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The Condo Connection
and columns from our Condo News Correspondents
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Il Circolo's Dr. Myriam Ruthenberg Retires
Former Condo News Office Manager Celebrates 85th B-Day
Former Palm Beach Hawaiian to be Razed
The Claridges Hoists New Flag
Pines of Delray West Wins Award
New Boat Dock at Oasis Palm Beach
Beach County drenched by T.S. Isaac
FP&L Demolition of old power plant in Riviera Beach, FL
Echoes of the Blast ... Where did all the 1515 promises go?
1515 Finally Down and Wrapping Up 1515
Circolo, the Italian Cultural Society,
the retirement of
Circolo, the Italian Cultural Society, announces the retirement of
Dr. Myriam Ruthenberg. More than 35 years ago, Il Circolo donated
$5000 to Florida Atlantic University in the hopes of starting an
Italian program. Myriam, at that time, was completing her
dissertation at NYU. Since no teacher was available to implement the
Italian program, she applied, was promptly called in for an
interview, and immediately hired. And thus, began a program which
evolved into a full-study curriculum, even offering a PHD in
Comparative Studies, with a track in Italian. Dr.Ruthenberg, in her
endeavor to enrich the program, added scholars Dr. Anthony Tamburri,
now Dean of Italian Studies at the Calandra Institute in New York
City, and Dr. Ilaria Serra and her husband, Emanuele Pettener, still
on the staff at FAU. In addition, the Italian Government, to honor
Dr. Ruthenberg for spreading its culture in the United States
awarded her the title of Cavaliere, the equivalent of
April 19, 2021, Dr. Ruthenberg was honored at FAU. Members of Il
Circolo’s Board of Directors, Antonella Brancaccio and Chris
Salamone , attended the ceremony and added their congratulations and
gratitude on behalf of the entire membership.
Circolo held a summer get-together luncheon on July 10 , where Dr.
Ruthenberg was lauded and given a clock as a gift. "You have
stood the test of time," she was told. (photo above)
investment Il Circolo made has brought the richest of returns,
taking pride knowing that our young students have benefited from our
support. We salute Dr. Ruthenberg for skillfully and relentlessly
making this possible and wish her a peaceful and enjoyable rest.
Condo News Office Manager Celebrates 85th Birthday
by Jimmy Shirley
(Standing) Jimmy Shirley and Betty Thomas of the Condo News;
Barbara’s sister Debby Quigley-Markovic of Everglades of North
Palm Beach; Barbara’s sister-in-law and brother Nancy and Willy
Ochs of La Pinata, Greenacres. (Seated) Barbara Langley of Pine
Ridge III, Greenacres. Barbara is holding Ginger, former greeter of
the West Palm Beach Condo News office.
36 years, Barbara Langley was the first person one would see when
coming to the Condo News office. She started work September
12, 1982. Her last day was March 30, 2018, when she retired and we
closed the office, relying instead, on the Internet to do business.
She was the office manager, classified manager, distribution manager
and my right hand person.
and I go back to 1978 when we both worked in a business owned by my
then husband in Maryland. About two years after Barbara left
Maryland to be near her late mother, Vicki Ochs, former Condo
News photographer, I too, came to Florida to be near my mother.
That was in January 1983 and Barbara had been working for the paper
for 3½ months. I came to visit her for a couple of days and wound
up working for the paper myself. It was like slipping back into our
prospective desks (in Maryland). We assumed the same working
cooperation we enjoyed in Maryland, and it continued that way until
she left the Condo News.
April 19, 2021, Barbara celebrated her 85th birthday with her sister
and caregiver Debbie, her brother Willy and his wife Nancy, Jimmy
Shirley, Condo News photographer, and myself. And of course,
Ginger, her Pomeranian, who was the full-time greeter at the
Condo News office.
enough can be said about Barbara, but let it be known, I am
fortunate to have had her as a co-worker and friend. The Condo
News was fortunate to have her.
85th Birthday, Barbara.
News Select Archived
Palm Beach Hawaiian to be Razed
by Jimmy Shirley
Palm Beach Oceanfront Inn is flanked by Horizon East Condominium
on the south (right) and Tuscany Condominium on the north (left).
