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Thursday, January 29, 2015

They want answers about the Grove Playhouse

The folks running the "Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse" Facebook page are quite adamant about getting answers from Michael Spring, Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, regarding the next steps in involved in the Coconut Grove Playhouse. The group feels that the next step is demolition, which of course is the last thing they want.

I think everyone is looking for answers. Just yesterday, as I was taking this photo, I was stopped by a couple of people asking me what the latest news was. I didn't have much to tell them.

From the Save the Playhouse Facebook page:

Michael Spring and Michael Peyton have been making intimidating phone calls to one of our Save the Playhouse members in an attempt to whitewash Spring's efforts to demolish the Playhouse, denying any wrongdoing. If Michael Spring is denying what is being reported here, this is an open invitation for him to speak freely on this page. Here is what we want to know from Mr. Spring:

--Why did he break protocol as part of the architect selection committee by refusing to allow the candidates to give their prepared oral presentations, something that is standard procedure on all county projects?

--Why did he say initially to the County Board of Commissioners and to the Mayor, that the Playhouse structure will not be taken down yet later change his plan to favor replacing the building with a much smaller 200-300 seat theater with retail? 

--How does he justify hijacking the citizens vote to spend our $20 million to restore the building to instead be used on demolishing it and putting up a theater a fraction of the size? His claim that an 1100 seat theater is not economically feasible is incomprehensible given that his 200-300 seat plan does not create the critical mass needed to restore the local economy or the Playhouse profits. And he's talking about economic feasibility? How does a smaller audience= more money? Makes no sense.

--Why was no historical board member present on the five member architect selection committee panel given the historical significance of the Playhouse and the mandate of the voters to restore it as such? You had the Miami Parking Authority and FIU represented on the selection committee but not a historical board member?

--Why was there no requirement/criteria established for the selected candidate to have any experience restoring historic theaters or structures?

--Why was Arquitectonica selected as a developer of the project (receiving, by far, the panel's highest ratings) given the fact that just recently the Miami Herald reported they are the subject of a multi-million dollar lawsuit resulting from major construction flaws of the Miami Heat Arena, costing the NBA team $17 million in repairs? 

--Mr Spring, under the criteria titled "qualifications and design awards" you gave candidate Arquitectonica a rating of 30 out of a maximum of 35 potential points. Yet you gave Richard Heisenbottle only 25 out of 35. Similarly, under the criteria of "Knowledge and Past Performance on Similar Projects" you awarded Arquitectonica the maximum 35 out of 35 points yet only awarded Heisenbottle a mere 25 out of 35. This is in spite of the glaring facts that the Miami Heat certainly would not agree that $17 million in Arquitectonica's construction flaws is deserving of a maximum score. And yet Richard Heisenbottle, who did a remarkable job restoring the historic downtown Gusman Theater and countless other historic treasures was rated much lower. How do you justify this gross oversight?

--Lastly but not least, why was there no vision plan prior to sending out RFPs in seeking an architect to restore a widely revered landmark and iconic emblem that dates back to this city's pioneer era? Considering that this is something that is loaded with so much history and reputation, it is incomprehensible how someone with the title of "Cultural Affairs Director" could fumble so badly in failing to protect and enrich something that is the epitome of culture on a local and national scale.

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9 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Follow the $$$$$$

January 29, 2015 11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly, anon @11:11.

And then, make a right turn at the next $$$$ sign: City Hall.

January 29, 2015 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Then go through to the left to the back of the building to Marc D Sarnoff's office and you'll find the culprit in there!

Can someone call the police already!?

January 29, 2015 12:22 PM  
Blogger HectorinMiami said...

Can someone please explain to me how all this information got out when there is supposedly a "cone of silence" over the RFP for the Coconut Grove Playhouse restoration?

If the "cone of silence" was violated those are grounds to re-do the RFP.

January 29, 2015 1:44 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

If our City Commissioner wont do anything, Can our County Commissioner help? Or is that not possible.

January 29, 2015 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Death of the playhouse and its deliberate neglect is directly connected to the official chokehold on Coconut Grove on behalf of a handful of business interests.

January 29, 2015 4:01 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

This is insane.

January 30, 2015 1:46 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

miami heat arena issue aside, wouldn't it make most sense to pick a local architecture firm with solid ties to the neighborhood like arquitectonica? or some other grove firm?

January 30, 2015 8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would it make more sense to pick the best architecture firm and let a local referendum decide to demolish or restore the historic playhouse?

January 30, 2015 9:22 PM  

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