Developer to Children – “You’re on Your own Suckas”: For Sea Level Rise, – “I’ll Be Dead” is Not a Plan

June 1, 2018

Jeff Goodell’s book “The Water will Come” is a bestseller describing the oncoming freight train of impacts from sea level rise – much of which is already baked in and unstoppable.

When I was with Jeff in Miami working on a the videos on this page, I remember him relating a colorful story about a major Miami developer.

Wiki: 

Jorge M. Pérez (born October 17, 1949) is an American billionaire real estate developer, art collector, philanthropist and author.[3] He is best known as the chairman and CEO of The Related Group.[4] He is ranked 264th on the Forbes 400 list with a net worth of $3 billion as of October, 2017.[5] He is a longtime friend of U.S. president Donald Trump and has built Trump-branded properties.[6]

supportdarksnow

Miami Herald:

When author Jeff Goodell approached developer Jorge Pérez during a party at the Pérez Art Museum to ask him if sea level rise had changed his approach to building, the chairman and CEO of The Related Group replied: “In 20 or 30 years, someone is going to find a solution for this. Besides, by that time, I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”

That quote made it into Goodell’s 2017 book, “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World,” a chilling, exhaustively researched look at the growing environmental threat poised to become a global disaster.

Because Pérez rarely speaks about sea level rise, his quote from the book went viral — embodying the seemingly cavalier approach real estate developers have toward sea level rise in coastal cities.

During an interview with the Miami Herald to celebrate the upcoming opening of Related’s latest project — the 57-story SLS Lux Brickell condo hotel at 805 South Miami Avenue — Pérez called his comment “idiotic,” although he also says he doesn’t remember saying it.

Here is a transcript of Pérez’s reaction to the infamous quote and his overall thoughts on environmental issues.

“Let me tell you — and I want to be very very candid, even though it might sound politically incorrect — I have no idea who this reporter is. I have absolutely no recollection of a reporter coming to me and asking me these questions. So everything that I am saying now is speculation as to what I could have [said], knowing myself. Okay?

“If I’m in the middle of a gala that I have put together and I have all kinds of friends and press asking me questions, I might have said something that was improper, maybe as a joke. Because anybody [who] knows me knows that environmentally I am very sensitive. I havetaken strong positions against the Trump administration on everything they are doing that is environmentally incorrect, [such as] leaving the Paris treaty, the exploitation of natural resources and taking global warming lightly.

“To be very clear, when I [talk about] the major issues that we have, the environment is always one of them. You will hear me talk about affordable housing, public transportation, high-paying jobs — Florida continues to produce jobs like crazy, but they are not jobs that can really provide for middle and upper middle class families — and finally the environment. Those are the topics that again and again and again, living in a coastal city, I’m very aware that we [face].

“So I am sorry that that quote ever happened. I did not mean that at all. Not only do I have children, but I hope to have grandchildren [who] will be here 30, 50, 100 years from now. It is very important for me that we are environmentally conscious, particularly in coastal areas. This doesn’t just apply to Miami. Fort Lauderdale, Tampa, Jacksonville, Atlanta, Washington DC and New York have the same problems. We’re getting warmer because of the gases that are staying in the atmosphere. The icebergs and the frozen caps in the north and south poles are melting and sea levels are going to rise.

“The question we need to ask ourselves as South Floridians is ‘What can we do?’ As citizens of the world, we’re talking a much longer-term strategy, because it doesn’t matter what we do in South Florida if everyone else messes up the environment. As citizens of the world, we have to be conscious about not driving as much or using electric cars. [We need to lower] anything that causes pollution and gases to stay in the atmosphere.

“On a local basis, what can we do as developers? We can make our buildings higher to withstand a two-foot [sea surge]. As government, we have to [make] better sewers and pumping systems to get the water out of certain areas. Elevate the level of the roads. Increase the [heights] of sea walls and so forth. There’s a number of specific actions that should be taken in order for us to be able to control the sea rise and global warming. It is an important, important issue.

miamicondo

Michael Stavaridis – New York Times

New York Times:

 

A 21st-century Atlantis-in-the-making is how many scientists think of Miami Beach. With a projected sea-level rise of three to four feet by the century’s end, huge chunks of the barrier-island city are expected to lie beneath the Atlantic Ocean. But Hany Boutros is staying.

In fact, Mr. Boutros, 43, a Detroit-area health care executive and real estate developer, has built a new 3,500-square-foot home in South Beach, the city’s most threatened neighborhood.

