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Friday, March 20, 2015

Keeping an eye on development

A city planner, with the City of Miami, has told me to be vigilant about Regatta Park. I wrote a year ago that the park is contaminated, which seems to be the case with every park in the City of Miami. He says that developers have their eyes on the park. Now I don't know if I should believe what he said next, but why not - he says that the park has no movement in the way of cleaning it up so that people forget about it and a developer can then move in. The developer will offer to clean up the park and of course take a large chunk themselves to build on.

It makes sense, and again, it doesn't, as the whole reasoning for Regatta Park was to give the Stack of Bar Napkins Buildings their own private park across the street. It's open for everyone, but the only reason they built the park was to accommodate the condos. If the condos were not built, we would still have the Expo Center/move studio. There is already some shenanigans going on regarding land/parking grabs with the parking spaces, where the park is taking spaces that were used by boaters behind docks 6 and 7 and where the Celebration yacht is docked now, new owners from the new condos being built across the street, are trying to wrestle the spots away for their own private yachts. There may be a struggle going on over that. I'll get more info and report when I find out the facts.

The city planner went on to tell me that Coconut Grove is losing "its flavor." He said that large cities like Washington DC and NYC keep their flavor by building up, but by keeping the facades, which brings up another issue, do we want the Center Grove to be built up?

He said that on Miami Beach a certain building was to be partially saved. It had two remaining walls that were historic and to be part of the new building. Strangely, in the middle of the night, the decades old walls collapsed, just like that. That could be the fate of the Coconut Grove Playhouse if we allow the facade to stay and something else to be built on the property. So it would be in the best interest for everyone who wants to save the playhouse, to keep the whole playhouse structure. So if a plan comes up to keep the facade only, that could be a problem waiting to happen. 

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Given Sarnoff's desire to demolish the Convention Center for a "park" and how close he is to developers - this doesn't seem too far fetched.

March 20, 2015 8:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah, DC doesn't build up because no building is allowed to be taller than the Capitol, and NYC isn't building up? Are you kidding?

March 20, 2015 10:49 AM  
Blogger L.A. Shane said...

NYC keeps it's flavor ??!!?? By pushing out mom and pops for more chain stores ?! Is that what the man meant ?! :/

March 20, 2015 10:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like what will happen in the Grove seeing as many mom and pop shops are being pushed out either with the threat
of rising rental costs or developers buying up central Grove buildings with the thoughts only of changing the whole
feeling and look of the Historical Village.The flavor here in the end will leave a bad taste of sameness as anywhere else in Florida! Shame!

March 20, 2015 11:59 AM  
Blogger Tony Scornavacca Jr. said...

Great post.

No way any private venture should have any area of that park. It's public.

But, I disagree with the implication that the park is mostly for the condo owners. Could other Miami residents say Peacock Park and Kennedy Park were built mainly for the Grove residents?

In Center Grove, I would not want buildings higher than the present ones, and the old buildings should not be destroyed, in my opinion.

... The Coconut Grove Playhouse must be restored.

March 20, 2015 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Remember guys, arson is popular. Have to be vigilant with the Playhouse.

Both Sarnoff and people who are running to replace him have not demonstrated any commitment toward preserving the flavor of our Grove.

March 20, 2015 9:40 PM  
Blogger Ken said...

DC keeps fake facades, it is a phony model... Not to be emulated...

March 20, 2015 10:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only "flavor" anyone these days tries to preserve is that of a dollar bill.

March 21, 2015 8:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If this park is contaminated, what are the health effects of living near it? What should Grove residents be vigilant about in terms of health?

March 21, 2015 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

in my opinion Regatta Park was nothing more than bait for Sarnoff to get Grove Harbor approved. He used the promise of a park to take your eyes off the intense commercialization he plans for the waterfront. Originally Regatta Park was to be 8 acres. Now it's down to about 4 as the parking that is near City Hall and Along Pan American Drive is slated to be leased in part to the Grove Harbor Development as they apparently the Developers do not want to partially fund the planned Garage. IN addition the latest submittal to the Planning and Zoning Dept. calls for Grove Harbor to be built in Phases..ie the restaurants will get built and it could be years before anything happens with the Historic Hangers. What was voted on is not happening..with Grove Harbor or Regatta Park. Sarnoff is behind all of this.He has no problem lying to the people who elected him to enrich his friends and himself.

March 21, 2015 10:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A modest request:

Let's stop calling the building a "stack of bar napkins." The residents there will be future neighbors, friends, and customers.

March 21, 2015 10:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regatta park wasn't built to accommodate condos and wasn't going to be a private park. You posted a story about that last year and it was pretty much soundly debunked. Your site serves a great purpose, but you really need to watch it with the rumors and innuendo that make it onto your blog.

