A Strip Club and a Mayor Rumble in Sunny Isles
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.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you'll never miss Miami New Times' biggest stories.