Manatee County's Long Bar Pointe project too big a threat to environment

July 16, 2013 

I was an officer of the Urban Land Institute, the world's premier real estate organization, and was portfolio manager of over $40 billion of real estate investments.

Manatee County paid over $100,000 for ULI advice, now ignored. Commissioners are on the brink of disaster if they change the comprehensive plan to allow Carlos Beruff's Long Bar Pointe project.

The ULI panel told commissioners that supporting "greenfield" developments like this creates costly sprawl. They said the focus should be shifted to existing developed areas while cutting the incentives to undeveloped areas.

Beruff has not demonstrated significant hotel development experience and has no committed hotel operator for his pipe-dream five-star hotel.

He talks about the number of jobs that will be created (hotel jobs are very low paying). He mentions financing from Bain Capital, with a reputation for vulture lending and quick pay backs. If Bain supports environmental damage, having been allowed this by our commissioners' approval, irreparable damage will be done.

Large insurance companies and pension funds are the predominant, long-term lenders to hotel projects. They, and hotel companies, are wary of being associated with any environmental problems.

It's bad investment!

In support, here is the conclusion of ULI's June 26 statement by its CEO, Patrick L. Phillips: "In the real world, climate change has become a global issue with dramatic local ramifications. It's one of several forces -- equaling economic, demographic and societal changes in significance -- that are compelling us to explore different approaches to development in the 21st century. Redevelopment should be viewed as an opportunity to reduce risk in the future, enhance livability, restore natural resources, and increase community resilience. We look forward to contributing solutions that result in communities that are both safe and livable for generations to come."

Bradenton, ignore this at your peril!

William Ripberger


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