March 21, 2015 10:57 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont trust anyone in the city to just give the residents back their park. Nowadays we have to make a park "pay" via fees or corporate events or private leases or rentals...despite the fact that we have already paid for it via our high taxes.

March 21, 2015 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:52 Put ethics back in business by being truthful and stop supporting scumbag politicians and people will stop calling it "stack of bar napkins" or "twisted towers" or "Fawlty Towers"

March 21, 2015 3:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What are you talking about? What do politicians have to do with a private company buying private land and constructing a building on that land using private money? Welcome to 21st century market capitalism.

Certain Grovites really need to step back, take a deep breath, and understand that Miami is changing. The Bohemian era of the Grove is over; it ended a LONG time ago. If you're upset with the change, then blame yourselves. For such a liberal pocket of Miami some of the most conservative, cynical, and anti-change people live here. You can't even replace rotting trees without the usual hyperbolic insults, name calling, and conspiracy theories being bantered about. The irony is the Grove could have been the arbiter of all this change, but you couldn't agree what it should look like. Well it's here, and the dirt is flying.

On a final note, the old Grovites need to be careful of turning into an easily mocked cliche; a 24 hour, 365 a day version of the King Mango Strut constantly playing to a shrinking audience: yourselves.

March 21, 2015 4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Let's stop calling the building a "stack of bar napkins." The residents there will be future neighbors, friends, and customers."

I wonder how many apartments there will be and how many people will actually live there. And how many will be our actual "neighbors and friends and customers.."

Each apartment will be in the High Millions, will they even sell half of them, and won't it be mostly to investors or occasional very wealthy tourists..?

Looking at the Grovernor, for instance, a much more affordable building.. it's always empty. I wouldn't expect many new "Grovites" living there and shopping at 2 tacos x $5 down the street..

March 21, 2015 6:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@4:44 You seem to be very smart. Can you tell us why some of the most toxic land in Miami turned into public parks?

March 21, 2015 7:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Need go no further than Kennedy Park. It seems the land is so toxic there, that they permanently shut down the filthy bathrooms.

March 21, 2015 7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Burn Notice" was one of the best TV series ever filmed in Miami. It was worth hundreds of millions in free publicity to Miami-Dade County and it provided many dozens of very well paid jobs. Hundreds? Sarnoff spent years trying to evict them.

March 21, 2015 7:41 PM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

TO Anonymous @3:26
You're the cliche..This is not about old hippies trying to preserve a 1960's culture my friend. It's about a very wealthy, upscale, exclusive and unique community that doesn't want to be destroyed. The Grove is one of the most unique places in all of Florida ..the U.S. really. Basically we paid and continue to pay big dollars to live in this special place. We simply dont want some uneducated clowns and corrupt politicians coming in and screwing up our neighborhood. Like I said you don't get it..Educate yourself on what the Grove is, walk around, breathe in the beauty of this unique place and perhaps you will understand why it needs to be saved from the likes of ill informed people like you. Once its gone it will be gone forever.

March 21, 2015 8:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

@8:00; @9:34

And the hysteria and hyperbole have begun. You guys never fail and because of that, you will never be taken seriously.

March 22, 2015 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

10:54 The capitalism most Americans believe in is of a fair market place open to everyone with little restrictions, you seem to be advocating a closed and exclusive market. What are you trying to advocate by introducing philosophic questions into a report about a PUBLIC waterfront land that has some serious problems?

March 22, 2015 1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1:08 If speculators pay TOO MUCH for a piece of Grove property or land does not mean that we should change zoning in order to make their investment pay off. It means they made a bad investment decision and should live with it. Many of these players need to invest heavily in legal and political muscle to break down consensus and bend Miami21 code and in so doing hurt others who ARE playing by the rules.

The Village Council was recently told that Miami's Planning Dept. has been overwhelmed by a tsunami of huge and small development projects proposed for the city. The planners are the ones that advised that residents of Coconut Grove MUST stay vigilant and proactive regarding what is proposed for our neighborhood.

March 23, 2015 10:03 AM  
Anonymous swlip said...

I'm mainly annoyed at the lack of certainty over parking at the Dinner Key Marina. My business partner and I keep a boat on Pier 6, and parking is usually no big deal. However, the area between the north and south sides of the lot, behind the new dockhouse, is closed off for landscaping. This forces us to choose between a narrow strip along the south sea wall or, if no luck there, to drive back out onto Bayshore to Pan Am Drive, where spaces are more plentiful but more distant from the marina.

Last weekend, parking was impossible. Trailers from the Seminole ramp were everywhere, blocking multiple spaces at a time. I had to park in a City Manager Staff space in front of City Hall, despite having a marina decal.

This is a ridiculous situation.

March 24, 2015 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Sarnoff really need to force a $5 Mil Dock Master Building north of City Hall? Monster, isn't it?

March 28, 2015 2:57 PM  

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