New Colony info frustrates commissioners

 

New Colony info frustrates commissioners

 

Date: July 17, 2013
by: Kurt Schultheis | Managing Editor

 
 

 

The Longboat Key Town Commission has been seeking to review financial information from Stamford, Conn.,-based JHM Financial Group LLC since May 20.

The Colony Beach & Tennis Resort Association’s board selected the company to be the resort’s exclusive developer and to seek settlements from a list of Colony-affected parties.

On July 12, the town received some information from JHM — but it wasn’t what commissioners wanted.
Commissioner Terry Gans requested the company provide financial information at a May 20 special meeting.

Almost two months later, July 11, JHM President John McClutchy Jr. presented to Town Manager Dave Bullock a press kit, a rendering and site plan for a transit-oriented development (a parking garage) project through the Stamford Transportation Center. Once it’s built, the project will follow up with commercial office space, retail space, a 150-room hotel and 150 residential units.

JHM is also one of four principal entities and a managing partner for the redevelopment of Bowles Park and Westbrook Village in Connecticut through an entity called Overlook Village Redevelopment Associates.
But the information, none of which contained financial information about the company’s ability to finance a project, did nothing to calm commissioners’ concerns about the resort’s future.

“While this example is a large project with many units, it is not in any way comparable to the Colony project,” wrote Mayor Jim Brown in a July 11 email to Bullock. “It doesn’t tell us where the financial support comes from or anything about JHM and its ability to produce this project. I’ve been involved in some major developments, but I couldn’t have financed them or gotten the finances for them. It shouldn’t be hard for JHM to put together a financial statement backed by its CPA or someone.”

A long list of questions followed in Brown’s email:
“Why are we getting someone else’s project as an example?”
“What is the financial plan for The Colony?”
“Why is this so difficult?”

“If I had produced 100,000 residential units, I’d have no problem producing a financial statement. If I couldn’t, there would probably be a reason why not.”

Both McClutchy and Association President Jay Yablon declined a request for comment.

Yablon said McClutchy does not wish to discuss the Colony with the press while he works to develop settlement negotiations with affected parties.

Gans responded to the information in his own frustrated email to Bullock July 12.

“It is helpful to the extent it appears to demonstrate Mr. McClutchy can align his company with others and together they can be awarded projects,” Gans wrote. “This information, however, is not what we requested. I can understand a privately held firm being reluctant to publicly disclose confidential financial figures. I do not accept their not producing letters from financial institutions attesting to length and nature of relationships.”
Gans said the information received, “much like the limited information provided on the website, also centers upon low-income and assisted housing.”

“We have been seeking information to allow us to understand, in light of the town’s eroding patience with the Association’s non-movement toward an acceptable renewal of this valuable asset, why the Association has confidence in this development partner and its plans for the property,” Gans wrote. “A mixed-use facility in Stamford is very nice, but this does not further confidence in having a vision for Longboat Key or the ability to successfully conclude the project. I regret not being able to be more positive.”

Colony Association attorney Don Hemke has also provided a list of references from JHM that Bullock is reviewing.

“I’ll believe it when I see it,” Commissioner Jack Duncan said two weeks ago. “With the Colony, nothing comes easy.”

A tourism extension deadline for the Colony remains in place until Dec. 31.

“I don’t think anything will change by December,” Commissioner Lynn Larson said. “At this point, I would like to see the property condemned and sold to a developer who will be forthcoming with us and will actually work to reopen the property.”

Contact Kurt Schultheis at kschultheis@yourobserver.com.

 

 

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Currently 1 Response

  • 1.
  • The Town Commissioner's should run a Dun & Bradstreet report on this proposed developer.
  •  
  • Lee Pokoik
    Thu 18th Jul 2013
    at 11:59pm
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