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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Playhouse discussed at recent meeting

The Coconut Grove Playhouse was discussed at a recent BID Board Meeting. Commissioner Marc Sarnoff called it "an embarrassing situation."

Of the three people in charge of the playhouse, one is a very big lobbyist in the state, the chairman lives in Broward County, and third guy won’t even shake Sarnoff's hand.

Comm. Sarnoff was on the board for six months and they refused to have a meeting when he could meet. He said that it is time for the BID board to publicly say, “You have $20,500,000 in a bond issued by the County.” District Commissioner Carlos Gimenez is pushing forward an ordinance that says any money that has been allocated but not spent goes back to the County.

The incompetent playhouse board is on the verge of losing $20,500,000. But as of now, the county has been unwilling to pull the money.

The Playhouse also has a reverter clause that says that the state will take back the facility if it’s not run as a playhouse (a movie theater was considered). So far it's been vacant for four years and the state has not acted.

The Playhouse signed a development agreement with Aries Development, the company that owns Calamari.

There is talk of the MPA (Miami Parking Authority) putting money into the playhouse and building a garage adjacent to the property.

Legal action may be the next step. It may be the only way to get something moving. The current board apparently doesn't give a damn about the place. We still aren't sure why they are even on the board or why there still is a board at this late date.

The Playhouse Charrette conducted a year or so ago went nowhere. That report is here.

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Blogger Unknown said...

In my opinion, the county should yank the funds and restore the remaining lost 30% back to the arts and the community groups who make a difference.

I love the people who used to be employed at the playhouse, but have no love for the board.

September 22, 2009 11:51 AM  
Anonymous that guy said...

I wanted to make this into a concert venue, but even the mention of such an idea was criticized and dismissed. Apparently, they didn't want me to cheapen this lively place.

Now it sits for more years, empty, useless, worthless. I don't think having a few shows there would have hurt anything, and imagine the draw into the grove...

September 22, 2009 1:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A concert venue such as the Sunrise Theatre up in Broward is a GREAT idea ! What a money maker that would be !

September 22, 2009 3:27 PM  
Blogger SteveBM said...

I also like the idea of a playhouse/concert venue for smaller shows, like what the Gusman Theater is downtown. That place is a great venue. Buddy Guy melted faces off there a few years ago.

September 22, 2009 6:03 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I've gotta say, being young and short on memory... I honestly never remember this place exists, and that's pretty sad. Otherwise, I'll just echo what's been said. By the look of the facade, it would make a sweet place for concerts, though most likely jazz bands and chamber music moreso than rock or more modern music (where it'd be standing room only)

September 22, 2009 10:11 PM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

Excellent example of a true gem sitting dormant, collecting dust and graffiti.

This will go on for another 7 or 8 years because it's S. Florida.

Example: Miami Marine Stadium, the City's most valuable property, vacant since Hurricane Andrew - 1992.

September 22, 2009 10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Our officials like to let things rot so they must be torn down. It's part of their master plan.

September 23, 2009 3:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I read the Playhouse Charrette last night, seemed like they had a lot of good ideas but got stalled for no good reason. This is a beautiful building and should be celebrated as part of the Grove's rich history. Over $20 million waiting to be used... sounds like the perfect stimulus project to me.

We are always talking here about the travesty of historical buildings being demolished or neglected. This building has the potential to not only be a pull for our local businesses (as a thriving local theater) but could the start of a real historical district in Coconut Grove.

I also like that guy's idea of using it as a concert venue. Yet again another great way to bring people into our community.

September 23, 2009 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen, thanks for pointing out what we tend to forget so quickly. Please let us layman know what we can do to help.

September 23, 2009 5:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The first step is for that Broward County resident who serves as the incompetent Chairlady to resign. Then she should write the Playhouse a check to reimburse it for all her stupid decisions. Then all the other board members who made decisions that allowed the Playhouse to collapse should also write checks to pay for their mistakes.

September 23, 2009 6:04 PM  
Anonymous CLJ said...

The problem is that the building was in very poor shape when it closed; the structure will cost hundreds of millions to save, and everyone will fight the only rational approach of tearing it down and building new.

September 23, 2009 11:24 PM  

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