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Daily updates on what's up in Coconut Grove and beyond including Brickell, Coral Gables and Midtown Miami

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Selling off the Grove, one parcel at a time

I was holding off on this story, until I had facts, but the Herald decided to run with the rumors today as a story, so here goes: The Coconut Grove Bank is for sale and developers are salivating over it. The Bank isn't talking (the employees actually denied it to our face and others yesterday when asked about it), but the word on the street is that a major developer, whose name you all know, is interested in the bank building and land (not the bank itself) and a major condo project will be going in.

One idea is to have a 600 unit condo, consisting of six to seven buildings.

The bank will move to a building behind the current bank building now. I was approached by so many people yesterday who are furious, not so much by the condos, but by the fact that their bank is going to move or leave. There is talk that they want to sell off the bank to the highest bidder, too. It may behoove the bank to hold off on that as there may be a run on the bank as people are furious enough to tell me they are closing their accounts. I know one friend who is going to Chase Monday to move her account over, another says she has bank account #3, basically, that she's been there from almost day one, she is furious.

But I don't really think the bank is going to leave the Grove, just that building. But it is another small town aspect that is leaving Coconut Grove, as we slowly become a mini-metropolis.

We can't get much more than that on the bank plans, no one wants to talk, but we do believe that to be the story for now. They are going to have a nice new park across the street it seems. Can't give those new neighbors an ugly Expo Center to look at.

Speaking of building, the building that housed the old Fuddruckers has sold, that's at 3444 Main Highway, that old 100 year old Spanish-type structure. Talk is of a new condo going up there, too. This and the bank condos are on the horizon, nothing written in stone yet. The flavor of the Grove is changing, and not in a good way.


The Playhouse sits there because the rumor is that they want it to get so decrepit and termite ridden that the building will come down, leaving the space for another condo project.

A few people are going to urbanize the Grove in the name of the almighty buck no matter what.

Talk is that "the park" is going to end up being a Bayside, that is why those Scotty's Landing and Chart House RFP's were thrown out, because the company that was supposed to win, didn't. So now it's a do-over to be sure the "right company" gets the job.

There really is no quality of life around here anymore. It's all being sold off to the best (not necessarily highest) bidder. Will the last person grab the last remaining tree and shut the lights on your way out.

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26 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly how is the current infrastructure (water, sewer, additional traffic, garbage) going to handle this?

Are we talking condos priced for those who don't have to work for a living or are our beautiful tree-lined streets going to be torn up and replaced to accommodate the extra traffic? Perhaps tear down all those pesky, invasive Austrailian Pines along Ingrham Highway to widen the road.

To the next generations: I am so sorry we were not able to maintain this beautiful area for you to enjoy like we did. We tried but it was sold out from under us.

Look at the pictures and paintings and listen to the songs and read the poetry that was written here. This was once a garden. Now plowed over and buried beneath concrete and greed. :(

July 28, 2012 10:50 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

I was on the 6th floor of that building on Thursday, attorney's office, what a view of Dinner Key and the boats.. !

On the West side of Bayshore Drive, whatever, build or destroy.. My concern is the WATER Views, or lack thereof, on the right side.

CI

July 28, 2012 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My. God.

Sledge, can you hear yourself?
'I was at my lawyers office and what a view'.
followed by 'build, destroy, whatever. My concern is the water views'

The Grove has been destroyed by selfish and myopic views of our VERY LIMITED space and use thereof here in the Grove.

You don't care what gets torn down or put up as long as there is a good view of the bay?

BITE ME!

July 28, 2012 11:18 AM  
Blogger Headly Westerfield said...

It's called "Demolition by Neglect" and it appears the same fate is to befall the E.W.F. Stirrup House. I believe the Bed & Breakfast proposed for the E.W.F. Stirrup House is just a cover story, so that when it is determined the building MUST BE condemned, they can say, "Oh well, we tried."

However, they didn't try very hard. Both buildings have been vacant for a good many years and, not coincidentally, both controlled by the same entity. Both will eventually have the same fate.

July 28, 2012 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Down with the Grove! Down with the union hating citizens of Miami. The Grove is full of yuppies who are not aware of their surroundings. Soon the grove while be history thanks to City Hall, criminals, and the ignorance of its citizens.

July 28, 2012 4:16 PM  
Blogger Sledge said...

"'I was at my lawyers office and what a view'.
followed by 'build, destroy, whatever. My concern is the water views'

Can you READ? Mr anonymous?!

Obviously not.

It's not "my lawyer" and I obviously do care what goes up or down, ESPECIALLY right next to the water. You will have buildings and stuff on the West side ANYWAY. Heck, the East Side, right by the Water is BLOCKED everywhere by buildings and stuff.

Please, go back to school and polish up a bit on your reading skills.

CI

July 28, 2012 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What did Coconut Grove Bank do with all that bail out money?

July 28, 2012 5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Are we talking condos priced for those who don't have to work for a living or are our beautiful tree-lined streets going to be torn up and replaced to accommodate the extra traffic?"

