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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Preserving the whole Playhouse, not just part of it

A lot of people are questioning the County's plan for the "new" Coconut Grove Playhouse. I use the word "new" because that is what it is. In 2004, voters approved a bond issue of $20.5 million which would go to the renovation of the Playhouse building. I don't think voters would have approved the bond if they had known it would have meant knocking down most of the structure. People had hoped the money would save and repair the Playhouse.

The garage next door and the condo which is part of that structure and the office building(s) next do that, will make a wall of buildings on Main Highway. It seems as if the Playhouse renovation is an open call for development and residents are not happy.

As you know, two fellow Govites, Barbara Lange and Katrina Morris filed an appeal regarding the HEP Board's recent decision to allow the current plan to move forward. We posted the story first on Friday night, you can see it here. I asked the ladies about that.

I asked Barbara why they filed the appeal, "Katrina, like me, cares about preserving the uniqueness that is Coconut Grove. Whether it be a historic building such as the Playhouse, the tree canopy, or the large lots - they are all what makes Coconut Grove so special," Barbara said.

Regarding the Playhouse she says, According to experts, the interior of the Playhouse is just as important as the lobby and the facade. Once the main building of the Playhouseis demolished, it will be gone forever and cannot be replaced."

She questions as to why the HEP Board gave the green light to construct the garage and condos without seeing more design information other than several "three dimensional boxes," which is what was shown at the meeting on April 4.

"It is wrong and the decision to issue a COA needs to be overturned," says Barbara. She said, "I think the City of Miami Commission will have more of a vision than the County officials."

The ladies are like minded, Katrina says she agrees with Barbra on all of the above, "I will add that Barbara and I have known each other for years. We met each other walking or dogs in our neighborhood. We ran into each other at the April 4 meeting by coincidence, both of us caring about the Playhouse and the Grove," says Katrina.

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...

Having been a Grove resident for 35 years, a supported of the Playhouse and the 2 adjacent now defunct restaurants I am tired of reading about the Playhouse. Those of us who remember how vibrant this area used to be will long be gone before anything is accomplished. I doubt that all of the new residents moving into the White Boxes will really care about the outcome.

April 26, 2017 8:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barbara Lange and Katrina Morris I thank you for all you have done and are doing. You are being the voice of the community.We voted to have it renovated not demolished. There are many other theaters around then USA that have been renovated and in the same or worse condition at a reasonable renovation cost see the article for a theater renovated after 40 years of neglect. The links below are example of what I think we are looking for in the restoration with over 800 seats. So when the developer says we need to demolish it this is a lie only for them to get what they want which is $$$ and the self gratification of saying I built this when in reality it is not what the community voted for and desires.





There is a trend in the USA to RENOVATE theaters not what has been proposed which is only to benefit the developer. we cannot allow a developer and the HEP decide what we as a community want. Also keep in mind this has never been brought up but the county Runs Dade county Auditorium and if this is renovated to to its 1000 seat it will be in direct competition with the Dade County Theater. ( https://www.miamidadecountyauditorium.org/ ) The acts they have can easily be brought to the Grove to a new thereafter and and location and night life, thus the county will lose money. It is in the counties interest not to allow a new competitor and support the plan to have a tiny 300 seat theater. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

April 26, 2017 8:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is a compny called Aries still planning to build the apartments?

April 26, 2017 9:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ramson ?

April 26, 2017 9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think Aries built the apartments above Ariete Restaurant

April 26, 2017 1:20 PM  
Blogger REID PREATT said...

Hate Anonymous writers. Folks this is a big deal with how the Grove will look, where you park , the playhouse, etc. Big Deal. 5 comments, so wonder the Grove is being turned half way upside down. Also I would like Somebody to tell me why Terra and David Martin were allowed to buy that Parking Garage next to their job site. Parking is a mess down there and lets not even talk about the boots.

April 26, 2017 5:24 PM  
Anonymous Andy Parrish said...

It has been a decade since the HEP Board designated the theater (I was Chair at the time). If memory serves, we designated the whole theater, not just the facade. Of course, the whole structure was pretty much abandoned after that and lots of water damage/vandalism followed. I do remember getting a copy of a lawsuit from some development group naming me personally for overstepping my authority as Chair in saying publicly that the theater was important for all of Coconut Grove for numerous and varied reasons. That suit was never filed and I never heard why.

April 26, 2017 5:26 PM  
Anonymous Robin Parker said...

What the Grove voters or the voters in Miami and Miami-Dade County do not understand is that their elected leaders will not follow-on the promises that got them elected.

With very few exceptions the public and private leadership in South Florida is corrupt.

"South Florida is the land of palms and everyone is itchy". Dr. John C. Gifford

April 26, 2017 6:07 PM  
Anonymous Charles Corda said...

Preservation of the Grove...or Development..? My feeling is the residents of the Grove seek Preservation..not development..Let's keep the Grove the special place it is...

April 27, 2017 10:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why spend so much money on a playhouse that will not be able to pay for itself.i don't get it.they couldn't keep up the old one.i would rather see an Aldi food market or trader Joe's.come on people use your heads

April 27, 2017 3:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Annon 3:09pm
You are absolutely correct.that playhouse plus all the others in Miami struggle just to keep the doors open if it's not for mystery donors or for pledges they can't stay afloat.sad but true.an affordable market as you mentioned would be a much better idea.and please no rediculously priced whole foods

April 27, 2017 4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We as citizens pledged our ad valorem tax monies to float a $2.3 billion bond for Miami-Dade County in 2004. As part of the General Revenue Bonds, the Playhouse was promised $20 million. Just because the last people to run the Playhouse were mismanaged money doesn't mean the Playhouse should be torn down. Since then we have helped pay for a Billion Dollar ($1,000,000,000) tunnel to Dodge Island. Each year we subsidize Parrot Jungle a few million dollars to stay open with the empty promise that it will eventually be repaid. And so what if the Playhouse requires help every year? It is part of our community and deserves to be saved. Stop selling the Grove short and demand that our character remains intact. You need more places to shop? Go to Sawgrass or Dadeland.

April 27, 2017 6:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let’s not forget the immense subsidy MDC Mayor Alvarez and a few of his Commissioner pals voted to help fund the Marlin Baseball Stadium. What a costly fiasco that has turned out to be. Too bad the citizens of MDC where not permitted to even vote on it. If the people that live in Coconut Grove want the Playhouse restored in its entirety and reopened, then that is what should happen. And for goodness sake don't hire And for goodness sake dot hire Architectonica since they are not qualified to do historic preservation work. Hiring them would like using Romero Brito to restore the Sistine Chapel. A better choice would be internationally renowned architect Richard Heisenbottle who successfully restored The Freedom Tower, Olympia/Gusman Theater and even the former Pan Am Terminal/Miami City Hall.

April 27, 2017 8:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A commissioner who no one remembers anymore once wished to save the playhouse wings and demolish the rest and rebuild it with shiny cute apartments on the top.

April 28, 2017 12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Hiring them would like using Romero Brito to restore the Sistine Chapel."

Had a good laugh when reading this comment.

April 28, 2017 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The curtain will not rise again: Sad images show the fading seats, empty stages and decaying decor of abandoned theaters across America

Believe it or not, The Coconut Grove Playhouse was not included in this story. Guess that means it’s not in such bad shape after all and a good chance of being fully restored after all!

April 28, 2017 8:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cutler Bay has a 900+ seat theater that is active and "making it."

April 28, 2017 9:13 AM  
Blogger Alan Sirkin said...

A smaller auditorium leaves more space for more condos. Could that the the reason?

April 29, 2017 7:13 AM  

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