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Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Changes at CocoWalk

After posting the story about the new changes at CocoWalk, I guess what you might call the transformation, I was shocked at the response. Almost all of the comments received on Facebook and here in the Grapevine are negative and people don't seem to like the project. I wasn't shocked by the fact that people don't like it. I was shocked that people actually responded. 

What's shocking to me is that I am usually the one who doesn't like change around here. But in this case, it seems that people are fed up with too many changes in Coconut Grove. 

As for this CocoWalk project, I think after all the high rises and tree killings and proliferation of over-development in the neighborhoods, I think I may just be shell shocked and past the point of fighting these new projects. After all, when CocoWalk and Mayfair went up years ago, many felt, and still do, that that was the end of the Grove. But since we don't own the properties, what can we do?

I see the CocoWalk renovation as just that; a renovation. I do find it interesting that restaurants have taken over Coconut Grove and retail has taken a back seat and it's almost as if everything being done now is geared toward the restaurants. It's always been said that we don't have the office workers here to support restaurants. Well, we do now. You may not realize that Mayfair is mostly offices now, gone are the days of retail there and CocoWalk is now doing the same, only maybe in a more visible way. A friend told me 10 years ago, "A man cannot buy a pair of dress pants in the Grove." 

Those new condos going up in the Coconut Grove Bank lot are beautiful, but the skyline looks like it's marred for good when you look up Grand Avenue from the west. It's just not the same anymore.

I was approached by many people during the Gifford Lane Art Stroll, all attacking the new CocoWalk office building. They say it doesn't fit in with the look of the village. But what is the look of the village? There really is no set style, is there?


But do we need all these offices? Do we need all these condos? Do we need all these changes? I can't help but think that if there was no money in it, none of it would be done. But I think I am just numb to the fact that the Grove is on a fast path to I don't know what, and it's almost a case of resigning to that fact because what else can we do? The bohemian feel is gone. While the bones are left, the spirit seems to be gone. 

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re the "beautiful" condos going up at the Coconut Grove Bank Building. The area is a disaster. Construction starting at 5:30 AM. Noise, dirt and gridlock. They have no regard for the surrounding neighbors. Now I am told they are moving the safe deposit boxes from the old building to the new building on Mar 18. This means the demolition of the old building which will create more of the same.

March 08, 2017 6:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought Coral Gables interest were moving into and down around where the Bay meets Coconut Grove, but I was then advised "NO" "Brickell interest are taking over and had $7-Billion to spend creating the new Grove" AND that will never translate into the Grove not being Bohemian or not represent the arts. You simply cannot take that designation away. I think the trick is for those of us who want to be a piece of the art scene and act out as Bohemian's have a duty to carry on as usual and those who do will simply be unique. For example we once had Sun Hawk and we still have Jamacia Paul. Please don't say it, I know, I know, but these people are colorful. Whatever is in store it will still be our Grove, tall buildings, diverse restaurant and some really nice housing, tons of families, baby strollers, dogs on leashes and yes this gosh darn traffic.

March 08, 2017 8:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Change is good but only when it is done with respect to history, nature and to those that live in the area. These big Condos and let's be real are all over priced and for the majority they are vacant throughout the year. Yet developers care is to build, sell, and then they leave for the next project. As I see it the trend is parking space and office spaces. I still do not understand when we say no parking spaces when back in the days when the grove was a destination parking was not any issue (parking places center grove, mayfair, grove theater, under sonesta hotel, corner of Florida ave, St Stevens,..). Since the office space are going up they need to sell it with parking spaces "understood". Tom is right The Grove is moving to have to many restaurants fighting for what soon will be a lunch frenzy once the developers hope they can have the office space leased. The new plans just like the plans for the building next to Green Street do not fit in the "GROVE" we are a community that loves nature, our trees, our tranquility, sense of free flowing but all this seems to be slipping away by all this new development going on. Developers want more money by selling false hopes "grand luxury condos with bla, bla, bla,.... and the city seems to allow anything as they see more tax money collected from a smaller plot of land but they still at the end say not enough is collected. Soon the grove may be known for the valley of empty luxury condos, Surrounded by offices nestled in the center. The Grove needs to get its balance back and we that live in this community need to express our concerns. Even if we cannot stop the change and have to accept the final outcome at least we can say and feel that we tried.

March 08, 2017 8:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Miami politicians have allowed this sort of growth to go unchecked with no regard to the idea of a "village." Why is it in Miami that every ounce of ground must contain a big office or condo tower? What was lovely about the Grove was its identity as a small, charming oasis in the midst of a big city. We'll, we can now kiss it all goodbye. Sad. Very sad.

March 08, 2017 9:12 AM  
Anonymous Grovite said...

I think that you readers are a bunch of cry babies. The "old Grove" which i grew up in died years ago. This is not greedy developers that took over successful real estate and razed it. They are taking over failed businesses and space, i.e Senor Frogs space, theatre, corner of grand and Commodore, Cocowalk, Engle building etc.....

Change is inevitable and the cocowalk plans are not Brickell City Center. The major players in the Grove LOVE the Grove and its history. They are respectful but want to see a more vibrant Grove that is walkable, accessible, safe and attractive. Thats their goal. Of course they are businessmen, they want to make money. The demographics of the Grove are changing and so the business district needs to change as well. It is behind the curve.

