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Friday, March 27, 2015

Will Coconut Grove ever get it right?





This was sent in by a reader. Feel free to send in your own Coconut Grove observations (good or bad) and we will run it as a "Postcard From a Friend." Any observation, long or short, if it's not good, please try not to use names of people or places. Email address is to the right, you can email your "postcard" there. We'll keep it unanimous.

I wish that we were wise enough to save what makes Coconut Grove unique, charming, desirable and attractive. But little by little we keep destroying our beloved Coconut Grove…

Demolish historic homes

Allow the Playhouse to be demolished through neglect

Cut down our old growth trees (Post Office)

Build sky high luxury condos (rezone and TDR)

Try to rezone Mercy Hospital for even more luxury condos (failed thanks to lawsuit by wealthy Vizcayans)

Build waterfront dog parks

Provide exclusive leases to private schools for the use of our public parks

Demolish a perfectly useful film studio for a park that we have no budget to build

Gate and charge fees for Art Fairs and Beer Festival on our public streets and public parks

No other village that celebrates its historical significance such a St. Augustin or Williamsburg would ever consider replacing their sidewalks with brand new pavers


Many of us moved to Coconut Grove in the 1960’s, 70’s  and 80’s because we loved it’s charm and the people that lived, worked and visited here. We thought the Grove was our own version of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Sausalito and Key West, all rolled up into one. This is why we came here and this is what we hoped it would remain. Needless to say, the Grove has been changed and not all for the better. There is nothing unique about more Starbucks, more McMansions, more shopping centers, more luxury condos, more dog parks, more traffic, more high rents, more empty shops and more chain restaurants that promote fast sandwiches (not good ones).

Miami Today has a story about the success of Wynwood. “We curate our tenancies so that we create a unique experience for our consumers” said Joe Furst, managing director for Wynwood of Goldman Properties. “Content is king, and what these tenants are going to do for the area is more important to us than who is going to pay us the most money.” Mr. Furst concluded by saying “We want to keep it hip, keep it relevant, and we want to be the conduit for that conversation.”

How refreshing it is to hear those inspiring words from a developer and property manager! How lucky was Wynwood to have had a visionary developer such as Tony Goldman! How fortunate is the Design District to have a visionary developer like that of Craig Robins! Doesn’t Coconut Grove deserve its very own visionary developers as well? Isn’t the Responcibility of our elected leaders to help protect and secure our community and the desires of its residence and business operators? Who will rise to the occasion?

Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Sausalito, Key West, Wynwood and South Beach all value their uniqueness, which attracts residence, businesses and visitors alike. Shouldn’t Coconut Grove be doing the same?

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9 Comments:

Blogger reid prevatt said...

That so called Movie studio was an eyesore. Sooner or later there will at least be grass on that open space. The Grove is not a Jr. Hollywood.

March 27, 2015 8:19 AM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

Nicely written. Thank you for that. Very good point regarding the responsibility of our elected leaders.

March 27, 2015 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Build waterfront dog parks"

What's wrong if the Grove's Aristocracy, wealthy minority that has blocked every inch of waterfront Bay side space we used to have, (5 miles, on the nose - ha ha ) also enoy troling around fancy dogs with a penchant for exclusive sunrises and sunsets by the tides?

March 27, 2015 10:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was enjoying this nice rant against the overdevelopment of the Grove, but my vision was blocked by the four ads for real estate agents.

March 27, 2015 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The real Grove aristocracy are the reactionaries, like the letter writer, who have a knee jerk response to any change whatsoever (new sidewalks? really?). I don't think development should be held hostage to a group that moved here 40+years ago because the Grove reminded them of somewhere else and damn it, it's going to stay that way.

The letter writer is also being disingenuous when she/he writes that the Grove deserves a "visionary" developer. By whose standards? Anytime a developer or architect envisions something new for the Grove they are mocked, sued, or treated like some stereotyped developer in a Carl Hiassen novel. You don't want a visionary, you want everything laminated and encased in acrylic so it can't be changed. That's fantasy.





March 27, 2015 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is so wrong with a dog park or a park for that matter? Sometimes I really wonder about people. You want visionary change, yet you protest and fight every single new thing that comes to the Grove.

God forbid you put in new sidewalks so the city can't be sued over people falling and hurting themselves. I think the Grovites need to figure out what they want. Do you want new and visionary? Do you want people to start coming back to the Grove? Or do you want to keep it the same and have nothing but empty shops, dangerous sidewalks and no where to people to take their kids and dogs?

March 27, 2015 3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How about that new shopping mall in Fiorentina plaza? Can't wait. Any chance of a new, delightful KFC there?

March 27, 2015 5:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coconut Republic indeed. You better tool up fast... because even the city's planners are outgunned by $$$ developers with their lobbyists and lawyers.

March 27, 2015 8:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Biking through the grove the other day, I just felt overwhelmed. It's not just the open storefronts in the business district, but the packed tight as sardines, cookie cutter townhouses, or as I like to call them "Grove double wides". The residential neighborhood in center grove have no character. Instead, it's how many times can we use this same design to maximize every foot of space on this lot as a giant concrete square.

It's just a mess. And it's getting worse, and it's the people who keep buying it not the developers building it who are teh problem. It's you.

April 01, 2015 10:20 AM  

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