“I would be foolish if I didn’t take sea-level rise into consideration, but it’s not going to stop me from living the life I want,” he said, standing inside his Prairie Avenue home’s entryway. “I found a solution,” he added, motioning to the retractable automated stairway that connects a 9,400-square-foot open-air gated tropical garden and parking area with the three-bedroom house above it.

Designed by the Miami architect Rene Gonzalez as the first in a series of luxury “elevated houses” around South Florida, it has been built to allow up to 10 feet of storm surge to safely flow underneath it.

“The house already went through a test when Irma hit,” Mr. Boutros said, referring to the hurricane that swamped greater Miami in September. It was reported that Irma’s 185-mile-an-hour winds had largely spared the area, but it was a different story on the ground. Wind-driven rain flooded the ultramodern high rises and Art Deco hotels alike; two feet of water sloshed through some neighborhoods, while others were left without electricity for weeks.

Back in Michigan, Mr. Boutros was poking around Facebook, desperate for a post-Irma update on how his new house had fared.

miamicondo2

Michael Stavaridis – New York Times

“I saw a nearby neighbor posting pictures of flooding and tree damage as she walked around,” he said.

r. Boutros messaged her, gave her the access codes to the control panels that essentially run his home and asked her to step inside it. The rest of the street had lost power, but his front gate opened, and the retractable staircase smoothly descended 10 feet on its system of pulleys and cables.

“Because I have a generator that turns on automatically, the house ended up being a shelter. I said, ‘Bring your friends, bring your kids, there’s hot water for showers — please use it!’ I had zero damages. It was as if Irma went around my house,” he said.

That was no accident, Mr. Gonzalez said. “Rather than fighting the situation, we have to create spaces that allow us to live in a way that is closer to the environment, closer to the way the Seminole Indians in Florida lived,” with their Chickee huts up off the ground on stilts, protecting against water and allowing ventilating breezes to blow through.

Mr. Gonzalez has taken that same approach to the glass walls of this home’s living room. They act as pocket doors, entirely sliding away to create another open-air space. Unlike many of his contemporaries, Mr. Gonzalez used glass sparingly. With the home’s overall cost at $1,700 a square foot, exposed and treated concrete dominates “with planes that just float, without gravity, if you will.”

“The walls don’t touch the floor. They go up beyond the ceiling, appearing to continue to the sky. It gives you the effect of infinite space.”

That much was clear in Jeff Goodell’s 2017 book “The Water Will Come: Rising Seas, Sinking Cities, and the Remaking of the Civilized World.” Mr. Goodell wrote of cornering Jorge Pérez at an event honoring Ms. Oka Doner inside his namesake Pérez Art Museum Miami.

Ms. Oka Doner had already sold her Miami Beach home, convinced that it would soon be underwater. Mr. Pérez, one of South Florida’s largest condo developers, was more skeptical. Asked by Mr. Goodell if sea-level rise had altered his business thinking, he replied curtly that it hadn’t. Pressed, Mr. Pérez said, “In 20 or 30 years, someone is going to find a solution for this.” He added, “Besides, by that time, I’ll be dead, so what does it matter?”

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15 Responses to “Developer to Children – “You’re on Your own Suckas”: For Sea Level Rise, – “I’ll Be Dead” is Not a Plan”

  1. lracine Says:

    What was the carbon foot print for the $100 Million flood prevention project in Miami?

    http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article129284119.html

    This is insane.

    • dumboldguy Says:

      The carbon footprints are usually under some muddy water and is hard to see and measure—-if it ever dries out enough to see hem, maybe someone will measure them for you. (And it’s beyond insane).

  2. lracine Says:

    “I would be foolish if I didn’t take sea-level rise into consideration, but it’s not going to stop me from living the life I want,”

    I think that comment sums up the most American Values.. it is what makes America Great.

  3. ted knopper Says:

    Sea level rise and fall is certain as the climate warms or cools. It was lower in the little ice age than it was in the medieval warm period. It is uncertain, you get numbers all over the place for exactly how warm it was or how cool it was during those periods. We do know that cities in existent than were not flooded out nor were they left high and dry by a fall in the sea level. NASA has studied the subject , several findings are interesting The tree line in Canada 4500 years ago was hundreds of miles north of today’s tree line which means it had to be warmer than today. Arctic sea ice was either non existent or much reduced in summer from about 6500-4500 BP, again it had to be warmer than today. The melting off of the last ice age time line is subject to various periods, some research suggests it occurred in a few hundred years , a million square miles of ice in some places a mile thick gone in a blink of an eye in geologic time. it had to be warmer. That melting did raise the sea level hundreds of feet. Todays sea level rise trend on land not moving up and down per NOAA tidal gauge records is about 3 inches in the next 100 years, per the french records from 1805 it is about 4 inches in the next 100 years. Studies from NOAA showing much higher rises simply ignore adjusting for changing land levels but that is my opinion and you can feel free to disagree with your own analysis of any study.