March 08, 2017 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the new, low-rise, clean look of the space. It incorporates first floor retail and trees. I hope it can keep some of the design features of the present Cocowalk (mosaics, wall carvings, etc,) so that it can blend well. It would be optimal if as one walks thru the entire core of the Grove business district one could see a balance and blending of old and new. It's time to get rid of shabby.

March 08, 2017 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Coconut Grove was always meant to be a neighborhood not a location for malls or offices. The Grove's Village is no longer a real neighborhood, its been developed, gentrified and officed out of existence. Check out South Miami with all the shops, restaurants (open 6-7 days a week), unbroken sidewalks, bars, book shop that actually has the book your looking for, several bakeries, artisan donuts, whole foods and Publix, two shoe repair shops and three eyewear shops. Coconut Grove could learn a lot from South Miami.

March 08, 2017 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am astounded that people refer to the new Cocowalk office complex as "low-rise." It may be low-rise compared to buildings in other parts of town, but for a structure smack-dab in the heart of the village of Coconut Grove, it is NOT low-rise, but instead a high-rise monstrosity. I have lived in the heart of Coconut Grove for close to 40 years, and no change in or around the village center has struck me as negatively as this planned office building. Twice in this paragraph I've used the word "village," but with this building at its heart, Coconut Grove will no longer be a "village," but instead just another part of the City of Miami with anonymous, high-rise glass towers. If you haven't done it, take a walk down to the intersection of Main, Grand and McFarlane, and stand on Main by the old Coconut Grove Bank building. Now, take a look toward Cocowalk and envision the east side of the structure replaced by five stories of cold glass and steel. It will completely dominate that intersection, overpowering and destroying any feeling of "village" that the Grove still has. If there is any structured opposition to this project I would love to be a part of it, so Tom, please keep us posted. We need to Save the Village Center, and stopping this horrendous project would be a great start.

March 08, 2017 4:30 PM  
Blogger Vexx Crow said...

I remember as a kid my first arcade I went to was in cocowalk. It was in the building where The Grove Bookstore is. That place was full of awesome stores. Now you can't even use that beautiful elevator, I remember riding as a kid, unless you work in the offices there. I remember there was a giant African store across from the improve. So many awesome pieces of work. I remember Planet Hollywood and how they had swamp thing playing on the big screen! My first job was at Starbucks, and my current job is at SapientNitro. I love the grove so much. I have so many memories here. I even moved here. I love the brick sidewalks, and the fact that there is so much greenery. I don't like the idea of changing the cocowalk's main area where Starbucks and Fat Tuesday is. That fountain is pretty much a land mark to me. Does anyone remember Wammy in Miami show??!?? They had that fountain all the time in it! I guess change isn't always a bad thing, but saddly this little area is my childhood and my hometown. I can't help to feel a bit sadden by this.

March 08, 2017 9:27 PM  
Blogger ges said...

I think, having lived her all of my life, that I know all of the back alley deals between developers, from the corruption at St. Stephen's, all of the shop owners closing because of absurd rent increases, the fact that the clothes come from Merchandise Mart and are marked up 200%, the welcome invasion of the French and the complete and utter loss of community, with this being the final death knell. I remember when the City Commission used to have to wait for everybody to go to North Carolina for the summer so that they could give away sacred and public land to the developers at Cloisters. That should have been a lovely promenade to the water for all to enjoy, or a public park. Many Indian artifacts were bulldozed, to make way for those idiotic monstrosities. It is ironic that those that complain the loudest now are the that bought townhouses that were built on split lots. Almost all of the lovely houses in the center of the Grove are gone. A few remain tucked away. In New England, they do not tear down buildings every twenty years because they made a "mistake". This is a common practice here. On my street alone the same mega-mansion has been bought and sold a half a dozen times and remodeled for no reason every six months. Set back laws were violated causing parking problems for people with no damn driveways. Problems that effect the quality of life forever on what used to be shady cul de sacs. Neighborhood parties were frequent. Now nobody knows each other. then we get our hero, Marc Sarnoff, a man of the people, who turns out to be the biggest sell-out of all times. Related and other such companies put up condos on Bayshore Drive starting at five million. Mercy sells out and becomes a filthy hospital owned by a blind trust by none other than our very own alien, Rick Scott. Mayfair fails repeatedly, and now Cocowalk. Now we are as stupid as South Miami. No ease of use. No running errands in our village. No TCBY, no family fun and no bay breezes. You get to go to all the shops that come and go and sample their wares, so you like it. But it is very disheartening to the real Groveites with the exception of Greenstreets and the new Italian place. And Robyns. Go ahead and turn Cocowalk into a freaking office building. Redo the "waterfront" with 100 year leases to shitty restaurants and friends of the City Commissioners. A beautiful hammock with great history is now a joke. Ugly construction will probably take three years. There aren't enough office buildings downtown? I find the whole thing typical, very third world, and the very definition of corruption. Who is going to want to stroll around the Grove anymore? Nobody.

March 09, 2017 2:56 PM  

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