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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Another Playhouse meeting; and protest, planned

A rendering of the county's plans for the playhouse

The City Commission is meeting Thursday, April 25 and on the agenda is the Playhouse issue, yes, again. They will decide whether to go ahead with the County's plans, which seem to not be liked by anyone except the county.

At the last HEP Board meeting, the board voted against the County's current plansby a vote of 6 to 4, that the Certificate of Appropriateness and demolition permit were denied, yet the county is going to keep coming back and pushing their chrome and glass Arquitectonica structure on the public. Assistant County Attorney Eddie Kirtley, tried to shut out HEP Board Vice Chair Lynn Lewis at that last meeting. Reminds me of those folks in North Carolina who don't like certain people voting either, a sure red flag to not have the County involved in this project.


I'm still not quite sure why other plans were not considered and why the county's plans are the only ones being considered. The county is trying to put a small theater in a large space, making the theater an afterthought. Other plans, which are not being considered, include a larger theater by  architect Richard Heisenbottle who is quite sure the grandeur can be returned to the playhouse without hurting the current structure. The seating capacity would be 700. Most of the interior would of course be redone including the stage area, but this is good in that it would allow larger productions and allow for larger sets. The basic plan calls for restoration and not demolition, which is the County's plan, to demolish most of the structure, only keeping the "wings" up front.


The Coconut Grove Theater Foundation, to which Heisenbottle is a part of the development team, has secured $11 million in private donations and pledges as of April 1. This could be added to the $20.5 million that the state has for renovation of the playhouse plus City of Miami and county funding along with federal historic tax credits, bringing the total to almost $43 million. Mike Eidson is president of the foundation.

The Foundation prefers a 700 seat theater and a smaller 200 seat studio theater.
“I’m honored and proud to join the Foundation in its efforts to restore the Coconut Grove Playhouse to its past greatness,” Heisenbottle said. “For this cultural gem to have been shuttered since 2006 is a community disgrace and a civic embarrassment.”


There is a protest March on April 25 at City Hall, which will take place before the meeting. The time for the meeting and the protest has not been set yet. The idea is to send a message to the Commission about the over-bearing developers. Once the Playhouse is knocked down, that will open the door for mass development on that end of the village and even if it doesn't open the door for that, it will destroy a large part of Coconut Grove history for no other reason other than greed.


The issue seems to be vote yes for the County's plans or there is no Playhouse at all, that the land will be sold and condos will go up. Is this true? Is this the spiteful way history will be lost?

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6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

These protesters need a basic course in personal finance. They want a different playhouse built but they don't have a plan to fund it! This is crazy. The County has a plan that it (and other philanthropic organizations) is willing to fund and has indicated that it is not going to pay to build a different playhouse. It's simple: no County plan, no funds to build any other playhouse.

April 09, 2019 6:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 6:22, did you read the article or did you just decide to ignore the facts and open your spigot? The alternative plan has $43 million for renovations whereas the County mini theatre plan had $20 million. Please go back and read the article again, so you can be informed and not get all wet.

April 09, 2019 8:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just wish that everyone would just get out of each others way and let a THEATER be built. Not everyone is going to agree on WHAT theater should be built but I think we are all in agreement that we would like A THEATER built on that site instead of a parking lot/condo's/etc. So please stop all of this infighting and get something approved that will benefit the community instead of the alternative.

April 09, 2019 8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep the the Playhouse and our history intact. Don't bee fools.

April 09, 2019 9:28 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

is Arquetectonica the only architect in town?? How the hell are they getting EVERY single bid going up? Miami shady back door politics 101 - who is to benefit the most from all this?? Funny that the County (speaking for the general public through elected officials) will choose the option that most benefits the developer, rather than the public? a 700 seat theatre would draw not only great plays, but also musical talent and acts that typically will only go to the Filmore ect.

April 09, 2019 11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is stated in this post about funding is just no true.
It is Miami-Dade County that obtained the $20 million in funding through Tax funds and the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond, and this money not transferable to a private enterprise.
What will most likely happen if the plan for the playhouse is not approved is that the county takes its money elsewhere and the state will put the land up for auction - so developers get ready, new condos to come.

April 18, 2019 4:28 PM  

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