    As an example of misplaced claims is the stories on Miami being flooded by a rising sea level. Miami does have a flooding problem, it is entirely man caused. Miami is sinking into the sea from diversion of surface water flows and pumping of subsurface ground water, that caused the sand on which the city and suburbs is built to compress and the city sinks. The central valley in California has sunk 10 feet or more in places from the problem. Miami country does have an agency which is supposed to regulate the water diversion to mitigate the problem, California is talking about doing the same in the central valley. How effective they can mitigate is a political problem yet to be solved.

    What is pretty certain it those changes in the past occurred with a lot lower CO2 levels than today. The conclusion one comes to is CO2 forcing is much less than the claims in the literature to the contrary. So one is left with what is doing the forcing? Changes in earths orbit and tilt for one, the other is changes is total solar output. The latter is hard to measure but a few studies do come to the conclusion the solar output is increasing and has for at least the last 100 years.

    • Keith McClary Says:

      You might want to research “Miami limestone” (geological formation).

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      >> As an example of misplaced claims is the stories on Miami being flooded by a rising sea level. Miami does have a flooding problem, it is entirely man caused. Miami is sinking into the sea from diversion of surface water flows and pumping of subsurface ground water, that caused the sand on which the city and suburbs is built to compress and the city sinks. <<

      Unlike much of the East and Gulf coast of the US, Miami is on *consolidated porous limestone*, not *sand*. Limestone is more likely to develop rapid brittle sinkhole collapse (look up *karst*) than compression of sediment. Furthermore, community water wells are located inland from the city where the freshwater supply is deeper.

      You seem to be confusing Miami's geology with that of Houston or the Central Valley. They are *very* different. Or maybe you're thinking of the barrier islands, like where Miami Beach is, which are basically shifting sandbars where nobody drills wells.

      • Gingerbaker Says:

        He’s not confusing anything. He is lying about SLR because he is a bald-faced liar.

        He repeats the same garbage denier talking points he has spewed for years here, because he is an incorrigible lying sack of shit climate denier.

        ted knopper is not new here, he is a troll previously banned here. DOG keeps track of the lying sacks of shit – he will tell us who this bozo is.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          The probability is that he is Tommy-Poo Bates reincarnated. Too bad these guys don’t resurface as the slugs they are—then they could leave their slime tracks on the patio rather than on Crock.

  4. ted knopper Says:

    As to the house in this article, 1,700 dollars a square foot is simply out of reach of 99 percent of the population and most likely 99.99 percent. Plenty of houses are built on stilts around the world which do not cost anything like what this house cost. You can buy stilt based beach house plans here which cost not much more than conventional slab houses. They do cost more but not anywhere near the quoted cost. Here is one such source http://www.builderhouseplans.com/house-plans/bhp/collections/elevated-stilt-piling-and-pier.htm

    Anyplace in the country that is subject to hurricanes is subject to high winds and flooding. Tornadoes are a different story. The winds are so high that unless you build in solid concrete for walls, roof and some metal covering for window, there is not much you can do. Hurricane resistance is much easier. Build based on the codes for high wind areas and do not build in a flood plain and most of the problem never occurs when that hurricane or flood hits your area.

    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      >>Plenty of houses are built on stilts around the world which do not cost anything like what this house cost. <<

      Bear in mind that many people who never thought of their houses being close to the sea got heavily flooded by Sandy's storm surge in New Jersey and Long Island (and the salt water got into NYC's subway system causing damage to metal and electrical systems).

      The houses shown below got surf damage from Hurricane Matthew passing *offshore* (did not make landfall there).

  5. rhymeswithgoalie Says:

    >> Designed by the Miami architect Rene Gonzalez as the first in a series of luxury “elevated houses” around South Florida, it has been built to allow up to 10 feet of storm surge to safely flow underneath it. <<

    Wow. A whole *ten feet* of storm surge. I'm sure the hurricanes will get the memo.


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