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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

They read them the riot act

Photo Credit: Korey Davis Photography
There was a round table discussion last week put on by the Terra Group, regarding all the changes in Coconut Grove, it was mostly geared toward the merchants around the village. Terra Group owns the bunch of new condos going up on South Bayshore Drive, you know the Stack of Bar Napkins buildings and the Coconut Grove bank location buildings. Their partner is the Related Group. Above are some of the participants in the round table.

They spoke about the "contemporary retail component which is revitalizing the neighborhood." The panel was moderated by developers and Grove locals Carlos Rosso of The Related Group and David Martin of Terra Group.


Guests included David Martin, CEO and Owner, Terra Group; Pedro Martin, President and Owner, Terra Group; Carlos Rosso, President of Condominium Division, The Related Group; Patrick Campbell, Vice President at The Related Group; Justin Kennedy, Grass River Property; Peter Gardner, Pointe Group Advisors.


Panelists: Michael Feinstein, Büro Urban Workspaces; Maurizio Farinelli, Strada Restaurant; Sylvano Bignon, Green Street Cafe; Robert Griffin, The Griffin shoe boutique; Eduardo Del Rivero, Jaguar & Peacock Café; Manny Gonzalez, The Grove BID; Raymond Fort, Arquitectonica; Herman Bredemeier, H & H Jewels.

The interesting part seems to be a little meeting that occurred after the main meeting; where the public was not privy to the conversation; at this meeting, the big boys slapped down the PointeGroup who have turned out to be the town bullies. They called them out for their arrogance, their fear mongering and their ineptness, which includes not doing anything to enhance Coconut Grove, the complete opposite of their statement of providing "contemporary retail."  As of yet the PointeGroup, has not done anything. One friend joked that all they have done is paint a fence blue (behind Bombay Darbar). They have thrown out most of the tenants or raised the rents so high that people are fleeing (including Bombay Darbar, who was prepared to leave the Grove, but luckily they found a space on Florida Avenue), some of these businesses that are fleeing, have been fixtures in Coconut Grove for years. And the main eyesore is the empty Johnny Rockets location in the center of town.

The plan seems to be to wait out the Smoothie King lease and then make it one large space for a restaurant.  The nail salon has already made plans to move to CocoWalk, across the street. You need to have a minimum of 4000 square feet for a beer and liquor license and the current Johnny Rockets location is just 1000 square feet. The question is, if they had planned this large space for the leases to run out, why did they throw out Johnny Rockets, who could have still been operating on that corner? And what about the former Goose location and the large former Guess store location?


Now to add insult to injury, the round table has asked that a bunch of businesses be found to fill in the vacated storefronts as pop-up stores. If they needed businesses to fill the storefronts, they had stores that were there and part of the community. They should not have had them thrown out including art galleries. Incompetence at its best. That should be their motto.

I see the Center Grove turning into the Village West where nothing has happened regarding the large multi-use complex that was in the works for years. The land is now up for sale for $30 million - those six blocks on Grand Avenue, where big plans were promised.

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16 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The stores can stay vacant probably because they have access to cheap money.

March 18, 2015 8:38 AM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

I attended the round table meeting and it was good to hear from the local merchants, but there was not any new information discussed.

So far, I don't see anything negative or positive regarding The Pointe Group. Buying a lot of property does not mean bad things will happen.

The worst that could happen is that they ruin the village atmosphere that personifies Coconut Grove.

The best that could happen is that they breathe some life into the area, but without causing congestion.

March 18, 2015 9:09 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at all those white men! I bet I know which ones wore suits.

March 18, 2015 9:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure looks as if they have managed to "round up the usual suspects"! Only thing missing are lines on the wall, indicating height.

March 18, 2015 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They obviously could not care less. The definition of a Developer is you make a a deal, build the building, deposit the profits in your immense bank account, and move on to the next mega-deal in another they City, other countries.
Care about local "communities"?! Are they even serious?

March 18, 2015 12:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a racist, Class divider comment!

March 18, 2015 3:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are called The Pointless Group out on the streets...

March 18, 2015 3:35 PM  
Anonymous Madeline Kraskin said...

Apparently, the Pointe Group's bullying tactics include telling their tenants who they can hire. They have decided that old Joe, who has been part of the Florentine Plaza community for decades, is no longer welcome there, and they informed the tenants that they're not allowed to hire him to help them open and close, which he has done for years. I can't believe it is legal to control who works for the businesses, and I certainly believe that it's wrong to drive him out. What is his crime? Goodbye, spirit of the old Grove.

March 18, 2015 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like Cool Joe

March 18, 2015 4:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can confirm as one of the shopkeepers in the complex that Pointe Group is taking an extremely hard line regarding our locals Joe and Bang Bang. I have been told that if I continue to employ Bang Bang, I will be held personally liable for anything he does wrong in this complex. Yesterday I was told that if he continues to come here they will have him arrested. This has also been mandated to at least two other businesses that I am aware of. Granted, they (Pointe Group) now own the property. But as a human I would think that with that power of ownership some humanity should be at play here. Joe and Bang Bang have been here for probably twenty years. We shopkeepers give Joe and Bang Bang a few dollars and day so they can eat. They are not begging, they are working. I think a more community minded way of handling this could have come to mind. At this point, the stress level in the complex is extreme, and even without immediately raising the rents or evicting us, I think this plaza will be vacated sooner than we had hoped. It is becoming a sad place to be.

March 18, 2015 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Os Old Joe the old black man that wears a hat and carries a cane and who is always walking around the Grove? I've seen him around for years. It's a shame these slimy developers are pulling stunts like this!

March 18, 2015 8:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Always a nice smile and a wave for me during my morning walks. If Pointe Group wants Old Joe gone, then they need to accommodate him.

March 19, 2015 8:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to see Old Joe photoshopped into that picture of all the white guys. He's been a part of the Grove for years. Why shouldn't he have a say??? (Oh, sorry if I offended the person that thinks its racist to point out that there are only white males in this picture. According to this story, the developers did the inviting and I don't see any women or black people in that group.)

March 19, 2015 8:23 AM  
Blogger Will Plasencia said...

Your comparison of development progress of the Center Grove to Village West is really off. I'm not going to defend Pointe Group here -- I'm as disappointed as the next guy about the lack of movement along Grand -- but these things take time.

What I read in the comments is a mish-mash from developer haters who try to project racism and greed on every move a developer makes while out of the other side of their mouths they complain the Grove needs more of this or that. Change can hurt sometimes. But I've never seen the Grove more vibrant than it's been in the last year. And I'm optimistic that it's going to get better.

I say all this as a Grove resident and a private citizen. I've grown to love my neighborhood a lot. I just wish the dialogue in the Grove would move in a more respectful, positive direction.

March 19, 2015 10:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@10:50

Thanks for your comments and a bit of reality check!

March 19, 2015 9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@10:50 - the center grove business district is a mess. It has been a mess for a decade. Progress does not take that long. Maybe you should look at the rest of the world for comparison.

The grove still looks acts and talks like it's 2008 and the economy is tanking. That was 7 years ago and everything else rebounded and is doing better.

March 20, 2015 10:46 AM  

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