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Monday, August 31, 2015

The Center Grove may be shifting

I wrote about the Scotty's Landing mess and it dawned on me that if the new Grove Harbour is built, the center of Coconut Grove may shift, at least regarding visitors. The new project will most likely be the prime spot for visitors mostly because it will be something new and shiny.

Quite often, I am asked by a wandering tourist, usually two questions - where is Versailles restaurant and where are the restaurants on the waterfront? I also am a bit concerned about the Grove Harbour project bringing a lot of traffic to 27th Avenue. Will it become a non-stop highway of cars heading into and out of the new restaurants and stores? Maybe, maybe not.

Right now the tour buses stop at City Hall. The tourists get out, walk around and they take lots of pictures of downtown Miami from that vantage point, past Scotty's Landing, over the bay. If the new restaurants are built, they will stay. They may not come into the Center Grove.

I remember when I was a kid, Commodore Plaza was the center of town, then it moved to CocoWalk and Mayfair and now it seems like it's shifting back to Commodore, but if the Grove Harbour project is built, everything will shift - not blocks, but a mile!

I am surprised that the current business owners in the Center Grove have not said anything, about the new project since they will be the most affected. I've been asked to come by the commissioner's office to see a new rendering of the project. Maybe I can get a better idea of it after seeing that.

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Blogger James said...

I think that this will be a minor thing, as long as they extend the free trolley to the center grove. Have a trolley stop at city hall, and then in center grove.

August 31, 2015 7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do one can't wait for the new mall.
Jobbie Stupid

August 31, 2015 8:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Quite often, I am asked by a wondering tourist, usually two questions - where is Versailles restaurant and where are the restaurants on the waterfront? "

That's because the "Waterfront" was blocked long, long ago. The entire 5 miles of it, between Gables' Circle and K. Biscayne toll plaza, to be exact.

Only open "waterfront"spot that was left for the regular tourist or driver passing by was the Seminole boat ramp. The only "waterfront" restaurants were Scotty's, Charthouse and Monty's, That's it.

In that sense the new plastic mall would add, indeed, some new, stupid, common "waterfront restaurants" as if there aren't enough Don Shulas in Miami and everywhere else already.

Better than that hideous piece of concrete they called "Expo-Center"? Sure.

But a Mall is just another mall. Nothing Grovey about it. That, and the original "waterfront" Grove is long gone.

August 31, 2015 9:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We all know that the Versailles Palace is right across the street form the Science Museum. These ignorant bus tourists just need new guides, and should study a bit of world history.

August 31, 2015 9:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We all know that the Versailles Palace is right across the street form the Science Museum"

Versailles Palace you say? Please spread some knowledge about it and tell us more about its location across the science museum.

August 31, 2015 11:59 AM  
Anonymous CharlesCorda said...

The Sasaki Plan was very clear in stating that nothing should be built on the Waterfront that competes with the businesses in Center Grove. This was a clear requirement of the The Coconut Grove Waterfront & Spoil Islands Master Plan (Sasaki Plan) that Sarnoff in his zealous promotion of Grove Harbor, chose to ignore. Well not actually ignore but lie about as he worked day and night to get the mall, restaurants, bars, banquet hall and massive parking garage approved. Sarnoff and his minions including in this case Michelle Niemeyer did everything possible to refute the inclusion of this requirement in the Sasaki Plan. It is are excerpts directly from the Sasaki Plan...


"To inform the master plan, a market analysis was prepared in 2006 to help understand opportuni- ties to enhance other revenue-generating potentials along the waterfront. Importantly, the market analysis was framed by the overarching concerns of both community residents and Center Grove businesses that any replacement or additional commercial uses on the waterfront must not compete with retailers or restaurateurs in the neighboring Center Grove commercial district.
"The market analysis suggests potential support for roughly 4,200 sq. ft. to 6,700 sq. ft. of food service uses on the Coconut Grove waterfront over the next five years. Notably, this does not necessarily mean net new space.."

the Grove Harbor Plan has about 40,000SF of Restaurants and Bars..Plus about 80,000 SF of Retail. Anyone who doesn't believe the Center of the Grove is moving is blind..or working for Sarnoff and his cronies.

Clearly Sasaki realized that the competition that would stem from this large scale development on the Bay would have a serious negative impact on the Center Grove. As you note the center will shift and the garage is right there to bring and keep people there..and no where else.

Now as to why the businesses in the Grove did not oppose it..I was told directly that they feared Sarnoff's retribution..Somehow this fear of Sarnoff rose to a level that these business owners would jeopardize their own futures rather than openly oppose Sarnoff. He must have been very persuasive..As I once said. Boss Tweed is back.

August 31, 2015 12:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do us rovites think we live in some magical place.its just miami guys no big deal.yes its sad we lost the nightlife.but hopefully the new mall will be nice so they can level the old grove and build something new here too.not for nothing but its old and poorly planed out.

