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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Grove Isle battle goes on

Proposed fourth tower.

There's been a battle over the proposed new tower at Grove Isle, I wrote about it on February 18. New owners, Grove Isle Associates plan to knock down the low-rise hotel and spa and place an 18 story condo tower in its place. Many current residents of the island are concerned. Their main concern is that views would be blocked and that the new building is too close to one of the existing towers. One reason they should applaud the issue is that the island would then be closed to transient traffic and only owners, renters and visitors would have access, rather than right now where anyone can enter and leave due to the hotel.

Grove Isle Associates (GIA) claims they consulted with a number of architects and decided on a building that would have the smallest impact. Not sure why a developer would do that, but if they did care about the current neighbors, they wouldn't be threatening them now with loss of current privileges like the tennis courts and other facilities.

GIA says the new building will measure approx. 210 feet in height and will hold 65 condo units on a footprint of 12,000 square feet. Ground breaking is planned for the fourth quarter of 2014 and the job could take up to 24 months.

There will be a new restaurant, bar and eating area on the island, but it will be for residents only, and not open to the general public. The new building would look nothing like the existing three towers, you can see it above, that should be a concern but it doesn't seem to be.

The short hotel building to the right would be replaced.
Opponents of the project claim they do not presently have a right to construct a residential tower on the island. Neither the City of Miami nor any court has made a determination that there is a right to develop as of this time. But there is a 1977 agreement that states they could build on the island. At the time of construction in the 1970s, after an argument, four towers were approved and all this time there have only been three towers and the smaller hotel. GIA wants to build the fourth tower now.

The Preserve Grove Isle committee states: "
The developer is interested in doing what is BEST for the developer and not for Grove Isle #1, #2 or #3, and its existing 510 apartments It is beyond naïve to think that the developer is truly concerned about long time Grove Isle residents. He is concerned with maximizing his economic return on his $24 million investment. He should be aware that the gross value of the existing apartments on Grove Isle is well over $400 million dollars."

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Their main concern is that views would be blocked and that the new building is too close to one of the existing towers. One reason they should applaud the issue is that the island would then be closed to transient traffic and only owners, renters and visitors would have access, rather than right now where anyone can enter and leave due to the hotel."

This is in a nutshell what happened to all 5 miles of former Coconut Grove Bay Views: 99% Gone today. Blocked by private concrete structures.

Nothing new, it's all about $$$. There will be a few hundred happy millionaires enjoying that awesome area, while the rest of us (thousands and thousands of visitors and Grove tax-paying residents per year)will have to rent a boat or helicopter to even get a sniff of the views.

I run and bike through there all the time, that little bridge, and have been kicked out of their little "beach" a couple times on a shake-a-leg rented kayak.

Guess that's gonna be a distant memory real soon.

Grove Isle should look even better that Brickell Bay Drive: a few minutes up North. Google Earth it up, or ride by. That's where I'll probably move soon enough.

March 11, 2014 9:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, Grove Isle will probably end up looking like a mini Brickell Key of sorts, exclusive area for the vast majority of people, out of bounds for your children, friends and family: Check the areal view:


March 11, 2014 9:53 AM  
Blogger James said...

Any chance we could keep up the traditional beauty of the old Grove and put a Shell gas station here instead?

March 11, 2014 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I should not be getting involved except that it’s an issue that hits very close to home. I grew up in Grove Isle Building II during the early eighties. Best childhood memories I have. I am sure many of the current residents who were living there at the same time will agree. I received a call from my younger brother earlier today. He was close to tears when he began to tell me that someone had purchased the land where the hotel, club, restaurant, pool and tennis courts currently stand. That there were plans of building a glass tower on the eastern side of the island.

I no longer live in Miami but my brother lives across South Bayshore Drive in Natoma Manors. He visits some friend’s parents once or twice a year and has seen the deterioration of the club and restaurant facilities. I have sailed by the island on two occasions during the last 10 years. Looking at the beautiful, majestic and serene towers only brings a smile to my face, no matter how aged they may look. They have a particular equality not found anywhere else in Miami. The whole island is a well though-out development, even judging by today’s standards. Everything is aligned, in proportion, as opposed to Brickell Key. To me it is a similar feeling I get when I’m in the presence of an older, wiser person (read: Grandma). You respect her for what she was, for what she is, but most importantly for what she meant to you and your family. Her legacy. I painfully recognize that many local politicians, government employees and developers do not give the legacy part the importance that I do.

Anything that does not involve remodeling, regardless of whether or not it stays as a hotel or condo, will destroy the island. I know many of the original residents still live in Grove Isle. Even many of the employees are still around after 20 years. All residents need to appreciate what they have, regardless of its defects, and learn to fall in love with Grove Island all over again. Don’t let your precious little world be turned upside down by a building that does not seem to belong anywhere near Coconut Grove. I remember there were many problems between the original developers, many even lasted into the new century. Learn from our history, Grove Isle does not need to keep reliving an old fight with a new developer.

Every resident need to do whatever it takes to make their wishes and voices heard all the way to City Hall. Grove Isle is over 500 residents strong! Pledge your support to the candidates that will help your cause. Some homeowners may not be able to vote or may not be in town that much. Get them to sign a petition. Five hundred plus signatures carry a lot of weight.

