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Thursday, June 20, 2013

The old Grove's clock is ticking

For so many of us who have been here most or all of our lives, it's so sad to see what Coconut Grove is being pushed to become. So many new faces just see Coconut Grove as a future money machine, rather than a sleepy little village, which is why so many of us moved here. But it is progress and I personally don't know how to take it. There are times when I write against new development and people have asked me, "Did your condo building float down like a feather in the middle of the night?" So maybe I am part of the problem. Should I say, "That's it, I have mine, you can't have yours?"

When I suggested the Shake Shack in the Glass House at Peacock Park, people called me a traitor for wanting a restaurant there. But I was not advocating for a restaurant, I was just saying if that is what is going in, then that is my choice of restaurant, but I don't care what goes in frankly, because I feel like it is the beginning of the end of the Grove we want to remember.

Yesterday there was a luncheon and talk on Brickell to discuss the Grove's future, yes, on Brickell. Crew Miami, a commercial real estate association in Miami with approximately 150 members who are business and real estate professionals, has the monthly meetings at the Four Seasons, so that's why it was not held in Coconut Grove, it was just part of their monthly routine at that venue. The Grove just happened to be the subject.

Various speakers from Commissioner Marc Sarnoff to David Martin, President and COO of the Terra Group and even a rep from the BID took turns speaking. The Pointe Group was there too, speaking about their Grand Avenue project, which they say should break ground soon.

The promo for the luncheon was:  "As Miami’s real estate market heats up, the waterfront community of Coconut Grove is seeing its own renaissance. From the mixed-use project Grove Village on Grand that will add retail, residences and office, to the luxury residential towers Grove at Grand Bay that recently broke ground, new developments are shaping the future of the neighborhood. Join us as an expert panel discusses how the private and public sectors are investing in the future of Coconut Grove."

David Martin is making the rounds marketing his new Grove at Grand Bay and also the Coconut Grove Bank site. He'll be speaking at the Chamber's luncheon tomorrow. Others spoke about the Glass House and the future of our waterfront and basically all things Grove. They are trying to incorporate old and new; history with gleaming new condos.

I almost see a couple of large entities taking over the Grove, it's like Coconut Grove, brought to you by so and so. Sort of like naming a sports stadium for the highest bidder. But we do need new blood, don't we? No one from the "old Grove" has come up with any suggestions, so guys with money have come in. It was inevitable. I just hate to see our small little village change from being a small little village.

I find it interesting that the Mercy Project was said to be a traffic nightmare in the making, but no one has brought up this fact about the extra condos and the new "Bayside" on the waterfront.

David Martin, from Terra, mentioned the Playhouse and stated that he likes how it is and it just needs to be renovated. But every time a developer mentions the Playhouse, I cringe. Pointe Group mentioned the Florentine Plaza, you know, where the Knife Restaurant was. They talk of plans for a little village there. A village within a village?

The idea of the trolley coming through the Grove came up at the luncheon but was ignored. All the realtors present loved the idea and I do see it happening, who knows when, but it will happen. We are the only neighborhood without a trolley and oddly enough, what's old is new again and all the up and coming developments are pushing trolley service as a selling point all over the country.

Sarnoff brought up the Expo Center site, David Martin calls it "Regatta Park." Sarnoff compared it's future as a park to The Highline in New York, saying that was a big draw in New York now. Which it is.  We do have that long line of parks along the waterfront here in Coconut Grove, and hopefully that will remain and not become commercial.

More to come. Keep your eyes out for lots of cranes in our future, and I don't mean the bird type.