Palm Beach Oceanfront Inn, formerly known as the Palm Beach
Hawaiian, will soon give way to a new condominium. The 50 year old
Polynesian style hotel was the only retail business in South Palm
Beach. Tides Bar & Grill, which occupied the ocean side of the
building, was a popular watering-hole for many decades. The
58-room hotel drew patrons from all over, many of whom were
Wilma in 2005 took out most of the beach and the building had
deteriorated badly. In its place will be a 6-story condominium.
Claridges Condominium Hoists New Flag
Sen. Maria Sachs presents George Fisher a flag that was flown over
the Capitol in Tallahassee.
Photo by Jimmy Shirley
by Jimmy Shirley
Fisher and Claridges property Manager Robert McCullock prepare
raise the new flag in front of the Claridges Condominium in Palm Beach.
December 15, at the Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge Christmas
meeting, Florida Senator Maria Sachs presented George Fisher,
president of the VBOB Chapter, a flag that was flown over the
Capitol in Tallahassee (pictured above).
month, on October 30th, Mr. Fisher and the Manager of The
Claridges, Robert McCullock, LCAM, raised the flag in front of the
condominium. A plaque on the flag pole reads: "This flag was
flown over the Capitol in Tallahassee in honor of George Fisher,
veteran of the Battle of the Bulge and Claridges resident.
of Delray West Wins Community Excellence Award for Financial
the award for Pines West Association from left to right:
Picerno –Director; Bob Gizzarelli – Vice Pres.; Tom Comparato
– President; Teri Fifth – Manager; John Critelli – Treasurer
of Delray West Association won the Community Excellence Award for
Financial Innovation of small communities, presented, by the
Florida Community Association Journal. The awards of excellence
was created in 2008 and recognizes communities throughout the
state of Florida in a host of categories. The awards are
independently judged by a panel of industry and government
professionals. The gala and presentation took place at the Rosen
Plaza in Orlando Florida, on May 2, 2014
of Delray won the award because they demonstrated their ability to
cut costs and maintain condo fees, by rebidding contracts,
deciding when to use outside vendors or in-house maintenance staff
searching out the best insurance company for maximum coverage at
lowest rates and by constantly reviewing costs and ability to save
and not eliminate any community services. Pines of Delray West has
Management Team, as well as an active Financial Committee
consisting of non board members that creates transparency, and
they all work together for the greater good.
of Delray West was established in 1978 and consists of 288 condos.
Pines of Delray West is managed by Campbell Property Management
out of Deerfield Beach, since 2007.
Beach County Drenched by T.S. Isaac
and below: Flooding of the streets and parking lots in Springdale Homes,
Palm Springs, FL Notice the strip of grass in the picture below
separating the lake from the parking lot.
by Jimmy L. Shirley, Jr.
Florida's first taste of the 2012 hurricane season arrived in Palm Beach
County on August 27 in the form of a feeder band that had separated from
the main storm, Tropical Storm Isaac. It stretched from Cuba up the east
coast of Florida while the main body of the storm was in the Gulf of
Mexico heading for Louisiana, and eventually becoming a category 1
hurricane before making landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi
a storm that was expected, by the National Weather Service, to dump from
4 to 6 inches of rain on Palm Beach County, but instead, dropped up to
18 inches in some spots, Isaac sure packed a wallop. Springdale Homes in
Palm Springs, Fla. received its fair share, tabulating about 9 inches of
rain late Monday morning to around 4 PM. This left us with knee-deep
water in many of our parking lots after Monday, not to mention the main
western towns of Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, the Acreage
were flooded for more than a couple of weeks. In order to be eligible
for FEMA aid, at least 18 inches of water must have flooded their homes.
