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Tuesday, January 20, 2015

From one old theater to another

Photo courtesy NY Magazine
If this old, decrepit 1929 movie theater in Brooklyn, can be brought back to life, so should the Coconut Grove Playhouse.  I saw this in New York Magazine.

From the New York Magazine article:  "The building was abandoned, the roof buckled, and the interior got wet. Scavengers stole the copper pipes and the fixtures. But it didn’t burn. The Kings was down, but not out.

The story of one of Brooklyn's Wonder Theaters, the Loews King, is here, along with the slide show.

There is a rumor going around that claims that Arquitectonica was hired to demolish our Coconut Grove Playhouse, and put up one of their modern chrome and glass structures. I was told by a source at Arquitectonica that this is not the case, they have not been hired, even though they seem to look the best on paper, out of all those who applied for the job. They have created no architectural plans for the county, nor were they asked to. Yet.

So far, from what I can see, Arquitectonica's latest foothold in the Grove has been the restoration of the Engle Building. They have kept the building's integrity. They have brought in a lot of new businesses to the village and plan on adding more. One troubling thing is a major lawsuit regarding the AmericanAirlines Arena. Basketball Properties Limited, associated with the Miami Heat, is suing Arquitectonica for incompetence and millions of dollars in overruns in building the arena.  This raises a red flag.

The favorite architect by many is Richard Heisenbottle, whose plans call for a total restoration of the structure.  If he can do something, which is very respectful to the structure, like what was done with the old Loews King in Brooklyn, that would be perfect.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know the Playhouse is always pointed out to groups of tourists, and I think at the very least, until the dust is settled on this issue, that the entrance should be lit up at night with spotlights, have the name prominently on it, and make it look like an important relic. Driving by and night, it looks horrible. Embrace the history of it, add some historical articles on boards outside. "Display" it.

January 20, 2015 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's very, very simple. The only reason the Grove's Playhouse has not been restored and remains an immense, shameful eyesore to the public is, Money, of course.

None to gain. No juicy RFP's to dream about. No personal political gains.

Therefore, it sits there forever. It's not like street constructions, which are usually horribly planned, the Theater makes no money for anyone. Rebuilding 27Av on 2 decades, or doing stupid "isles" on Commodore for instance, that makes some people happy and rich. Too bad for the Theater.

January 20, 2015 8:22 AM  
Anonymous Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse said...

I take pride in starting the "rumor", but it is no rumor. And if Arquitectonica told you they are not being chosen then they flat out lied to your face. I spoke to Michael Spring about how the hiring process works for this job and was told by him the selection committee (which Michael Spring is on along with four others)reviews the submitted proposals and after reading them he also told me there is a next phase which is more of an interview where each candidate stands up before the committee and gives an oral presentation to pitch their ideas. However, Michael Spring has broken that protocol and his word by refusing to allow those oral presentations. Those protocols are standard procedure for hundreds of county projects and now suddenly he wants to ditch them. I have my sources and they are reliable (obviously I am unable to reveal who they are), but they are solid as can be. I also have the offical tabulation scores from Michael Spring's office if anyone doubts me and thinks I'm just making this up.

January 20, 2015 10:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grove Playhouse Restoration Choices:

Richard Heisenbottle Architecture if you desire the best preservation and celebration of this historical and culturally significant building.
Examples: Freedom Tower, Vizcaya Village, Olympia Theater (Gusman Center For Performing Art) and
Pan Am Terminal (Miami City Hall).

Arquitectonica if we wish to celebrate reruns of Miami Vice Opening Credits.
Examples: Atlantis Condo, The Palace Condo, Genting Resorts World (Miami Herald property), SkyRise Tower.

January 20, 2015 6:01 PM  
Anonymous Mike Simpson said...

Don't forget Arquitectonica's South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center (http://arquitectonica.com/blog/portfolio/academic/south-dade-cultural-arts-center/) located between a Chevron gas station and the Cutler Ridge Library/Courthouse complex and across the street from the Mall formerly known as Cutler Ridge Mall. Having grown up about 2 miles from there, I can tell you it fits into its neighborhood like lipstick on a pig.

Thanks, but no thanks.

January 22, 2015 2:51 AM  

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