Fisher Island Gives 0 Stars To Oliver Stone's Film Project

Jan 18, 1999
The Miami Herald

Author: BARBARA DeLOLLIS Herald Business Writer

Edition: Final
Section: Business Monday
Page: 9BM
Estimated printed pages: 4

Poor Oliver Stone. Fisher Island officials rejected the famed film director and his sack of cash last month when he asked to shoot a scene there this month. Stone offered $50,000 to $70,000 for two to three days of shooting.

``We had to tell them no way,'' said Sissy De Maria, spokeswoman for wealthy Chicago businessman John Melk, who recently bought all of Fisher Island's empty condos and developable land and also owns a second home there.

The director wanted to shoot a scene in which the Miami mayor makes a proclamation in the Vanderbilt mansion's ballroom, she said.

Stone is in town filming On Any Given Sunday, a football flick that revolves around a fictitious football team, the Miami Sharks, whose owner dies. The owner leaves the franchise to his daughter, played by Cameron Diaz. Actor-comedian Jamie Foxx (In Living Color) plays the team's quarterback, who has an ongoing conflict with Al Pacino, the coach. Other stars reportedly include Ann-Margret, Bill Bellamy, Dennis Quaid, James Woods, LL Cool J and Matthew Modine, in addition to pro-football legends Jim Brown and Lawrence Taylor.

Stone approached Fisher Island through resident Heather Rutecki, a lawyer who has handled a lot of condo closings on the island - including Oprah's - and is a friend of Stone's. She said his second and third choices were, respectively, the Biltmore Hotel and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

So why not let the celebs shoot? No conspiracy here, Oliver. Reason's quite simple. ``They wanted to bring 200 extras,'' De Maria said.

The thought of having 200 Little People loose in the middle of the night on an island known for its seclusion and tight security was just too much to fathom. Stone wanted to shoot between midnight and 6 a.m. ``There's just no way. It's not worth it,'' said De Maria, who has also declined requests from TV commercial producers. Especially now, as Melk prepares to build 315 more units (average price: $1.5 million), a plan that's angering at least a dozen residents (out of 563).

The picky island paradise did say yes, however, to Fortune, the national business magazine. Fortune is set to feature Fisher Island as the ultimate corporate getaway in its March issue.

Nothing new there. Fisher Island's list of residents already reads like a Who's Who of the U.S. business world.

Among the rich execs who own first, second or third homes on the island: William Marquard, retired CEO of plumbing giant American Standard Brands; David Paresky, retired chairman and CEO of Thomas Cook Travel; Skip Pines, chief executive of National Foods, which makes Hebrew National hot dogs; William Rollnick, retired chairman of Genstar Rental Electronics, a member of Mattel's board of directors and friend of the Clintons; William Rudin, president of Rudin Management, one of the largest commercial landlords in New York City; and Richard A. Voell, retired chairman of the Rockefeller Group.

``People kind of take you for granted,'' Voell said a few months ago. ``Nobody invades too much upon your privacy. It's a marvelous thing.''

Swerdlow moves on After months of wrestling with neighbors and county commissioners, Hollywood developer Michael Swerdlow sold his interest in the proposed 440-home Maple Ridge development in north Hollywood to Westbrooke Communities. Westbrooke became a division of Texas-based Newmark Homes last year. Swerdlow, who has an $800 million portfolio of shopping malls, retail-entertainment centers, office buildings and single-family homes, wants to concentrate more on retail projects such as the Oakwood Plaza in Hollywood and the Dolphin Mall under construction in West Dade. Westbrooke, meanwhile, is looking to increase its stake in South Florida, said Jim Carr, Westbrooke's CEO.

``It was originally going to be a quasipartnership between Michael and I,'' said Carr, in an interview while on the slopes at Beaver Creek, Colo., ``but his focus is totally on commercial now. It was a win-win deal.'' Carr expects to start construction next month on the 101-acre project.

Swerdlow won zoning approval last month after making a number of concessions, including reducing the number of homes from 590 to 440. Broward County Commissioners unanimously approved Maple Ridge, saying the county's lax development rules left them with little choice. The proposed development, previously called Oakridge West, will be on the south side of Griffin Road, between Southwest 35th and 40th avenues.

What next? A Porsche porch? Need room for your fast-car collection? Stuart Cove and Jody Oberholzer, commercial brokers at Coldwell Banker's Fort Lauderdale office, are developing a series of large storage bays they're pitching to people with large car collections, high-end motor homes, Apache race boats and other big toys.

While more are planned around Dade and Broward, the partners' first storage development will go up near downtown Fort Lauderdale later this month - 21 warehouse bays off the 17th Street Causeway at 1850 SW Second Ave.

What will differentiate their product from other high-end storage already on the market, they say, is size and the fact that the units will be sold condo-style, not rented out. Each unit will have 1,575 square feet - big enough to fit 12 to 14 Ferraris - and each is selling for $110,00. Cove said they have already sold 15. They expect to break ground this month and finish in May. The units will be secure - round-the-clock security - and clean. Owners will be able to work on their cars, but mechanics won't be allowed. Barbara DeLollis covers real estate and insurance for The Herald. Her column appears every other week.

Caption: PAUL BARTON / Special to The Herald `NO WAY': Fisher Island officials rejected film director Oliver Stone's request to shoot a scene at the Vanderbilt mansion Vanderbilt mansion (a), Oliver Stone (a)

Copyright (c) 1999 The Miami Herald 
Record Number: 9901190312

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