Monday, July 16, 2007


The Florida Association of Realtors, the largest trade group in the state, with 150,000 members, has pledged up to $1-MM to support passage of the Save Our Homes Amendment to allow homeowners to continue the 1992 Amendment for a 3% tax cap or to choose a new “super-homestead” exemption, taking up to $195,000 off their home’s taxable value. Passage of this amendment will provide meaningful tax relief for thousands of families including 1st time homebuyers, and will equalize neighbor’s property taxes, says the FAR President Nancy Riley. She stated that then nurses, police officers, teachers and emergency first responders can afford to live in the communities they serve.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


While a Jacksonville art gallery owner claims the 74 sculptures are “fakes,” made after Degas’ death in 1917, the Museum’s Board of Trustees discounts the art gallery owner’s opinion, noting the goal might be “to get his name in the newspaper.” Museums currently displaying all or portions of the Degas bronzes include the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and the Chicago Institute of Art in Chicago. The National Endowment for the Humanities has underwritten some of the insurance expenses for the upcoming show. The museum’s website says that the exhibit, DEGAS IN BRONZE, “offers an extremely rate opportunity to view 74 sculptures, posthumously cast in bronze from Degas’ original composite and wax models.”

Monday, July 09, 2007


With reports just in that New York City and Salt Lake City are avoiding “the [real estate] bust,” can Palm Beach County be far behind? Some investors tell me they are “sitting on the sidelines” waiting for prices to keep dropping… other investors want to “sell and get out now,” but in many cases sellers are “standing pat.” Expired listings number near or over 500 properties each day. Some sellers cancel listings after getting low low bids. Remember that June and July are usually “slow months” with so many residents and part-timers out of town. August has been an outstanding month for sales in past years as folks come down to purchase residences for this coming winter… perhaps that will happen in 2007 as well. As a Realtor, I can tell you that every day in this career is exciting… new faces… new properties… no two ever alike. Like the stock market, real estate is cyclical… and what goes down will go up… just a matter of time. Stay cool. Hang in there.

Marilyn Farber Jacobs, Realtor, ePRO


An Environmentally Certified “Green” $25-MM mansion is being built in Manalapan.

Frank McKinney has been building one-of-a-kind mansions in the area for the last 20 years, and is now creating an oceanfront estate that is approved by the standards of the US Green Building Council and the Florida Green Building Council. The entire project will be the subject of a documentary series. Groundbreaking is being filmed as part of this program. A scale model has been made.

The 15,000 sq ft 3-story mansion will be rooted in nature, and will feature

  • thatched roofs
  • water gardens
  • floating sun terraces
  • a waterfall spa with fire feature
  • interior acrylic main floor with moving water below
  • a 24’ sheer water wall with fog/smoke screen on which moving images are projected
  • suspended double-helix main glass staircase
  • hand-blown chandelier that mixes electricity with water
  • arched aquarium wet bar to be able to walk below and view the fish above
  • guesthouse made of palm and bamboo that is partially submerged in a lagoon.

“Green” features will include

  • solar panels that could cover a regulation-size basketball court to generate enough energy for two average-size homes
  • water system that collects enough “gray” runoff water to fill the average swimming pool every 2 weeks
  • reclaimied wood amounting to saving 7 ½ acres of Brazilian rain forest
  • renewable woods that regenerate every 3 years vs. every 50 years for other hardwoods
  • pools, reflecting ponds, water gardens, misters and more to drop the site temperature 3-5 degrees over neighboring properties
  • recycling 340,000 lbs of debris during construction
  • air-conditioning and air purification systems four times better than an operating room in the Mayo Clinic.

MacKinney has written two best-selling books, and raises millions of dollars for his Caring House Project Foundation to build housing for the poor in the United States, Haiti, South America, and the Caribbean.

Governor Charlie Crist plans to reenergize the state with a mixture of solar, wind and nuclear fuel. He is expected to emphasize using renewable fuels and include mandates for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Friday afternoon, after two days of workshops and speeches at the Florida Climate Change Summit, Crist will sign executive orders and put his plan into law. Crist has signed California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and Theodore Roosevelt IV to the bill along with various Hollywood personalities and scientists, renewable-energy advocates and environmentalists who will talk about how Florida can become more energy-efficient and use alternative fuels.

California Governor Schwarzenegger has committing his state to reducing its carbon emissions by 25% by 2020, calling for 1 million solar roofs by 2018, tightening car-emission standards and creating a multi-state global warming group and it is speculated that this will happen also in Florida.

Florida Power & Light Co., the state's largest utility, maintains that using renewable fuels and more stringent energy-conservation steps won't be able to support all of Florida's future growth.

According to an FPL spokesman, "What you have heard from the environmental movement is that we can get there through renewables or we can get there through offsetting the energy that we are demanding today. And what we're saying is that (it) will not get you there. You will still need to build power plants." Crist has praised FPL for exploring a wind power project in St. Lucie County and is ecstatic about utility regulators denying the utility's plan to build a "clean coal" power plant in Glades County.