Since most of the homes were build up high on "pads", federal
aid is not available for them. The high water became contaminated with
septic tank water, fluids from cars and trucks as well as from some
unlicensed car repair shops. So, they must look to themselves in the
spirit of real Americans of self reliance, instead of governmental
Echoes of the
Where Did All the 1515
Commentary by Jeanine
only the last weeks of 2010 before us, I want to bring our
returning Condo News readers some updates regarding the
current status of the large brown, barren, vacant parcel at 1515
South Flagler Drive in West Palm Beach. During this summer, the
August announcement of the foreclosure lawsuit against New York
City-based Trinity 1515 LLC and managing member Edmund Abramson is
working its way through Palm Beach County Circuit Court. In
addition to the $36 million owed First Commonwealth Bank of
Pennsylvania, another $1.3 million in interest has accrued as of
September 1st. The mortgage was due on Feb. 21st, 2010. It
replaced the original $24 million from Kennedy Funding.
searching the tax rolls for the Arkona a/k/a/ Tower 1515, the
total market value of the parcel now is listed as $10,500,000 and
$254,325 is the total tax pending. I have questioned many
officials, many times, why no figures are listed for 2008 and 2009
on the Tax Collector’s website. The best answer I got was the
original condo owners, not Trinity 1515 LLC, was responsible for
the ’08 and ’09 obligation for these 2 years taxes even though
it was clear these unfortunate previous owners were long gone and
their units were sold. The date of February 3rd, 2007 has always
been given as when the property was sold and closed for 32 million
additional amount of the outstanding loan according to Abramson
"... was necessary to obtain the Modern’s zoning and
Trinity had intended to repay the loan with a construction
loan." He expects construction to start in 12 - 16 months and
the clock to cancel the hard fought rezoning is tied to beginning
actual construction. In March, long before the foreclosure action,
a construction lien of $60,000 was placed by Urban Design Studios
aka Kilday and Associates on the 1515 South Flagler property. A
contract signed with Paul Grillo was documented for the
professional services provided to guide the rezoning through the
commission process. The lien is for May ‘09 to December ‘09
and remains unpaid. The Planning and Zoning Firm has been added to
the August foreclosure submittal.
Palm Beach Attorney Peter Bernhardt, who represents the bank, said
the full $36 million is outstanding and I continue searching for
any information if Trinity has a chance to work this out.
a different side of the Modern’s history, using more than 3,000
sticks of dynamite, the remains of the 30 story 1515 Condo Tower
originally called the Arkona, were imploded by Advanced Explosives
Demolition on February 14, 2010.
week, that company no longer can claim an accident free record for
27 years. Wednesday, November 12th at noon, the AED demolition of
a 300 foot smokestack at an Ohio power plant went terribly wrong.
Lisa and Eric Kelly the company owners, had little patience last
year when the plan to implode the 1515 during the holidays was
denied. Because our city and construction supervisor, Doug Wise,
put safety in front of a chance to become a TV reality show
episode of the "Imploders", our takedown occurred in
February with enormous safety rules in place.
to the Dayton Daily news accounts, the explanation of why
the blast did not send the stack to the cleared area directly to
the east, but went crashing down to the southeast, was an
undetected crack in the tower.
the live electrical lines falling, 25 media members, demolition
crews and the Kelly family members scattered to avoid the
crackling lines. WHLO-TV videographer Eric Higgenbotham
stated, "We were standing under the power lines, it was like
the end. We were running for our lives." The two 12,000 volt
power lines also came down on a building housing backup
generators. Power was out to the west side of the city for hours.
justified fears and concerns of the 1515 neighbors and city
officials who labored to ensure the best outcome, along with the
Condo News’ unwavering support, made this comment by Lisa
Kelly NOT a part of our collective memory, "Nobody’s happy
with things that go wrong in life, and sometimes it’s out of our
hands and beyond anybody’s prediction." she stated.
remain convinced the "public unified demand" for every
possible safety factor and several rigorous pre-inspections might
have made the difference in our city.
we have been successful in our goal of removing a terrible blight
on our waterfront, I have been writing your Condo Design
column. I have come to realize my passion remains in the visual
satisfaction of creating a room, not in putting the Rules and Don’t
into words. I plan on continuing submitting the social goings on
at Rapallo Condominium, as well as any major news regarding the
Modern project when our local paper does not give as much detail
every politician says when departing whether by scandal or choice,
"I want to travel and spend more time with my family."