I think you've already answered your own question. That's become one of the problems with the area. The range of middle-class people are finding it hard to live here and afford it b/c so much of it caters to people who haven't lifted a finger for their money, TRUST FUND JERKS, and that is becoming the target population for developers. This is a sad story as it appears that what is left of the 'old Grove' and its charm is disappearing.

July 28, 2012 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People have to vote for the outcomes they want. No outcome for the Grove is preordained. Local citizens have to care and act (by voting). It really is that simple. The corporations don't get a vote on Election Day.

July 28, 2012 9:29 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

From what I understand of the situation. The parcel where the CG bank is, was worth $300M a few years ago. The bank is having an incredibly hard time competing for new accounts with the other national chain banks, so their deposits have not been growing over the years, especially in that location (they have 3 or 4 other branches). If they sell the land and move, then great for them. They can find a smaller location in central grove that suits them just fine, saves them tons of $ and lets them be more nimble/agile. Regarding anon 5:02pm comment, are there records of them getting bailout money? Most of their business is OLD money that has been sitting in their accounts for decades, not mortgage related.

If you build a condo on that location, it only interferes with the Ritz Carlton's views of the water. With the Expo center being torn down, that would just improve the views for those locations.

Honestly this post and all the comments frustrate me as everyone is jumping to conclusions without thinking about the individual companies or property owners involved.

I think this community needs a mayor.

July 29, 2012 12:14 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

Brian B. is right.

July 29, 2012 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

so so sad.the grove needs the big dance clubs back quick or its going to get worse fast

July 29, 2012 7:53 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

you know i don't normally go to dance clubs, but went the other week to some in brickell (which probably pale in comparison to south beach), and they were PACKED. People were also spending tons of money... so i agree with Anon 7:53pm. What's up with the flavour location?

July 29, 2012 8:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Flavour location is on the market at a bargain since Sarnoff does not like a club or bar to go in there.

July 29, 2012 10:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, the Flavour location is available, but if you try to put in anything other than another GAP, or similar chain retail or restaurant Sarnoff will be destroy you.

The grove, now completely homogenized and dull.

July 30, 2012 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the grove is dead now becuase there are no clubs.can you imagine if there were a blue martini in the grove.WOW that alone would bring masses of people crazy but true i see it being at the old christabelas location.its so sad the one person has messed up the grove.shame on you sarnoff shame on you.

July 30, 2012 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, apparently Sarnoff is some sort of czar of small business in the Grove in which by the flick of the pen he can bring in whatever businesses he sees fit. Ridiculous. As for Blue Martini, wasn't there already a martini bar in the old Mayfair? That closed sometime after 2001-2002. Get the rents down, and businesses will come back.

July 30, 2012 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah there was and it was doing great.so was iquana cantina they all got run out of the grove.sad

July 30, 2012 9:26 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

To play a bit of devil's advocate

Sarnoff did not prohibit any business from coming to the grove (as far as i know). His office is responsible for decemating the level playing field the grove once had in comparison to other areas (3AM vs 5AM).
His office doesn't set the rent rates (private owners do)
His office doesn't prohibit the village from marketing itself (they didn't bother doing that on their own, though I'm guessing the BID is going to change that).

So HE isn't directly responsible for ALL that ails the grove. just saying.

We should focus on the future.

July 31, 2012 12:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarnoff Must go.Downtown 5am, Brickell 5am, all have bars nightclub restaurant, nightlife, arts, brickell has a trolley.The Grove ?????? but we are going to get those expensive tree irrigation system. Who cares, are we going to have a sign to explain to all the visitors and tourist of the expensive and wonderful irrigation sysytem I am sure that will bring people in only if is serves beer but i forgot not past 3am.

July 31, 2012 7:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brian,

Sarnoff actually controlled the BID completely for a long a time, through his lackey Collins. Even since he has stopped that obvious direct control, he still controls the atmosphere in which businesses operate, and those businesses he doesn't approve of don't last long. Additionally, while I have not heard it myself, I have been told by business owners in the grove, that during Sarnoff's tenure, he has walked into their business and threatened to have them shut down if they weren't 'on his side.' Basically, the "you are for me or against me" speech.

That probably doesn't make this an attractive place to set up shop either.

July 31, 2012 9:50 AM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

Anon 9:50
I'm not a lawyer, but that sounds pretty illegal to me (at the very least unethical). What are the (legal) recourses for that type of behavior? Does anyone have hard evidence? I feel like those who are being hurt financially in this situation would be most afraid of losing their investments/businesses.

July 31, 2012 10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon 9:50

Obviously that's complete hearsay. If that really occurred, I think some sort of action would have been taken.

July 31, 2012 11:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ anon 11:51
Yes, it's happened, but the business owner's are intimidated by the punitive actions of the commissioner. He was been vindictive before, and any complaints would cause retaliation. It's tough to stay in business nowadays, without having to fight City Hall (and lose) as well.
Just ask John El Masry from Mr. Moes.

July 31, 2012 2:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@anon 2:22

Right, cause El Masry is completely powerless...I'm not buying that.

July 31, 2012 5:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think they should just bulldoze te grove and start over. Maybe something similar to brickell. Maybe put a segafredos

July 31, 2012 8:31 PM  

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