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Thursday, November 09, 2017

If only we thought like South Miami

The proposed Sunset Place project.
South Miami rejected the new plans for Sunset Place where it was to be transformed into high rises including a hotel. In the end by a 3-2 vote against the project, the City Commission rejected the plan, which would have transformed the two acre site.

Owners of Sunset Place, Federal Realty Investment Trust along with Grass River Property and The Comras Companies also own CocoWalk here in the Grove. They have already started their renovation plans at CocoWalk, which includes an office building at the corner of Grand and Virginia.

From the Miami Herald story: Commissioner Walter Harris told the developers, “I really like your project,” but then railed against the zoning plan that would make it possible, contending it would encourage other developers to seek similar changes and “open the door to extreme development the likes of which South Miami has never seen.”

Just recently, I have been seeing Facebook posts of people reminiscing of the old Holsum Bakery that used to be where Sunset Place is now. Remember the smell of bread on Red Road and US1 as you drove by? I guess people are thinking of simpler times. Low-rise times.


If only Miami and Coconut Grove thought that way. The door to Coconut Grove has been opened to mass development and the Grove will never be the same. And I'm not talking about CocoWalk, as I am on the fence about that. They are in their own footprint and the door was opened for high rises and mass development when all these condo projects were allowed to enter the village.

The Oak Street Garage is now becoming an office building and the area near the playhouse will become a large wall of buildings. 

Is South Miami more of a village now than Coconut Grove?

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14 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Increased independence for the Grove by way of secession from the City of Miami or substantially stronger local control is the only way to ensure that the Grovites' vision for the Grove is not laid to waste by City Hall's cronies. Under the status quo, we have a commission of predominantly non-Grove-living commissioners deciding what is "best" for the Grove. These commissioners are beholden to the real estate developers that make plump contributions to their campaigns, the same entities who have a diametrically opposed vision for the Grove than the locals. This situation is untenable. South Miami's elected officials are members of their community, unlike the Grove's deciders who represent the colonizing City of Miami. The only way to ensure that the Grove is not handed over to the highest bidder is if our elected officials are directly accountable to the citizens of Coconut Grove.

November 09, 2017 7:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We need to shut down the continuing upzoning of the Village Center NOW! It’s losing its charm by the minute,

November 09, 2017 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So South Miami will go down the path of the Grove with shuttered business and decaying real estate. The Sunset Place project was well conceived and balanced. You cant get in the way of progress or else you will die. Everyone calls for more "green" living. Well that means that you need infrastructure closer to home. Office space, schools, retail, grocery, dry cleaning etc etc. There isn't enough existing space to do that. Sad to see such wonderful palces to live (South Miami and the Grove) get in their own way. Residents are "forced" to leave the neighborhood to shop, dine, etc. I feel like the residents have the old man syndrom "Get off my lawn" with no thought of what it could become. All they see is Brickell and they hate Brickell so they say NO to every development idea because that is better than actually listening.

November 09, 2017 9:44 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what is the "Groveite" vision of the Grove besides complaining and bad mouthing everything? Who are you to decide what is best for the Grove just because you have been living here longer then your neighbor? Get off of your high horse and stop preaching that the Grove is being ruined without offering any thoughts on what you think it should be. You would rather have the crack shacks and the crime in the west grove instead of duplexes with new young families? You would rather have empty storefronts instead of offices, retail, and restaurants? You would rather have big, empty parking lots then buildings designed by world renown Architects? If you answered yes to those questions then you need to ask yourself if you are just protesting for the sake of protesting because you just don't like change.

November 09, 2017 1:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shows South Miami is occupied by more evolved human beings.

November 09, 2017 2:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@Anon 1:38

Your developer-bias betrays you. ;) You need to cool your jets.

The initial comment said nothing about what "best for the Grove," merely that decisions about the Grove should be made by elected officials accountable to Grove residents, which is not how things work now. What's controversial about that?

Personally, tactful development is great, but zero-lot, overbearing townhouses that literally hang over the street and neighbors (here's looking at you, Drive Development), arborcide, and lot after lot of identical townhouse (look at Matilda or Virginia St.) is a tacky, cheap fix.

November 09, 2017 3:51 PM  
Anonymous Andy Parrish said...

Support the newly elected Village Council. New and motivated elected members from West, South, North and Center Grove. Some are pro-development, some not, as it should be, reflecting the diversity of the Grove. The Village Council can be the Grove's voice, and supply a needed liaison with City Planning and Zoning staff. The more support, the stronger the voice. Let's get positive, folks!

Andy Parrish

November 09, 2017 4:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Empty store fronts came about after youth were stopped by police from filling our streets and turning back the clock on 5am liquor which brought thousands more to the Grove every day. Miami Beach voters are smarter than us to not let that happen to their city.

November 09, 2017 6:18 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

The CocoWalk renovation should be an imorovement, although we’ll have to see the quality of the finished product. The reality is that retail is dying all across US - thank you Amazon - so the change of mic to retail + Office is entirely appropriate. And Terr’s conversion of the dreadful parking garage nearby to office is also good...

November 09, 2017 7:27 PM  
Blogger Jeremy Sapienza said...

Not a Grove or South Miami resident but I see this as very different from the Grove's struggles. Downtown SM is on the Metrorail and Dixie and is perfect for higher-density development. Maybe the heights were a bit much but Sunset Place is a horrible eyesore in an otherwise nice town, and adding a few hundred apartments and redoing the retail to face the street is a good idea. They should not add more parking but that's in my anti-car opinion, it being directly at a Metrorail stop.

The Center Grove should and must protect its charm and lush lowrise feel, though I think the Cocowalk redo is appropriate. I do think higher density development should be encouraged directly on Dixie but otherwise I have to say I wish the rest of Miami had such a dogged little group of residents protecting its other inherently valuable, historic areas. Too much is still bulldozed without a care in this town.

November 10, 2017 11:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What Jeremy said.

Bakery Center abuts US 1, across the street from Metrorail. This is exactly the place to put high-density development. You need to have residential and a hotel for this to work, financially. If someone has a better alternative plan, step forward. I haven't seen or heard of such a plan that is realistic. The city also needs to upzone the area on the west/north side of US 1 near the Metrorail station to foster smart development.

Center Grove has a distinct character that makes it the Grove. Different animal entirely.

November 10, 2017 1:04 PM  
Blogger Elvis Cruz said...

Why do so many leave anonymous comments?

= = =

South Miami's commissioners did the right thing to maintain the character and scale of their downtown.

The City of Miami's big problem is that mostly developers fund city commission campaigns – legal bribery – which results in tall vertical concrete all over the city.

Miami is zoned to allow 8 times more housing units than were counted in the 2010 census. That's before any more upzonings or Special Area Plans.

Speaking of which, Coconut Grove and Coral Gate would do well to wake up and work to repeal the Special Area Plan laws (Miami 21 3.9) before they are threatened by a high rise complex at the Home Depot / Milams property or the Sears property.

Hopefully our new mayor, Francis Suarez, and Grove Commissioner Ken Russell will help.

November 10, 2017 9:26 PM  
Blogger Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse said...

Couldn't agree more Tom.

November 11, 2017 2:44 PM  
Blogger lorid said...

The West Grove is a well established neighborhood in fact it is the oldest part of the grove, and yes I don't want these residents to be priced out of their neighborhood. The majority of the empty storefronts are because the building's owners have forced them out so that the buildings can be torn down to make way for the highrises. And yesI am a long time resident and I would like the scale and character of the area to remain liveable. If I wanted to live in a concrete canyon Iwould have moved to Brickell or North Beach.

November 12, 2017 1:28 PM  

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