Thursday, September 15, 2016


At the end of the Historic Architectural Review Board's Thursday, September 15, 2016 meeting, HARB unanimously denied yet another retroactive permit for demolition. This vote was unanimous. It denied a retroactive permit for a partial demolition for the rear portion of 86 Bridge Street, built in 1899 to applicant Genesis RE Holding 10 LLC.

Spewing the same malarkey as local builder-politician JOHN VALDES, the muttering "Mutt and Jeff" South Florida applicants would not answer my question about who all of the beneficial owners of the Limited Liability Corporation are, but one of them said they "resented" my questioning their identity. We have a right to know: who is Genesis RE Holding and who are every single one of its beneficial owners?

The applicants disrespected St. Augustine, our process and our dedication to historic preservation, one actually referring to a "third world type of shanty." I responded that the South Floridians had their noses in the air and that St. Augustine was always a working class town, and that the retroactive demolition permit should be denied. Ms. B.J. Kalaidi agreed; two neighbors unfamiliar with the process sided with the developers.

Meanwhile, Planning and Building Director DAVID BIRCHIM, successor to fired MARK ALAN KNIGHT, twice audibly signed as the retroactive permit was rejected, for the same sound policy reasons as VALDES' permit was rejected.

Chairman Randall Roark, HARB members Antoinette Wallace and Catherine Duncan, and HARB alternative members Karen Harvey and Peter Rumple all voted to deny the permit.

One of the two applicant representatives actually claimed that a City employee, Randy Hurry, "said to tear it down."

No photos were provided. No documents were shared. Mr. Hurry did not testify.

I stated that the Board should allow Mr. Hurry to defend himself and reschedule the hearing.

In the end, the Board rejected the application. As the two glowering South Florida applicant representatives left the room, they glared and one made a smart remark about my "nice glasses."

Then they huddled with BIRCHIM in the Lightner Museum and City Hall courtyard, where one of them plainly recanted his testimony, saying that Hurry had not told them to tear the building down.

So much for perjury and South Florida construction ethics.

BIRCHIM proceeded to explain to them what's next: they can expect a code enforcement action and thousands of dollars in fines, although BIRCHIM mentioned "one guy" was only fined $3600 (former HARB Chair and ex-Mayor CLAUDE LEONARD WEEKS, Jr., under DBPR investigation, who unlawfully destroyed 62A Spanish Street, the 211-year old DON PEDRO FORNELLS HOUSE. Meanwhile, BIRCHIM spoke to the developers as one speaks to their employer, calming them down and explaining that construction could proceed on the rehabilitated home at 86 Bridge Street, even as the contractors are fined for a partial demolition without a permit.

Who runs this dodgy LLC?

From its website:

Management of the Fund

The Genesis management team has demonstrated a proven history of success evidenced by more than $100 million of assets acquired, repositioned, rehabilitated, developed and/or sold since 2010 achieving better than average returns on investment.


Industry experts with extensive experience in the real estate industry.

A team of experienced real estate and financial professionals is in place to manage the Genesis "platform" and to direct the current and future activities of the company. The management team is comprised of individuals who possess broad based residential and commercial real estate experience including acquisitions, dispositions, development, and construction.

Sev Rodrigues - Principal
Sev possesses over 18 years of real estate brokerage and development experience in a variety of Southeast US markets. He is President of Genesis Commercial Group, Inc., a full service real estate brokerage and development company experienced in retail, office, industrial, hospitality and planned residential. He possesses a long history of successful brokerage and development transactions with clients such as Walgreens, CVS, Office Depot, Auto Zone, Auto Nation, Bank United, PNC Bank and others. He is the Co-Managing Principal in multiple Distressed Debt Funds capitalized with private and institutional equity. The funds acquire and manage distressed performing and non-performing commercial debt and properties. He is a resident of South Florida, a licensed Florida Real Estate Broker, fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and married with three children.

Contact Sev Rodrigues via email at:

Devin Kalvaitis - Principal
Devin possesses over 12 years of real estate experience. He is an energetic entrepreneur who studied in Business Administration. He has successfully built, leased, managed and owned a variety of commercial and residential real estate. He is experienced in negotiation with national tenants and as an innovative developer and investor in commercial real estate has cultivated a keen understanding of the market opportunity for both commercial and residential properties. Devin has negotiated and managed the acquisition, renovation, and disposition of roughly 1,000 residential properties over his career. Devin is married with four children.

Contact Devin Kalvaitis via email at:

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