See full story of 1515 take-down below)
by Betty Thomas: On Labor Day weekend in 2004, Palm Beach
County was hit by Hurricane Frances, and 3 weeks later by
Hurricane Jeanne. They made landfall very nearly at the same place
in Hutchinson Island, some 35-40 miles north of West Palm Beach.
H. Frances, a category 2 at landfall, had an unusually large
eye, 80 miles across, torrential rains and lingered nearly
stationary, moving only 5 miles an hour, with hurricane force
winds pummeling West Palm Beach for nearly 2 days. H. Jeanne
struck Florida as a category 3, with a 60 mile wide eye and moved
out the same day. The following year, Hurricane Wilma made
her entrance on the west coast of Florida October 24, 2005,
crossed the state in about 6 hours, with the eye passing over West
Palm Beach. Winds were measured at 92 miles per hour with gusts
112-117 mph over Lake Okeechobee. The 1515 Tower on Flagler Drive
in West Palm Beach (pictured above) sustained devastating damage
during Frances and Jeanne, rendering the building uninhabitable,
but not condemned by the City of West Palm Beach. Wilma added to
the damage by blowing more debris through the structure
endangering surrounding buildings. The status of 1515 remained in
flux until February 14 , and residents in nearby condominiums were exasperated
by seemingly endless wrangling between the developer, who bought the property for redevelopment, and the City
Commission. At 30 stories high, the 1515 was the
tallest building in the state of Florida to be imploded, and the
third tallest in the nation. Below are some photos of the
demolition and Jeanine Heidtman's account. Still to come, the
clean-up and eventual construction of The Modern on that site.
Heidtman reports on the implosion of the 1515 and aftermath to
5½ years over in 7 seconds!
by Andres Garcia,
from the Royal Park Bridge
West Palm Beach
from the roof of Rapallo North Condominium shows the Viding Arms
(foreground) and the Norton Park Condominiums with the pile of
debris of what was the 1515 Tower.
by Andres Garcia, Rapallo No. doorman
of the Royal Park Bridge from the roof of the Rapallo North
Condominium on Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach.
by Andres Garcia, Rapallo No. doorman
the live broadcast of the 1515 South Flagler Drive Implosion and in
depth stories by our local newspaper, it would appear all ended well.
of the diligent requirements and safety measures in place under the
direction of Doug Wise, Director of Construction Services, we witnessed
the most modern methods of taking down such a tall structure. With the
push of a button by Elyja Kelly, 6 year old daughter of AED’s Kelly
family , the building fell, the wind sent the dust cloud over to Palm
Beach and the hundreds of boats watching made a mad dash to get away.
AED Demolition gone from Palm Beach County after their "picture
perfect implosion," there is one Condo who did not fare very well.
spoke to Seth Schulman, Manager of the Viking Arms, just south of the
implosion who told me "after further assessment, our roof suffered
significant damage. The blast threw out large chunks of concrete and
steel rebar that penetrated our roof system in over 40 places. We have
been told by City Officials to file with our Insurance Company, but no
person from the BG Group has come over as requested several times. The
roof is only several years old and cost over $200,000 and has to be
professionally repaired so it will remain under warranty in the future.
We are hoping temporary patches will hold till we can get it taken care
of. We also have our screen balconies and windows covered with thick
cement dust and bent aluminum rail damage to be addressed. Despite
additional calls, there has been no one over to the Viking Arms to
evaluate and discuss solutions even though BG Group is working right
after I was allowed to return to the Rapallo, I gathered a large amount
of golf ball and larger cement chunks which had fallen into our parking
lot. The total removal of all our cars surely saved a lot of damage to
was very pleased overall from the cooperative spirit between condo
residents and the police who were organizing every aspect of safety. A
definite feeling of respect was shown by spectators for the many
necessary rules during the event. Watching from Olive Avenue and the
Norton Museum where VIP and Press were set up, I spoke with one former
resident of 1515, who asked to be nameless, about her home of almost 30
years permanently gone in 8 seconds. She recalled the glorious view each
morning while having her coffee, never imagining it would someday end so
abruptly from the Hurricanes.