Haywood Jablomi,

August 31, 2015 12:34 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

I've been saying this very thing for some time. It not only threatens to shift a significant amount of traffic from the Center Grove, but it also threatens to upend parking and access to the Dinner Key Marina and surrounding marine facilities.

All in all, it seems like a bad idea.

August 31, 2015 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

BTW: I have been asked "why would Sarnoff zealously promote Grove Harbor knowing that it could possibly devastate the Center/Downtown Grove?"

The answer is really a no brainer if you think about it for a nanosecond.

Although I am not privy to the inner workings of Sarnoff's nefarious mind I would surmise from his actions that he is an accomplished long range schemer.

Why does he want 8 more years in office using his wife as a sock puppet?

The answer is simple..

Among other reasons...

It will take about a year for Grove Harbor to get rolling..Within another year it will be an enormous success..I really have no doubts about that..Even if no one from the Grove goes there , out of towner's and people from other neighborhoods will make it successful..and at the same time Downtown Grove will flounder..There would be almost no reason at all for visitors to go to the Center/ Downtown Grove. Especially given the fact that Sarnoff has arranged for Grove Harbor to get their own 400 car parking garage on their site...which of course is adjacent to the new Regatta Park!..What a Deal!...What could possibly be a more winning formula..Restaurants and Bars on the Bay with Covered Parking 20 yards away.

With one or two exceptions, Center/Downtown Grove is struggling right now. Over time Center /Downtown Grove will deteriorate severely. Businesses will fold and restaurants will close..rents will drop and property values too. Once the Center Grove is a wasteland....and it will become one...It will be time to rezone and rebuild it!..

And guess who will be there to control and profit from the Re-invention / Re-Development of Coconut Grove?
None other than your Commissioner Marc Sarnoff...It will be a development love fest. Sarnoff and his buddies will turn turn Coconut Grove into something unrecognizable..

Its a perfect like a charm..Sarnoff and his cronies get a two for one here.. Not only do they get to steal our bay front they will also get to steal our Village because they stole the bay front!.

You have to give the man criminal minds go he does have a good one. It is unfortunate he has chosen to work against us rather than for us.

Remember this on Election Day.. If Sarnoff gets in..Kiss the Center Grove good bye..
Also remember-
The Only CURRENT District Two Candidates who actively, visibly and forcefully fought against Grove Harbor were Seth Sklarey, Rosa Palamino and Grace Solares.
Remember their work for us on Election Day.

August 31, 2015 4:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it's great...more things to see and do that one can walk to. More green space and better parking options.

So far the new eating venues are way superior than the ones that left. Better vibe all around especially for families and adults vs. simply rowdy teens.

August 31, 2015 4:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Charles for reminding people who was with us when we fought against this. I cannot understand how people in the Grove can support anyone that ignored all these problems and now will "ahem" save us all. Doesn't smell right to me. Just like Michelle Niemeyer running against Sarnoff when a division of votes was necessary for him to win.

August 31, 2015 5:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"It will take about a year for Grove Harbor to get rolling..Within another year it will be an enormous success."

Yesssss, McDonalds, Don Shulas and plastic Mega Malls are usually very successful. We want another Gap store, a KFC and our own Taco Hell by the water!

August 31, 2015 6:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Versailles Palace you say? Please spread some knowledge about it and tell us more about its location across the science museum.

August 31, 2015 11:59 AM"

Check on Google if you must: the French Revolution had sensible repercussions right here on S. Bayshore, in case you did not know. Vizcaza was just the "Petit appartement du roi" section. On the Science Museum the Guillotine was first tested and developed for export.

The public education system is really a mess these days!

August 31, 2015 6:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Future, how many of your folks have a grasp of the future. How many can predict future? I can't! However, it appears a comprehensive plan for development of this precious land would give folks an experience and view of Biscayne Bay, from the most/best view of our most valuable resource. Folks seem to hate Scotties and their poor service.
And a lack of access to what; the bay blocked by boats, piers, more boats, out islands! - - - -. Are U folks serious, this is the view, this is the reality, and frankly such a view is very, very sought after, we are a fantastic, beautify Coconut Grove destination and if you don't like it! Jobie Steppe

August 31, 2015 7:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not Wal-Mart moving and undercutting the prices of all the local stores. A few tourist-attracting restaurants that will soon be over-crowded and over-priced will not doom the Center Grove. In NYC do the locals go to Times Square for a good meal? Maybe the Center Grove can become a better culinary destination with other interesting shops and clubs that appeal to locals and the discerning visitor? Sarnoff can't be trusted, but we have to deal with the reality we have. Let's support our local, central Grove.

August 31, 2015 8:51 PM  

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