzoori
kamzoori

Frank, once again, the lease is up and the city is soliciting new bids. Current tenant is excluded from rebidding because of past indiscretions, end of story.

Unless there's a clause in the lease or lease extension that states that the current tenant is guaranteed a leasehold interest into perpetuity, then the current tenant is completely out of gas. NEXT!

Btw Frank, the Biltmore does not come under the purview of the city of Miami as its located in Coral Gables. The American Airlines arena, although located within the city of Miami was actually deeded over to the County before the construction of the arena therefore also not under the command and control of the City of Miami.

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@305carolann @frankd4  


well if you consider residing in south florida full time going on twenty-five years a native, i guess i am


i myself used to separate snow-birds from natives by the number and intensity of the hurricanes one has endured


i just often wonder why the sense of community doesn't exist down here compared to elsewhere and why things don't last very long term - despite all the demand for it - and why the transplants can't successfully bring with them these ideals and customs from eleswhere


fact is they do - in sarasota and naples and destin and elsewhere in florida - BUT NOT IN MIAMI which simply refuses to assimilate into america = period


its both a fascination and a curse

Anthonyvop1
Anthonyvop1 topcommenter

@frankd4 That is a stupid thing to say.  Where has anything bad happen when the Free Market was allowed to exist unencumbered?  (Do your research before you answer)

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

.................well that's a common move - in MIAMI you either have to become a marielito or move out

so the honest operators of that marina are doomed

kamzoori
kamzoori

Frank, neither gables or Miami, I pulled out of the cesspool known out as Miami Dade county over two decades ago. The third rate corruption that goes on down there truly defines the term "Bannana Republic".

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@kamzoori  


there was a florist in coral gables who operated out of a location directly under the city owned parking lot yet could not pay its rent on time and eventually fell many months behind - since so many residents felt it a beneficial service to the community - they let it go on 


here you have obvious drug interests coming in and just like at the airport and at all the high-end luxury condo towers drug king pins can pay premiums to run their illicit operations - the marileitos are taking that marina over and will soon enough become a PUBLIC nuisance like the marina NEVER before was


where would you rather live - in coral gables among the community spirited or in MIAMI among the marielitos in suits who are drug king pins ?

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@kamzoori  


otherwise i remember the olde dayz of the five airport services and baggage handling  operators not paying any RENT and instead paying kick-backs and bribes to JOEL GERSTEN - they could simply because they were running so much cocaine through the airport that money was no problem (why the didn't just pay the rent i'll never understand)


somehow public nuisance ordinances should prevail or the drug king pins will soon buy up and control all of MIAMI

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@kamzoori  


what about the olde MIAMI ARENA - is the bond and municipal financing paid off in full on that ?

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@kamzoori  


of course the law is on the side of the city


what i'm saying is a thirty year old HONEST and LEGITIMATE business is about to be replaced by marielitos who will pay more to run cocaine through MIAMI than any normal operation can afford


just like the $562,ooo,ooo baseball stadium is NEVER going to pay for itself while the local neighborhood residents got parking violations and were subject to predatory towing scams and are seeing their community disintegrate

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

........my point is KEYNESIAN economics has nothing to do with MIAMI and otherwise capitalism works just fine until greedy capitalists tilt the level playing field

the fix is in and someone here posted MARC SARNOFF the the bad capitalist in this scam = period

government intervention is neither good nor bad - it's the effects that matter

saving a community should be job 1 here but certain interests will prevail over common sense and decency just like what happened in hialeah and that baseball stadium since corruption is rampant in MIAMI and the drug money and influence can out bid all legitimate enterprises

frankd4
frankd4 topcommenter

@Anthonyvop1 @frankd4  


  1. Herbert Hoover was quoted as
    saying the only thing wrong with capitalism is capitalists.

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