A Strip Club and a Mayor Rumble in Sunny Isles

Is Norman Edelcup's spat with Thee Dollhouse about community values or cronyism?

On the surface, Norman Edelcup's desire to relocate a Sunny Isles strip club seems like something any sensible small-town mayor would want. But the owners of Thee Dollhouse at 755 Sunny Isles Blvd. say Edelcup is trying to squeeze them out of business to benefit a developer friend, who just so happens to be building a three-tower condo project across the street.

On December 18, the Sunny Isles Beach City Commission will vote on a measure that would restrict adult entertainment businesses to Collins Avenue, in effect forcing Marjorie Tobin and her husband — who purchased Thee Dollhouse two years ago as a retirement investment — to start looking for a new location.

The 2.63-square-mile island municipality is primarily made up of high-rise condos and single-family homes. The only commercial retail spaces available are inside shopping centers on the west side of Collins Avenue. Tobin says she would relocate if she were guaranteed a location. "But that's not going to happen," she says. "Raanan Katz, a devout Jew, owns all that property. He's already told us he won't lease to adult entertainment businesses."

Katz, a minority partner in the Miami Heat and one of the most prolific real estate owners in Miami-Dade, did not return a phone call seeking comment.

In his push to drive Thee Dollhouse from the 163rd Street Causeway, Edelcup has failed to disclose a possible conflict of interest, Tobin claims.

Across the street from Thee Dollhouse, developer Jose Milton is building St. Tropez, where units are going for $725,000 to $2.5 million. Part of the project's glossy brochure depicts renderings of a yet-to-be-built town center and green promenade on the land where Thee Dollhouse stands. The page includes a note about St. Tropez from Edelcup: "This community, including its streetside promenade, will dramatically enhance and transform the east-west entranceway into the city."

The mayor's support for St. Tropez is no surprise, because Milton has deposits in North Miami Beach-based Marquis Bank, where Edelcup serves on the board of directors, Tobin asserts. "That's why the city wants us out," she grouses. "It's a land grab to benefit the mayor's developer friend." Edelcup did not return two messages left on his office voicemail.

 
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