The DCA sent the case back to the lower court, calling its dismissal of the county suit “a miscarriage of justice.”. Real-time updates and all local stories you want right in the palm of your hand. The county has set aside more than $20 million to build the new theater, which was designed by Grove-based Arquitectonica, while the city parking authority agreed to build a long-sought garage with ground-floor retail on the playhouse’s extensive parking lot. September 12, 2018 - News, Rumors and the Facts. The Coconut Grove Playhouse, which opened as a silent movie theater in 1927, had its interior substantially renovated in 1955 by architect Alfred Browning Parker. Residents of Coconut Grove who live within the 33133 zip code can enjoy the Festival at a special reduced admission of … That January 1 evening was publicized as "a distinctive social event dedicating to drama, art, music, and mirth." She's not too worried about that. The Coconut Grove Playhouse was a theatre in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida, United States. Circulation, ©2021 Miami New Times, LLC. It's where he saw his first stage production, so naturally, he doesn't take the job lightly. The Miami New Times may earn a portion of sales from products & services purchased through links on our site from our affiliate partners. Stirrup property was only one in a series of chess moves made virtually simultaneously as the Coconut Grove Playhouse deal begins to unfold.. On January 15th Aries Development took possession of the Bicycle Shop, that small, two story structure sitting at the northeast corner of the Playhouse parking lot. But there is one last hurdle: Mayor Francis Suarez procedurally has the power to veto the decision until 4:30 p.m. Monday, May 20th. The … It hasn't been operational since 2006, when mounting debts forced curtains to close permanently. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. The Miami Commission appears to have stopped a controversial Miami-Dade County plan to reopen the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse by partially demolishing and renovating the theater. It's not just some pretty little thing. It's where Urban Cowboy and Fame: The Musical debuted. Suarez’s action came after a prolonged and convoluted series of back-and-forth votes by the city’s historic preservation board and commission and one previous court case against the city that the county won. If the issue is money, the foundation is dedicated to delivering a check for 110 percent of the necessary funds to finish both theaters before a shovel enters the ground. Today its doors are closed, its interior vandalized and falling into disrepair. approved the Coconut Grove Playhouse as a historical site. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. “It's tricky, because you want to get it right. It must have been a grand celebration when the Coconut Grove Theater first opened. If you have lived in Miami long enough, then you have heard about the ups and downs of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. October 31, 2018 - Coconut Grove Playhouse Appeal. The auditorium’s enormous, undecorated shell has no distinguishing architectural or historic features. “[The performing arts community] still has the starving-artist or beggar mentality, and I think that's a shame. “After years of work and exhaustive research, renovation and construction are ready to begin. Careers, “The storied, state-owned Coconut Grove Playhouse abruptly dropped the curtain on its last show at mid-season a decade ago, the victim of crippling debts that critics blamed on mismanagement by a nonprofit board, a run of mediocre productions and one stark reality: In … The three-story baby-blue building, with its Mediterranean columns and lush proscenium archway, was a shining example of architect Richard Kiehnel's celebrated designs. In this case, the county chose local theater company GableStage, which operates out of a 150-seat theater at the Biltmore Hotel. Andres Viglucci covers urban affairs for the Miami Herald. A revived Coconut Grove Playhouse would be a boon to neighboring retail shops and restaurants, as well as an exciting educational opportunity for district schools. About Us, Even though the city’s historic designation covers the footprint of the entire theater, it explicitly excludes the theater’s interior, which was altered repeatedly over the years and lost historic integrity though it retains some original features. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. It seemed progress was being made, but more than a year later, people are still scratching their heads. She figures what's most important is restoring the theaters, and in the three to five years the county has for construction on its timeline, finding an operator would be the easy part. “There are a lot of [small to midrange theaters] in the community, so it's not really adding, and then it doesn't give us a centralizing force of 'This is the most important stage in Miami-Dade County.' The city must approve any renovation plan for the playhouse because the 1927 building is a designated city historic landmark. The building was originally constructed as a movie theater called the Player's State Theater. It opened on January 3, 1927, as a part of the Paramount chain. “Miami is a place where ideas are built, and I really believe that with every grain. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. “This may be one of the projects that has more stakeholders than anything we've ever worked on,” says Michael Spring. The removal of the old growth trees on the E.W.F. David_Schneider on September 15, 2018 at 2:28 pm The leadership of the Coconut Grove Playhouse Foundation, a local group that pushed for a return to the theater's original setup, is also furious about the plan. There are descriptions of the renovation project’s progress from the county’s point of view on the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Coconut Grove Playhouse Project webpage. “Admittedly, it's going to be a difficult project, but I think our hearts are in the right place,” Spring adds. Can you still get one? Baptist Health is scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments. In its lawsuit, the county argues Suarez had no basis for vetoing the plan because the city’s own designation report intentionally did not protect it. The makeover plan for the Coconut Grove Playhouse is going forward, despite opposition from preservationists who don’t want a portion of the property torn down. The 13-year journey to resurrect the fabled Coconut Grove Playhouse squeaked by what may have been the last serious roadblock Wednesday when the Miami City Commission voted 3-2 to overturn objections from its Historic Preservation advisory board.. Usually when the Miami-Dade County is tasked with building a public space like a theater or a museum, it designates an operating company to run programming. The 23-page DCA ruling says the lower appellate tribunal does in fact have jurisdiction because the Suarez veto was a “quasi-judicial” action subject to court review. Coconut Grove Losing Identity Because City Won't Enforce Zoning Code In 2004, $15 million in public funds were set aside for the job, as well as an additional $5 million soon after. A spokeswoman for Suarez said Tuesday he was out of town and unavailable. “Really, our position is to be a watchdog and speak for the community in saying, 'We want this to be is a nucleus of activity, a world class theater again like it was'... We need to let the county and everyone else know that we don't just want to keep designating it things and putting signs on it. “Miami right now is a really exciting place where great artists want to be and want to perform,” she says. Miami commissioners on Thursday upheld a veto that stops a long-planned renovation project for the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse. Spacey has expressed interest and recently stepped down from a ten-year position at a the Old Vic, a London theater that found itself in similar waters. It needs to be a beacon of artistry and hope for the community, a place for opportunity that people get to work.”. Yes, it’s been a difficult year, but the lights of the season bring us hope, Ransom senior releases album whose roots began with teacher of year at Palmetto Elementary, As COVID-19 cases spike, Miami will enforce midnight curfew as of this weekend, His witty comics are helping people get through the pandemic. If you're wondering the project's status, all fingers point to Spring. It was internationally renowned as a leading stage. Writers and artists are mentoring students’ creative side as part of Grove program. The plan calls for demolishing the theater’s obsolete auditorium and restoring its famed Mediterranean front section, Miami-Dade files another court appeal to save its plan to remake the Grove Playhouse, Who opens a mall in a pandemic? For 79 years, the Coconut Grove Theater, renamed the Coconut Grove Playhouse after a $1 million renovation in 1956, served as a stunning entranceway to … The building now known as the Coconut Grove Playhouse was built in 1926 and began its life as a movie theater in 1927. Parking revenue would support theater operations and cover the renovation of the playhouse’s front, which would be a stand-alone structure containing offices and shop spaces. Miami's Historic Preservation Board voted 4-1 in favor of new plans that would demolish the auditorium of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, but restore the front façade of the building to its original 1927 design by architect firm Kiehnel and Elliot.. Regarding who would run programs in the larger theater, outgoing president of the Arsht Center, Mike Eidson, has suggested award-winning actor Kevin Spacey for the job. Debt-ridden Metronomic is selling properties across Grove, Little Havana. The plan calls for demolishing the theater’s obsolete auditorium and restoring its famed Mediterranean front section, while building a new, smaller stand-alone theater behind it. Miami’s historic preservation board recently voted against the demolition and reconstruction of the long-closed Coconut Grove Playhouse. Instead, foundation members argue for a return to the theater's original 1927 setup, with one 150-seat theater and one 700-seater. GableStage sees comfortable growth opportunity with a plan for a 300-seat theater, but the Playhouse Foundation argues that's not enough to establish the international renown of old. Artists need to value themselves more, and we need to rise up just like every other industry has.”. The Coconut Grove Playhouse was an entity that created the shows that played on its stage. It was internationally renowned as a leading stage. The original timeline called for Arquitectonica to present design plans by the end of this month, but complications in the inspection and assessment phase pushed things back. It was a place of learning and laughter — a prize of the Magic City — and was deemed by the City of Miami a historic landmark in 2005. Terms, The long-awaited construction of a mixed-use development called The Harbour is scheduled to commence in July. We want it restored, we want it opened, and that's what we've wanted since it closed.”. More funds have been set for the construction of parking in the area, and in February 2015, architecture firm Arquitectonica won the bid to spearhead designs. It's important to Spring and his colleagues that the design be a subject of public discourse, because it's the greater public that stands to benefit. For 79 years, the Coconut Grove Theater, renamed the Coconut Grove Playhouse after a $1 million renovation in 1956, served as a stunning entranceway to the neighborhood and a central hub for the area's social activity. Suarez also took aim at the county’s plan to finance the redevelopment, suggesting it was deceptive. Admission is $15 per person, per day. The Grove's board of direction hasn't provided that. “It's not a mausoleum. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. We are very fortunate in the city of Miami to have two cultural gems, the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the Olympia Theater downtown. Coconut Grove Playhouse Rendering New plans have been revealed of the $20 million renovation of the long shutterred and abandoned Coconut Grove Playhouse. And judging from the "scenarios" presented, they haven't done one damned thing that will result in a viable theater. We need to erase that. It has been no quick feat. David_Schneider on September 16, 2018 at 11:48 am. “We're absolutely committed to making sure that it happens in the best possible way and that, at the same time, we respect people's sense of the history of the place — and the history of their memories of the place too.”. Today the State of Florida owns the property, while Miami-Dade County and Florida International University share its 99-year lease. That’s the latest word from Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, co-founder and CEO of Grove Bay Hospitality Group. The Playhouse Foundation is working hard to keep the subject on the county's mind. Thoughtful historic preservation, a village-friendly design, and great theater can return to this important site,” the county’s site says. The county shares control of the Grove Playhouse with Florida International University under a long-term lease agreement with the state of Florida, which owns the property. Spring says these issues are mostly wrangled, and as it stands, the plan is to unveil designs for public approval by the end of the summer. Every day, he wakes up and gets to work on securing the future of the Playhouse. Granda-Scott is working to implement interim programming in the foundation's name, whether it be performances or educational programs, which she hopes could continue once the playhouse is reopened. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free. But all of that could change – soonish. November 14, 2018 - Coconut Grove Playhouse Project is Approved by the City’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board. He joined the Herald in 1983. You want to do things that are thoughtful and effective at the same time.”. Help, Miami's independent source of local news and culture. Like many locals, it was a fixture of his adolescence. Plans a pproved by the Historic Preservation Board in April included tearing down the existing 1,100 theater, but preserving the front v shaped building along Main Highway. At the same time, I think we shortchange ourselves," says the foundation director. The movie house was designed by the architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott. It's settled that Arquitectonica must present two design plans, but debate still reigns about the theater's size. The 3rd District Court of Appeal revived a 2019 county lawsuit that seeks to overturn Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s veto of its plan, controversial among some preservationists and Grove activists, to redevelop the publicly owned 1927 playhouse. Support Us Staff, Contact Us, To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy. WHEREAS, in 2006 the Coconut Grove Playhouse discontinued operations. The Miami Planning, Zoning and … The DCA opinion puts the unresolved question of whether the mayor’s veto was proper back before the Miami-Dade circuit court’s appellate division. It's working toward garnering the Coconut Grove Playhouse recognition as a historical site on a national level, and in July, when the City of Miami celebrates its 120th anniversary, it plans to throw a big party around the unveiling of the playhouse's official historical site marker. For 79 years, the Coconut Grove Theater, renamed the Coconut Grove Playhouse after a $1 million renovation in 1956, served as a stunning entranceway to the neighborhood and a central hub for the area's social activity. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. The next major project to sink millions of dollars of new investment into the Coconut Grove waterfront is expected to begin next month. For another, the city must deem whether the original 1927 design or the 1956 renovation is the structure historically marked for preservation. WHEREAS, on October 13, 2013 Miami Dade County and Florida International University Board of ... That the Playhouse renovation takes into account the entire building footprint and Miami-Dade County and its partner Florida International University (FIU) entered into a long-term lease agreement with the State of Florida in 2014 to bring great theater back the Coconut Grove Playhouse. A state appeals court has breathed new life into Miami-Dade County’s stalled efforts to remake and revive the historic but long-closed Coconut Grove Playhouse. “We are delighted that we are back on course and can have the merits of our case heard,” said county cultural affairs director Michael Spring, who has spearheaded the playhouse plan. Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free. In 2014, Miami-Dade County took the Playhouse away from the City of Miami because of our inability to create a workable plan for its renovation and program restructuring. An appeal, signed by cultural affairs director Michael Spring, was filed by the county and is scheduled to be considered by the City of Miami Commission on April 25, at City Hall, 3500 Pan American Drive.. But not all. A three-judge DCA panel, in a decision issued Dec. 23, ruled that a lower court erred in dismissing the county’s lawsuit without considering its merits after concluding it had no authority to hear the case. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: California Privacy Policy | California Collection Notice | Do Not Sell My Info. Dance Now! Miami-Dade County is expected to file a lawsuit with respect to the ongoing dispute with the city of Miami.over the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Get the latest updates in news, food, music and culture, and receive special offers direct to your inbox, Miami Restaurant Directory: Takeout/Delivery/Dine-in, Coconut Grove Playhouse Restoration Stuck in Act I, Coconut Grove Playhouse Ownership Could Revert to the State of Florida Next Month, Coconut Grove Playhouse Facing Foreclosure, New Developers, Coconut Grove Playhouse Settlement Delayed Again Over Debts Between Board and Creditor. The local historic preservation community has made the project its top priority, and of course, who better to benefit from a thriving playhouse than Miami's somewhat-stifled theatrical community? Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez declined to comment. A famous Miami spot is back after a radical makeover, CDC, Miami-Dade investigate death of Miami Beach doctor following COVID-19 vaccine, The smiling man seen carrying Pelosi’s lectern in Capitol riot? As a member of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Spring is tasked with managing the Coconut Grove Playhouse restoration project. CocoWalk, the open-air mall in Miami’s Coconut Grove, has reopened after a total revamp that replaces big-chain retail with hip shops, restaurants and offices. They are historically designated in the City of Miami and they are in need of millions of dollars of renovation. A property west of the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami could be rezoned for hospitality development. There are descriptions of the renovation project’s progress from the county’s point of view on the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs Coconut Grove Playhouse Project webpage. Barring other developments, that means the circuit court must now consider the county’s argument that Suarez had no factual or legal basis for the veto of a narrow city commission vote that effectively gave Miami-Dade a green light for its plan. Although very different in character and history, they have two big things in common. The playhouse has been closed since 2006 when the nonprofit managing it ran into financial trouble. We feel like, to have that status again, you need to be a certain size.”. Privacy, R.J. Heisenbottle Architects, has successfully restored Miami Freedom Tower, Miami City Hall, Miami Woman's Club, Gusman Center for the Performing Arts and Vizcaya Village. The Coconut Grove Playhouse, Inc successfully secures the commitment of $15 million from the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond (BBC-GOB) for the “reconstruction of the Coconut Grove Playhouse to restore its structural integrity and add to its performance and educational capabilities.”. It once stood for something; it brought something unique and valuable to the community. The 11 Best Things to Do in Miami This Week. Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Sign up for the Afternoon Update and get the day’s biggest stories in your inbox. But Suarez in his veto message echoed some preservationists in arguing the playhouse would lose too much of its historic value if the auditorium is demolished. A state appeals court has breathed new life into Miami-Dade County’s stalled efforts to remake and revive the historic but long-closed Coconut Grove Playhouse. For one, the space had to be cleared of hazardous asbestos. Tennessee Williams and Samuel Becket used it to premiere new works. Originally built as a movie theater in 1927, the building was converted to a live theater during the 1950’s. It was built by local realtors Irving J. Thomas and Fin L. … “The activity in it is just as important as the building,” Granda-Scott says. For the last 13 years, the Playhouse has become an increasing blight on the community. The Playhouse was closed in 2006 because of poor leadership and the accumulation of debt. Tennessee Williams and Samuel Becket used it to premiere new works. It needs to be what it was. COCONUT GROVE, FL — Miami Mayor Francis Suarez and Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez have taken center stage in a drama playing out over a planned renovation of the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse. The main sticking point has been the auditorium, which the county says is too large to be financially successful and unsuited for modern live theater. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of our terms of use, our cookies policy, and our privacy policy. “We want it to be an asset instead of a liability,” says Olga Granda-Scott, executive director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse Foundation. It’s not | Opinion. All rights reserved. The Coconut Grove Arts Festival will be held February 15-17, 2020. Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami. He’s from Florida, Loss of smell can hint at how severe your COVID infection is, study finds, You thought Dolphins’ quarterback situation was settled with Tua Tagovailoa. In 1927, most buildings in the area didn't have electricity, let alone air conditioning. They wish to be a big part of the Coconut Grove Playhouse renovation. Granda-Scott thinks it would be great if a local company found the courage to step up and take on the task of a grander stage, whether it be GableStage or Miami Theater Center or whoever. “There are a lot of people who care passionately about the Coconut Grove Playhouse,” he says. A state appeals court has breathed new life into Miami-Dade County’s stalled efforts to remake and revive the historic but long-closed Coconut Grove Playhouse.. October 9, 2018 - County Commission Approved an Agreement for Playhouse Parking Garage. The spot at Charles Avenue and Ingraham Highway was "one of the finest theaters in the South.". 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