As for the Chamber Luncheon, it's at the Sonesta (2889 McFarlane Road), Friday, June 21 from noon to 2 pm. Admission is $30 for Chamber members and $35 for guests. RSVP to 305-444-7270. David Martin of Terra is the featured speaker. State Rep. Javier Rodriguez and Senator Gwen Margolis will be presenting Monty Trainer and the Coconut Grove Arts Festival with a proclamation for their 50 year anniversary.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love your blog Tom, but it seems like you (and many "old school" Groveites) don't have an answer for what you want the Grove to be. You've written many articles in the past about how the Grove is slow, how the retail/restaurant areas are in trouble, etc, but now we have what looks like some real movement towards growth and expansion, and now it seems you're upset about it.

June 20, 2013 9:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hate to say i told you so but i told you so.the grove is about to go thru a 360 change which i think its needed.there is no such thing as a sleepy little village.the reason i moved here and most of my friends moved here is because it wasnt a sleepy little village.it was full of clubs and cool place with crowds all the time.money flowing just as much as the booze.now its become a boring little town with more rules comming out every day.wow so boring that there asking people not to use blowers.are you kidding me.wow people grow up.im all for the new changes and i hope new condos and and bay market places and bars clubs and big chains join us.

June 20, 2013 10:00 AM  
Anonymous LuLu said...

I moved to the Grove in April 2013, So I'm a newbie. However, I feel a sense of camaraderie and neighborly love here I have not found in any other area of Miami. And I've lived here for 23 years. The day I moved in, all my neighbors (other young Professionals and recent grads ages 23-35) came to introduce themselves and lend a hand. Since then we have shared many nights of bonfires in our community yard, enjoyed countless drinks at Greenstreet and delicious burgers at the Lokal. To me, all the things you say about the "Old Grove" are still alive and well. On my daily 3 mile runs I encounter countless "Good Morning" and "Good Evening" salutes, I love all the local stores and that the staff at most of my haunts know and recognize me and my husband. We cannot dwell on the past, without progress things are doomed. Yes, perhaps in the past there were more street festivals and happenings, but the Grove still has more going on that dozens of other villages and municipalities in Miami Dade County. The Music fest this Friday and the Chalk artist creating her awesome street art are just two examples of things happening this week! Are things wrong with out little town? Yes, things can always be better. But lets focus on the good and positive and move forward and welcome change and give it a chance!

June 20, 2013 10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just amigine how awsome it was before

June 20, 2013 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's true that people make the community. The Grove still has a very cool cast of people. However, you have a lot of top down planners who think they know what the Grove should look like and they have gotten their way for almost 10 years now. Its not just Sarnoff or developers or the village council or the business owners....everyone drank the kool aid that money solves problems and that development Miami-style is the future. The Grovites themselves caused a poor business climate, let the nightlife die and let the area gentrify that is allowing the developers come in. One important lesson from all this: You can't be pro-community and anti-business. Also, allowing your city commission to build wonderland entertainment venues everywhere but the Grove just exacerbated the issue.

June 20, 2013 1:42 PM  
Anonymous Peter Chase said...

I lived in the Grove a mere 40 years ago, in a wooden house on Matilda Street. Even then, the outside world was interfering. Imagine--we had a drugstore and three grocery stores. It was a real town.

But worst of all is that the people we love move away or die. No zoning decrees or architectural restrictions can help that.

So enjoy Scotty's Landing while you can.

June 20, 2013 2:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Sarnoff no problem

June 20, 2013 2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With all due respect Lulu, I've lived here in the Grove for 50 years, my parents lived here and my grandparents lived here. Your comment to "focus on the good and positive and move forward and welcome change and give it a chance!" is on par with the mentality of a rapist who feels that if the victim would just relax and stop complaining they would enjoy it.

btw- open fires in residential districts are illegal. One of the reasons is because sparks or lit material can settle on neighboring rooftops and cause a house fire.
Thanks for moving to the Grove, telling me to just accept what the Developers are doing (and have been doing since the three story hight limit on buildings in the Grove was rescinded) and, by irresponsibly having open fires in your yard, possibly setting my house on fire.

June 20, 2013 3:20 PM  
Anonymous LuLu said...

