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Date of Issue: January 26, 2006

Condo project negotiations: Maybe, maybe not

Negotiations? Or maybe just forget it and pay the fees all over again.

The jury is still out on just what will happen with the lapsed building permit acquired by GSR Development for the proposed Rosa Del Mar condominium project, 2510 Gulf Drive, Bradenton Beach. GSR had received city permission to proceed with the 14-unit Gulffront project last year, but after no "permanent construction occurred" within a six-month time frame - the length of the permit - the original permit was declared "null and void" by Building Official Ed Mc Adam.

GSR principal Steve Noriega had originally requested the city enter into negotiations with him in an apparent attempt to avoid paying the hefty permit fees again. The original permit cost about $122,000; the new permit, based on a fee increase approved by the city late last year pumps the charge up to $142,000, he said.

City commissioners tentatively agreed last week to allow Mc Adam and Noriega to begin talks regarding the project.

Mayor John Chappie suggested the tenor of those discussions should include some enhancements to the city in consideration of any fee waiver, such as dune walkovers in the area near the project.

He suggested that the project site be returned to its original condition. A large quantity of sand is currently piled on the western fringe of the site.

Chappie also said that City Attorney Ricinda Perry should be involved in the negotiation process, with her legal fees and any other city-determined consultants involved paid by GSR.

City Commissioner John Shaughnessy questioned the entire negotiation process request, noting that the normal procedure for any question on a building official's action was through the city's board of adjustment.

Then Noriega stepped up to the plate.

He said that the original permit was approved by Holmes Beach building officials while Bradenton Beach was without a building official. GSR discovered deficiencies in the project's structural design and in other aspects of the project, stopped work and retained the services of another architect - all of which took time, he said.

"I don't think we need to pay the whole cost again," Noriega said. "But maybe we should just pay the permit fee again, if we have to pay all these attorneys."

Commissioners agreed to let Mc Adam and Noriega begin talks about the future of the Rosa Del Mar project.

Noriega and GSR Development LLC partner Robert Byrnes set an Island record in June 2003 with the price paid for the 1.2-acre property at $7.9 million. The land had held four structures, including three resort motels.

Original plans for the condo project as approved by the city's planning and zoning board in late August 2003 called for 14 units in two buildings. Sale price for units at that time was placed between $1.5 and $1.7 million.