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Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Playhouse issue deferred by HEP Board

The issue before the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board (HEP) regarding the Coconut Grove Playhouse was deferred Tuesday night due to lack of plans/drawings. The board was not privy to the now 1100-pages of documents and plans regarding the playhouse and felt that they could not discuss the issue without seeing what they were there to discuss.

The county has not been very forthcoming regarding the whole project. 

Bernardo Fort-Brescia, owner of Arquitectonica, the architects for the project, tried to pull a fast one on the HEP Board, telling them that the board previously approved a demolition plan for the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

Board member Todd Tragash strongly corrected Fort-Brescia, explaining that no demolition permit would be issued until final plans are approved by the board. The spectators in the chamber applauded to that. 

This stipulation was made at an April 2017 meeting. 

A permit has not been issued, but a waiver has, regarding the demolition. 

The Division of Historic Resources (DHR) was consulted by the county, as required, DHR reviews matters regarding the demolition of buildings that were declared historic and are on the national register. Lynn Lewis, HEP Board member asked that the Division of Historic Resources guide the HEP Board, a resolution was made to this effect Tuesday night.

And Michael Spring, 
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs says, who is in charge of the project, said, "We have been good lessees."

Sometimes I think the county drags out the process so that the whole building just caves in on itself. Not having the plans at a crucial meeting is less than smart, or quite smart on the county's part, depending on how you look at it. Is demolition by neglect being a good lessee?

So the playhouse saga continues. The item will be heard again at the HEP Board's March 5, 2019 meeting at 3 pm, first agenda on the docket.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can we allow a scumbag like Bernardo demolish our history to build one more of his awkward oddities.

February 05, 2019 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is inaccurate. The board said they couldn't download the documents and they neglected to bring this up before the meeting. It was insulting to those of us sitting in the audience. The board had ample time to say they couldn't download the documents. Shame on these people.

February 06, 2019 8:54 AM  
Anonymous JK said...

There is an organization in New York at the Empire State called World Monuments Fund (www. WMF.Org) which has raised more than $300 million to save structures around the globe like our endangered Playhouse. Everyone including the organizations and individuals trying to save the Coconut Grove Playhouse should contact WMF to find a solution to the impending demolition and major downsizing of our history. A media blitz is necessary as well.

February 07, 2019 9:00 AM  
Anonymous Melissa Meyer said...

Coconut Grove Playhouse – Miami Dade County, Really GIVE IT BACK!

Coconut Grove, do not be fooled! The whole 2012 "Give it Back" campaign was meant to dupe the public into believing that this project is about restoration and bringing back our original historic Playhouse. It's not! The campaign was only meant to curb public outcry, to make it easier to demolish the historic theater.

The brand new, multiple phase, multistory, mixed-use megaproject designed for the historic Playhouse site requires oversized pilings and footings. The only way to drill and excavate for those, is to clear the entire site. That's the only reason to demolish the existing historic Playhouse. It's in the way. The intention all along has been to max out the FAR (floor area ratio) in order to maximize profits for a few special interests, at the expense of our precious historic cultural resource.

Do not believe the rhetoric about the historic Playhouse being too far gone. The concrete block that was made in 1926 is larger, denser, and has a much longer design-life than the block that is manufactured today. The Dade County pine floor joists and roof trusses are as strong as concrete, and they are literally irreplaceable. We can't build with Dade County pine anymore, because it's almost extinct.

Is there deterioration? Yes. And in 2004 the voters of Miami Dade County voted to use their tax money for the complete restoration of their historic Playhouse. They did not vote for a new, multiple phase, multistory, mixed-use megaproject to replace their historic Playhouse.

The National Park Service, the entity that listed the 1926 Playhouse on The National Register of Historic Places, has precise guidelines for complete restoration. “Deteriorated features from the restoration period will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials.


February 10, 2019 9:04 AM  

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