Dear Anonymous,

Firstly, to compare my mentality to that of a rapist is beyond out of line. Have you ever been raped Sir/Madam? Have you ever known the victim of a violent sexual crime? Its obvious you have no business making comparisons such as this because if you knew someone who had been the victim of Sexual Assault it WOULD NEVER OCCUR to you to make such a comment. Having been a victim of a childhood assault of this nature, I condemn your poor taste in judgement in using these words to compare my views/opinions. SHAME ON YOU!

My bonfire which is performed in a designated "fire pit" is perfectly in code with all city decrees. I have had my family's legal representative check City ordinances in Miami Dade County and "Fire Pits" are indeed legal. They ARE NOT legal in Broward, however this is not Broward.

It poses no threat to you or your home.

Next time you use crude, horrific language to confront someone I suggest you use logic and empathy before typing your nonsense away.

June 20, 2013 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Hern said...

Chill out "Anonymous" the Grove is not bad. I enjoyed it in the past and I enjoy it now. Like all neighborhoods, villages, towns etc the more people come in the more they change/evolve. Once you have something good as soon as people know about it they want a piece. By the way I also have countless bonfires and have yet to burn any property.

June 20, 2013 3:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you went through such a traumatic experience and especially at an early age. It is obviously is a powerful trigger word association for you but I did not compare the act itself ( which is reprehensible ) but the attitude of the actor. The attitude and lack of empathy or understanding of the one who is performing the act. Someone or something with power over your future or something that you hold dear and watching that thing be destroyed and being helpless to stop it and being told "focus on the good and positive" or "give it a chance.".
My comment was about the mentality of the aggressor, not the physical act of rape. Unfortunately I know several girls who have been raped. One of them was 5 when she was assaulted and I had known her family since before she was born. So, while never being the victim, I assure you I can identify with the rage, helplessness, fear and sorrow that that heinous act inflicts on both victim and family.

I hope you have found peace and your attacker has found either help or a deep hole in the ground.

If you go to miamidade.gov and look up Open Fires you will see all open fire requie a permit.. I think you family's lawer lied to you. Now you can have cooking fires but your description of "bonfires in our community yard" didn't sound like you were talking about a BBQ.

June 20, 2013 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too the old hack Anon, who cannot backtrack fast enough. Put the computer away, before I have your nurse unplug it permanently.

Your time is over. Hope you enjoyed it. Now let others have their time.

ps. please stop attacking people verbally. That is neither the purpose of the blog, or the way anyone who's lived 50 years, let alone 50 years in one place thus implying greater age, should behave.

June 20, 2013 5:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hopefully the developers are not going to pull a Miami Marlins Stadium on us, I believe some such as Pointe Group are Grove born and raised therefore deeply care for the area and its future, not that we should not hold them all up to high standards and ethical conduct and demand better than Miami style business as usual. Mixture of old and tasteful new can work, go see some cities in Europe, such as Vienna, Rome and London's old neighborhoods.

June 20, 2013 6:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow... what a strange defense of developers... just cause their Grove-born? What about the Carlisle Group? Our low-income housing king! Their Grove-born, too.

June 21, 2013 8:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was equally taken aback by the comment comparing Grove development to rapists.
Obviously 50 year Grover is living in the past.
Sounds like you're living in the present and looking forward to a good future.

June 21, 2013 2:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for using the word Grover in place of Grovite since I have come to dislike the latter, it is used too often by a small conceited clique as are: reached out to, open door policy, smh along with a long sigh.

June 21, 2013 3:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not to worry if good people disagree with you. Look at it this way: You are performing a valuable, local service: sparking debate, keeping all of us informed, and building a sense of community. Anyone with a sliver of maturity could rightfully disagree with you, as I have, and still hold you in high esteem. "Keep on truckin'."


June 23, 2013 9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Welcome to the Grove, where everyone hates on everyone else. Stay classy, fellas!

June 23, 2013 9:00 PM  

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