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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Movement at the Playhouse within 30 days?

So as the arts in Coconut Grove continue to wither, today's Miami Herald states that, the State of Florida is going to reclaim the Coconut Grove Playhouse within 30 days.

The inept board drove the place into the ground and now as termites invade the structure, it sits there and rots. Not too long ago, a bunch of wild kids destroyed everything inside, that the termites didn't get.

I have a theory and I am probably wrong, but this constant stalling and battling tactic may be taking place on purpose so that the whole thing crumbles in on itself and the structure can then be knocked down and a new structure can be placed onsite, which many people want.

Once the building is torn down, watch how fast something else will go up. That's a highly prized site, there is plenty of land behind the playhouse for development and many want something new, rather than preserve history.

I am only speculating and hope I am proven wrong, but it has been over six years that the place has been shuttered, the blue facade is now gray, the scaffolding and boarding is hanging off. Something needs to be done fast. Remember Give It Back in April? Well it's September now and soon will be April again and the termites are chewing away.

One of the entities involved is cheating me out of about $2000 for advertising (that's another story I'll post soon), so I am not surprised at this point that crooked hands may be at play here.

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18 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give it baaaaaaccck!!!

September 12, 2012 11:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I remember my mother taking me to concerts and plays there as a child.
I remember taking acting lessons with a great lady named Corky.
I remember introducing my father, one of the founders along with Ric "The Cove" O'Barry, on stage for the World Dolphin Foundation Benefit concert with John Senastian, Timothy B Schmidt, Jimmy Buffet. I think Jose Feliciano and Steven Stills were there as well but that may have been other occasions. It was one of the great showplaces in Miami and has/had a history of showcasing top talent of the day.

Coconut Grove and it's current stewards and property owners seem to consciously be trying to destroy anything that references the history of the last 80 years or so.

Watch out Bernacle. You're next.

Christopher Neil

September 12, 2012 12:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B-A-rnacle. Barnacle dammit.

Dammit.

September 12, 2012 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Heinz Dinter, PhD said...

Tom, your theory is backed up by the fact the vultures have already begun their task of gulping down this valuable real estate. Gino Falsetto's Aries Development Group has lost the vacant land (parking lot) behind the Playhouse and Pierre Heafey's Heagrand Inc has grabbed it for little more than a song in the foreclosure court. What else is exciting news about Gino Falsetto? The facts are documented in www.CoconutGroveRape.com. Gino Falsetto may not walk away with the loot, but watch out for Pierre Heafey. We must fight these condo marauders!

September 12, 2012 12:58 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

this may sound controversial, but can we please tear it down? it is designed for a community 90 years ago. lets design something for the 21st century. pay homage to the classic design, but make it built to last another 90 years.
we need live music venue/theater/community space, and there are better uses for that land (which is in short commodity here in the grove) than a derelict building and a decaying parking lot.

September 12, 2012 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Give it baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack, LMFAO, give it back only to Bozo and friends.

September 12, 2012 6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When the Playhouse first opened in 1927, the building housed a movie theater (which were three times as popular than they are now), apartments and retail shops! That was the original vision.

Why not re-create that now with a smaller playhouse that can be profitable and sustainable -- as well as apartments and retail shops -- just like the original designers wanted...

September 13, 2012 12:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was not built with apartments and shops for a reason, right? Why not just a playhouse the way playhouses were envisioned. Stop the backward political innuendos that got the playhouse and Grove to the condition that it has come to.

September 13, 2012 1:25 PM  
Anonymous Cherie said...

Not sure I understand your point Brian. You want to tear it down, yet you say we need a place for live music/theater. So why not just re-do the current space that was already designed for live music/theater?
Tear it down to start over?
Or tear it down to put soemething else there and then look and try to find land elsewhere (a short commodity here) for live music/theater/community space?

September 14, 2012 3:27 PM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

@cherie
I say tear it down and build something NEW in its place. the building is filled with termites, mold, and other nasty stuff. to fix it would cost millions, to build something new and better, not much more. Why throw good money after bad? Why invest in a decrepit building which doesn't serve the needs of modern theater or music.

September 14, 2012 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

tear it down bring a house of blues there

September 14, 2012 8:12 PM  
Anonymous RP said...

Your theory has a name Tom; it's called "demolition by benign neglect"
Everyone had a dream and a scheme in this one Rebuilding/restoring was way down the list, IMHO
RP

September 15, 2012 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Marcelo Salup said...

I say, tear it down.

1. It is an eyesore and in horrible disrepair
2. The previous board was inept, yes, but the business model isn't there anymore. People just don't want to go to the theater (at least, enough people to make it commercially viable)

So, if a group of people really enjoy the theater, let them fund it out of their own pocket

Now... the profusion of gallery walks has proved that there is a demand for them. People like them, they like the walking around, peeking into galleries, discovering random art, mingling with other people. Just go to Wynwood.

So build a huge glass cube, tall, square, all glass. Nothing to do with previous architecture. Fill it up with small galleries with as many diverse artists as you can. Have the city give whomever develops that a sizeable tax break for 5 years and watch the area come alive

September 15, 2012 10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Brian. Keep the facade if you must, but tear it down and build something fit for modern day theatre purpose. People expect more from their theatre in this day and age than they did when the original playhouse was built. They did it in Belfast when they tore down the old Lyric Theatre and built a new modern theatre on the same site.

By building something new (but keep the facade), there is the option of adding on conference studios, music rehearsal space, theatre rehearsal space, a cafe, the options are endless. Renovate and keep it to the same spec, it'll be same ol' same ol'.

Any amateur dramatists out there by the way?

September 16, 2012 1:36 PM  
Blogger C.L.J. said...

Cherie - the current space was NOT designed for live entertainment, it was designed for showing movies, and then converted into a venue for live performance - but badly. It was never a great venue, it just brought in good people.

Parts of the building have been condemned as structurally unsound since the late nineties. And fully restoring it will cost many times what it would cost to knock it down and build something new. You like the facade? There are cities all around the world that have preserved facades even older, while installing modern structures within.

And if you did waste the money restore the space as it was, you'd be back in the same situation; a venue poorly suited to live entertainment in the 21st century.

There have been good plans drawn up for a smaller theatre for a resident theatre company and a company is standing by to take over a venue in that location; those same plans include a larger venue for concerts and larger productions: those are the plans we should continue with.

September 18, 2012 3:45 PM  
Blogger C.L.J. said...

Marcelo - the success of Palm Beach DramaWorks in West Palm Beach and The Maltz Theatre in Jupiter indicate that theater isn't dead yet, if you get someone with vision involved.

September 18, 2012 3:46 PM  
Blogger C.L.J. said...

@onefootinthegrove; I work in professional theatre, and I am familiar with the building's structural shortcomings through contact with many of its former staff members.

September 18, 2012 3:48 PM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

Gee Grape, I wonder what that "new structure" and "something else" might be..." We have all known all along that there is going to be a giant condo building on that site.

Don't hide your eyes from the truth, that plan has been set for years. Follow the money.

September 21, 2012 11:42 AM  

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