worst part before today, was the hopes for restoration of the 1515 being
followed by disappointment afterwards. She felt being there in person to
watch would finally give her some ending emotionally. I truly hope it
Frankel greeted the crowd assembled with Hershey’s Kisses for
Valentine’s Day, and Bill Moss appeared to be the only City
Commissioner in our viewing area.
before blast, I started speaking with the person next to me who turned
out to be Susan Wise, whose husband was Director for the Implosion. I
commented the enormous responsibility Doug was just completing and he
should take a long needed rest. She and their four children were just
looking forward to getting "Dad and Husband back again."
to come ... the Aftermath ...
March 24, 2010
the most often asked question after the long hoped for implosion, is how
is the fast shrinking pile of debris being dealt with.
Wise, City of West Palm Beach Construction Services, who has turned in
his "Demolition Hard Hat" after a job well done, sent me the
City Code 109.3.10 regarding the specific language concerning the impact
widely inclusive Code states, "All activity cannot adversely impact
conditions of adjacent properties unless consent is granted by the
property owners with exact terms and conditions. This includes but not
limited to dust, noise, debris and construction materials."
speaking with Denny Johnson, a resident of Norton Park Place
Condominium, to thank him for some new amazing shots of the building
falling, I received the following e-mail:
am feeling positive regarding the on-going rubble cleanup at 1515 South
Flagler. There has been no unwelcome weekend activity, and things are
well organized to separate the enormous amount of rebar from the cement.
truck is covered with a retractable screen and they are hosing down the
dust constantly throughout the day. At their current rate, the lot
should be clean by April 1st. In summary, the Dental Office on Arkona
Drive is not very happy with the aftermath of the implosion and if you
venture near to see the rubble from a different vantage, you are asked
to leave. Certainly he has every right."
Schulman reports the roof repairs on the Viking Arms were to begin March
9th, but no agreement has been reached for the significant clean-up of
resident balconies. With the additional ongoing cloud of dust created,
it would be futile for much actual work to begin. Trinity Development
has acknowledged this responsibility by City Code to comply, and that
granting final approval to sign off on the Demolition permit can be
with-held. We hope the BG Group will inform us of their plan for
restoring our property without further delay.
the most favorable news to share, is the changed route for trucks
removing the debris. According to Brian Collins, City Traffic Official
in a phone call this morning, "No longer are trucks permitted to
exit and go south on Flagler Drive through the El Cid Historic District.
Now required is a left out of the Demolition site north to Okeechobee
Blvd. and then proceeding west on Okeechobee where commercial vehicles
are standard fare.
returning trucks come east on Okeechobee, travel a short distance south
on Flagler Drive, but use Arkona Drive and Olive Avenue to come back in
for reloading. This prevents any turn around on the narrow Historic
Streets of Mango Promenade, particularly on Cranes Nest Way, just south
of the Norton Museum. This has solved the many numerous complaints and
also moved the traffic away from the Museum."
of us wish however, the traffic congestion from student pick-up from
Palm Beach Day Academy would be finally dealt with as quickly.
Foreman of the 1515 site has stated to the City Officials, "Any
trucks not obeying the Flagler Drive and other restrictions should
report the name on the side of the vehicle and the person will be dealt
with immediately. With all our surrounding Condominium owners now
enjoying their new view, there will be plenty of eyes from above
watching the efforts.
call to 822-2222 at City Hall has resulted in fast and successful
resolution of problems for concerned citizens.
April 1st, 2010, is a bit optimistic for a completely cleared site but
no one is venturing a comment beyond grass and irrigation required by
the end of May.
the Modern units to start at over $3 million, many will be waiting for
their income tax checks before they make the anticipated $800,000
property taxes to be around $70,000 per year, you’ll have to dig
deeper in your pockets than the 25 foot excavation planned just 1 foot
from all 1515 site property lines, necessary for the underground parking
garage. The neighborhood hopes this anticipated step down the line,
whenever and if it occurs will be "Picture perfect too."
issue, back to ideas and trends in 2010 Spring decorating. I’m turning
in my "Hard Hat" as well.
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