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COLUMN

Council Watch

Billy Manes paying attention to local government so you don't have to

In addition to the usual sounds of wet palms slapping stiff shoulder blades, this week's boredom parade featured some drama (and we're not even talking about Commissioner Daisy Lynum's recent rediscovery of Italian sausage!). The dais paid mouth-watering homage to "hottie" firefighter Jessie Salas for saving two lives and a car from an oncoming downtown train during NBA All-Star Weekend. Coincidentally, he's on the cover of this year's city firefighter calendar!

"In addition to saving lives, you could have saved the economic impact to Orlando from the All-Star game," Mayor Buddy Dyer said, not at all callously.

Speaking of near catastrophes, it should be noted that the old Amway Arena is set to be imploded at 7 a.m. on March 25, something bound to rattle you from your hangover slumber or hooker bed. It's not the end of the world; it's just the end of another expensive mistake.

Item: The city approves a valet parking license agreement for Lot 10 and the Jefferson Street parking garage between the city and Tremont.

Translation:Stop us if you think that you've heard this one before. Orlando is envisioning an upscaling of the old-timey Church Street Station via its current owner, TSLF Church Street Retail LLC, aka Tremont, which became the owner by default after two fat men failed at envisioning an upscaling of the old-timey Church Street Station. Coupled with the fact that as recently as 2009, Tremont was trying to unload the 260,000 square feet of old bricks and mortar for upwards of $43 million (which was purchased two years earlier by Cameron Kuhn for $34 million before his belly-shaped balloon popped, leaving Kuhn owing Tremont some $51 million after interest and fees) and the fact that we're still buying the economic-development line of SunRail, the Amway Center and whatever else is supposed to save Church Street, repackaging the historic midway as something glamorous totally seems reasonable. There are no real specifics about Tremont's plans yet – other than "upscale restaurant and lounge uses" – but this item seeks to make certain that whatever Tremont does, it will have the valet parking ability required for such exclusivity. Over a period of 20 years (!) Tremont will pay $7 per day per spot (for at least 12 days a month) for 47 parking spaces in the lot underneath I-4, which the city estimates will bring in a minimum of $47,376 a year. Additionally, Tremont will have access to 100 spaces in the Jefferson Street garage for just $5 per space per day, bringing in an additional $72,000 annually. How much do you suppose Tremont will actually charge for valet parking to make this venture worthwhile? Twenty dollars, probably, which is about what you'll pay for a glass of water just before the upscaling hits the ceiling that forces your lounge back down to the reality of closure.

Item: The city authorizes litigation against Continental Holdings Inc. relating to the former Orlando manufactured gas plant in downtown Orlando.

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