NEW PRESIDENT ANNOUNCEMENT
Alex Tonarelli will be starting on August 26th as Ocean Reef Club’s next President. Alex, his wife Sara and their son Luca (a rising 6th grader) reside in Coral Gables, Florida and are all lifelong Floridians from Miami. Also of note, the Tonarelli’s are Ocean Reefers, having been Social Members for over 10 years.
Alex is a very accomplished hospitality executive with over 25 years of experience in some of South Florida’s top hotels and resorts. The last 18 years have been with the iconic Loews Miami Beach Hotel. Alex held a variety of positions at Loews, most notably as Managing Director for the past eight years responsible for all hotel activities including executing multiple significant capital projects.
Alex holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Master’s Degree in Hospitality Management from Florida International University, where he currently serves on their President’s Council. Creating a culture of partnership and giving back to the community has always been important to Alex wherever he has worked. Over the past 10 years, he has been extremely active in a number of key industry and community organizations including currently:
- Chairman of the Board of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association
- Executive Board Member of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau
- Board of Governors for the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce
- Mayor’s Task Force for 100 Resilient Cities – Dade County
Alex’s wife, Sara, is equally accomplished having graduated from the University of Miami earning a Master’s Degree in Tax, and worked as a CPA with the world wide accounting firm Deloitte for over 10 years.
Alex and his family very much enjoy the Florida lifestyle with boating, fishing, golfing and tennis among a few of their favorite activities. They also enjoy spending time with family and friends both here and abroad.
Alex’s exceptional, “Best in Class” hospitality experience coupled with his intimate knowledge of the Club, make him uniquely qualified for the President position.
The search committee was comprised of Bob Manzo (ORC Chairman), Ray Larkin (ORC Vice Chairman), Directors Teresa Holmes (Past Chair), Charlie Johnston (Chair of Finance Committee), Past Chairs Mike Sullivan and Don Waite. All of whom are very excited that Alex will be leading Ocean Reef Club for years to come.
With a later date for Easter this year, more Members enjoyed the Club throughout the month of April, while May welcomed a record-setting Memorial Day Weekend. The wonderful turnout by our Members for various celebrations has contributed significantly to our Club’s solid financial performance for the first half of 2019. Our year-to-date Revenue through May 31st, 2019 totaled $81.1 million – a $10 million (14%) increase over last year and a $6.8 million (9%) increase over budget. Net operating surplus of $21.9 million is an amazing $9.6 million over last year’s level. This full and active spring season is a true testament to the continuing engagement and enthusiasm of our Membership.
While these numbers indicate good news for our Club, management continues to engage in membership development as well as controlling expenses while generating revenue through summer events, programs and camps. Your Board’s stated goal is to complete all planned capital projects without the need to borrow money or assess Members. We feel confident that we will meet this stated goal.
The Airport renovation project is underway and progressing according to schedule. It is planned to reopen mid-October with the following major improvements:
- Newly raised, paved and grooved runway and tarmac
- New drainage system
- Enhanced safety areas along the perimeter of the runway
- FAA-certified weather equipment for improved pilot safety
More than 80% of the cost of the improvements has been underwritten by Member contributions.
THE OCEAN ROOM BUILDING
In the next few weeks, work to remediate the structural foundation of The Ocean Room building will begin. This work will extend the useful life of the building beyond the next 20 years or longer, and eliminate the moisture and sanitary issues we’ve experienced with the building over the past few years. These repairs will be completed before November 1st and provide a more comfortable environment for our Members, guests and associates for the start of next season. Our plans call for additional renovations to this building in the summer of 2020, to include a more functional layout of the dining room, lounge, lobby and restrooms, as well as all new furniture, fixtures and equipment for these areas.
TOWN HALL PARKING LOT
The Town Hall parking lot will undergo an expansion which will grow the number of parking spaces in that area by 30 percent and help address some of the parking challenges experienced during peak periods and large events. This too, will be completed by November 1st.
As announced at April’s Annual Meeting, several important projects that had been considered in the past will commence in the summer of 2020. These projects include: (1) the expansion and renovation of the existing Clubhouse to include exciting new dining venues, outside dining options and a new bar/lounge (2) the replacement of the lagoon at Buccaneer Island with a closed-loop fresh water alternative and new amenities, (3) a new 450-space parking garage in the Associate area to alleviate parking issues throughout the Club and (4) new outdoor recreational facilities near the Member Fitness Center.
Your Board also recognized the challenges that the recent proliferation of seaweed are causing throughout the Caribbean, South America and around the State of Florida. As part of an ongoing effort to protect the Club, this summer we will be installing aerators across the entrance to the Ocean Reef Marina (adjacent to The Point). They will work to form a “wall of water” that will be designed to redirect seaweed away from the Club’s Marina to the south into the open space of the mangroves. Permit reviews are already underway. This effort will further support the Club’s approach to keeping plastic debris out of our waterways and relocating seaweed mats that do come ashore, back to seaward. It is an important step in retaining our sensitive environment in a healthy state.
Real Estate values in our community continue to increase and activity is quite strong again this year. 121 Marina has only five remaining condos available for purchase. The owners are thrilled with the lifestyle that has been created by the developer. It is truly a success.
Residence Club, on the site of the former Golf Village neighborhood, is under construction with completion scheduled in 18 months. Ocean Reef Club Sotheby’s is the lead listing agent and will be providing additional updates as the project progresses.
As anticipated, the 2018 satisfaction scores for all Members benefited from a halo effect after Hurricane Irma with Equity scores finishing at 94.1. As a result, we are seeing slightly lower, yet still very strong Equity scores in 2019 of 93.4. The goals also required an increase in the number of survey responses from Equity Members, encouraging more communication and awareness on the part of Management, and serving as a reminder to Members that feedback is welcomed, addressed promptly and essential to the ongoing improvement of our Member services.
We are rapidly approaching our fifth year since the Club initiated a Social Membership waitlist. This waitlist has worked as designed, helping to ensure we maintain the appropriate complement of Members, thus allowing better access to all facilities and amenities for all Members. This year our Social Membership remained strong, renewing at a higher percentage than in past years. To date, we have seen 29 of our Social Members, with two of them coming direct from the waitlist, purchase a property and become our newest Equity Members.
Keep an eye out for more information as 2020 will be our third census for our Membership. The Club has benefited greatly by providing this key information to the Board and other organizations in our Community. We will once again undertake this vital project and look forward to your participation as in the past. We will have more on this as well in our November meeting.
Club Calendar Coming Soon
Look for the Club calendar in the mail next month with the full listing of events for the 2019/2020 season.