Ps. Many of my friends used to affectionately refer to Grove Isle as the Three Kings or Wise Men. I know your basketball team already has Three Kings, but Miami has plenty of room for Three Wise Men (or women). ;-)

March 11, 2014 11:01 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

So what's the big deal here. The Mutiny got swallowed; the laundry and Winn-Dixie are history; the Taurus? (haha); where's Dade Cycle, Tom Thumb, Lums, Sandy's Skates? At least there's still a head shop. Loggerhead is the last place and as far into the Grove as I go anymore.

March 11, 2014 11:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The new building would look nothing like the existing three towers, you can see it above, that should be a concern but it doesn't seem to be."

Oh but it is a real concern...

The proposed tower trashes the island's masterplan... it throws the island out of balance... at least be sympathetic to the existing structure -- shapes and colours.

March 11, 2014 11:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is not being mentioned here is the way in which the developer threatens and divides the residents for his own benefit. Not to mention the disregard for city ordinances and code. Our city officials have been complicit in turning a blind eye on the state of disrepair of our roads, sewer drains, landscape (oh, sorry they don't trim or pick up garbage, but somehow seem to have the $ to plant a tree everywhere!!!) in favor of million dollar high rises that will be sold to foreign investor. Unlike us, they don't have to deal with the daily CRAP and traffic we have to.

The city of Miami, in particular the Grove, should impose a two year moratorium on any new development until all problems have been fixed. The Grove has always had a UNIQUE style, bohemian, woodsy. Who are they to take it away from the residents. We need officials like Coral Gables that are interested in maintaining the look and feel of their neighborhoods.

March 11, 2014 12:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know if the author of the piece lives in the Grove or not but this is a site dedicated to News in Coconut Grove. Developments affect the Grove and its residents. People that visit sites like this not only search for news but also are looking for a voice. Trust me the people i'm talking about are not the developers. They are residents. While trying to be balanced while reporting the news, try not to offer opinions, really, unless they help the residents. High rises, traffic, etc. don't help anyone. Also show some concern for the lack of political will displayed by our elected officials in keeping with the law and our wishes.

March 11, 2014 12:54 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

One reason they should applaud the issue is that the island would then be closed to transient traffic and only owners, renters and visitors would have access, rather than right now where anyone can enter and leave due to the hotel.

although it is a benefit, the non resident club members will be kicked out. Some people to mind the open access. But Grove Isle has excellent security. I have only heard of two incidents in over 20+ years. The restaurant and hotel are welcome with their clientele. It helps pay for maintenance and to keep the facilities running smoothly. Some increase in perimeter patrolling may be necessary. But to APPLAUD that white whale? or allow this Avila character to set foot on our island? Read his only two communiques. These people are not welcome here. They have tried to side step the association very step of the way. The smaller footprint of one tower??? Its not the footprint. 1. He will probably not be able to build on tennis courts due to regulation (Miami 21) 2. It is cheaper to build one structure. 3. bay views fetch prices over 3MM. Canal views, on the other hand, are not as pricey and profitable.

March 11, 2014 1:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just rode the bike into Grove Isle, they just asked for my name when I told security I was just visiting the Hotel. As many of you know, it's really nice in there, lots of awesome views, places to run, tennis courts, pools, etc.

It's a shame that the average Grove resident or visitors can't enjoy much of it, or don't even know it's there. And soon, it seems, it will be completely out of limits.

BTW, I found out, BTW, the Club membership there is already $2000/year. Can't blame them, met some fortunate friends who were fishing huge barracudas right there on this beautiful day!

More Grovites should go visit. Ride your bikes, drive, run, whatever. Visit this unique place and see for yourselves what we will probably soon be missing, unless someone in the family making millions invites us one day..

We should voice our perspective and concerns about this at City Hall, the more the merrier, along with Grove trolley, Peacock park and other key issues.

March 11, 2014 3:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You guys had a Tom Thumb AND Lums?!?! Wow, we're really missing out! Who could pass up on that action.

March 11, 2014 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Grove Isle has always been one of Miami's nicest places to live. It is due to the fact that it stands alone in an island where everyones has a great view. The proposed project will completely block the eastern view for the 3rd building residents. The proposed tower will look completely out of place and turn the island into another brickell key. The nice thing of GI is its tropical feel and amenities such as a restaurant, hotel, spa and club house. When will the city stop issuing permits to build more million dollar condos to glut the market???

Bayshore drive and the bridge into GI only have 2 lanes. This is a mess waiting to happen. The city needs to take a stand and stop overdevelopment such as this. Save some of the Coconut Grove charm. Also, anything built in such a small space needs to conform to current zoning laws such as Miami 21.

GI residents which number close to 500 are extremely concerned about such a drastic change to their lifestyle. Many are horrified at the prospect of losing marketability and property value. This could not happen at a worse time.

March 12, 2014 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"One reason they should applaud the issue is that the island would then be closed to transient traffic and only owners, renters and visitors would have access, rather than right now where anyone can enter and leave due to the hotel."

Yes... because you know us "transients" spoil everything.

I guess that's democracy for you.

March 12, 2014 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As far as I know, I could be wrong, Grove Isle is a private island. Since developers negotiated for a club and restaurant amongst themselves (with city approval )they gave public access to those facilites for guests, clients or members of the tennis or marina. What is wrong with protecting that. Non residents have been asked to leave because they fish off the walkway and use our pools. Any other condo is the same. But I guess since you want democracy and probably walk your dog around the island so he craps in our backyard, make sure you have proper attire (a sports jacket is not necessary during the day). However shoes and shirts are required.

March 13, 2014 9:10 AM  

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