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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Is the playhouse salvageable; will it be saved?

I can't help but think they were just going through the motions a couple of weeks ago at the Playhouse meeting at City Hall. I really think that those who are restoring the playhouse are going to do what they are going to do. But that's the problem, is "restoring" the correct word or is the whole building being planned for demolition? salvageable 

It seems as if a popular plan calls for the facade to be saved and the rest of the building, a brand new structure build around it, will house a smaller 300 seat playhouse along with retail and a garage. But will it also include condos above and a CocoWalk type retail center surrounding the whole thing?

Architect Richard Heisenbottle's design.
The perfect plan looks to be that of architect Richard Heisenbottle which maintains the look and most of the footprint of the current playhouse, but we all know that when investors and developers are involved, there is going to be zero lot lines and heights as far up as allowed by law.

Some of the old playhouse employees feel that the interior is the important thing here, not the facade, but all the memories inside, including the stage, the seating, the dressing rooms and offices. While others feel that there was never enough room backstage or above the stage for proper productions, although for over 50 years that didn't seem to stop them from putting on first class shows. So what's the answer? 

In all these years that the playhouse has been falling apart, with an open roof and constant flooding, only two people have done anything to protect it;  I have two friends who contacted the state, who stepped in and did some work and then they also and did some repairs themselves to try and protect the old building from the elements. 

There will be other meetings on the subject.

Architect Richard Heisenbottle's design.

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Blogger Sledge said...

I want another beautiful Zen Village instead.

April 16, 2014 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is the meaning of historic preservation? Is our past so dark that it needs to be erased piece by piece?

April 16, 2014 9:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think this design looks great too, and yes, there needs to be something to go along with the playhouse, but with a fitting aesthetic. We need the building to be profitable enough to be properly maintained. This design would accomplish that.

April 16, 2014 12:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So it's basically going to be Mayfair: The Sequel but just placed at the opposite end of town.
(Looks at Mayfair. Listens to crickets and wind blowing thru empty spaces. Looks at empty storefronts)

Brilliant. :/

April 16, 2014 1:50 PM  
Anonymous That Guy said...

@1:15 - what is about mayfair that you don't like other than the empty storefronts? And are those a direct result of the mayfair itself, or a symptom of another, far larger problem?

What's your counter-propoal - leave the heap as is? Turn it into a parking garage?

April 16, 2014 4:14 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only way to a successful playhouse is for a group of real thespians and artists to direct its comeback, not some handpicked political developer parasites.

April 16, 2014 4:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 4:50

Where were these real thespians when the place was falling apart for nearly 10 years.

April 16, 2014 6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It needs to go. The place is full of mold & there's more Building Code violations in this structure than can be affordably repaired. Sell the building & land to the highest bidder. VTY - Larry M.

April 16, 2014 9:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Heisnebottle always overcharges. The Miami Womens Club on 18th Street is 5 years behind schedule, as Heisenbottle collected a fortune.

April 17, 2014 12:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@ 4:50

Just to clarify, Sarnoff and the likes of him won't do anything nor raise a finger unless it benefits them directly and a responsible and sane community cannot honestly leave an artistic endeavor of such historic significance to a bunch who have caused and designed Coconut Grove's malaise. The shuttering of Coconut Grove Playhouse happened under Commissioner Marc Sarnoff's watch and it is to the community's best interest if he has has no involvement in this artistic endeavor due to his consistent advocacy of doling it to his favored private business interest. A theater should be designed and run by actors, artists and thespians, not an ambulance chaser.

April 17, 2014 1:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"IF" the playhouse was full of mold as you allege it would represent a serious health hazard that would most definitely be affecting the health of folks working or walking in the area and represent a serious code violation. If you're serious and know what you're talking about call the health department. Why do people with nothing better to do constantly comment negatively about Mr. Sarnoff. Only an idiot writes these types of negative comments, unless of course you have 1st hand knowledge! Sarnoff is but one cog in a very large wheel & could not possibly have the power to cause the types of activity found in the comments section of the Grapevine, comment sense dictates this reality as does common denominators. Grow up and get a life.

April 18, 2014 11:11 AM  
Blogger Brian Breslin said...

Let's take a sober look at this issue, and I would love real answers as I haven't been kept up to date on this recently:
- What is the actual verified condition inside the CGPH? Is there mold?
- What complaints did the performers and theater operators have in the old structure (if we're going to improve the place, lets start here)
- What size of a venue can sustainably be built here? (can a quality production work with only 250 seats? can this community support a 400 seat venue?)
- Where can we see examples of successful theaters that were built in the last 10 years in other communities?
- What is the latest status from the county/state/city bonds on this project?

I propose we setup a wikipedia type of site that shows all the current and ongoing projects in our village and aggregates all the relevant information to each.

Also can everyone stop finger pointing and name calling? We're adults, lets stop bitching and start getting stuff done.

April 21, 2014 8:29 AM  

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