The Latest Play on the Coconut Grove Playhouse
Click to enlarge

One of my sources sent me the following document. This appears to be the memorandum that will be voted upon during the Miami-Dade Commission meeting on Thursday, March 12, 2015.

* Memorandum from Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez

DATE: March 9, 2015

TO: Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez
CC: Mimai-Dade County Board of County Commissioners
FROM: Xavier L. Suarez, Commissioner, District 7

RE: Coconut Grove Playhouse Proposed MOU

Below please see a proposed set of parameters in the form of a memorandum of Understanding (MOU). I believe it reflects the best elements of what you and I have discussed over the last few months as the “two-theater solution.”

I would appreciate hearing back from you directly with your feedback before the Thursday hearing wehich I have scheduled as Chairman of the Exonomic Prosperity Committee. I have mentioned to Chief of Staff Alex Ferro that I am available at your conveience.

Memorandum of Understanfing
Click to enlarge

WHEREAS, it is the will of the Mayor and Commission of Miami-Dade County that the Coconut Grove Playhouse should be restored to its historic glory and configuration; and

WHEREAS, the objective of historic preservation calls for a restoration that will, as close as possible, maintain the façade, configuration, and size of the Coconut Grove Playhouse; and
WHEREAS there is an opportunity to build two theaters, one in approzimate size of 300 seats and one in the approximate size of 750 seats, upon a site plan as per the attached sketch (to be sent under separate cover); and
WHEREAS, the funding necessary to build two such theaters requires that operating and management agreements be in place with those who will manage each one, as well as a master agreement with an entity that fuses the powers of government and the private-sector donors who will fund the approximately two-thirds of the total budget needed to build the two theaters.
Click to enlarge

NOW THEREFORE the parties agree as follows:

  1. The preliminary layout attached hereto is approved in principle.
  2. A new entity will be formed that includes majority representation from appointees of Miami-Dade County and Florida International University, and minority representation from the private-sector donors and artistic consultants. That entity will act as the landlord and will be governed by the Sunshine Law as well as competitive bidding rules for public entities in Florida.
  3. Long-term operating agreements will be entered into with separate theater groups to operate the large theater and the small theater which will assure common use of facilities, parking and compatible schedules. In case of a legal dispute that is not amicably resolved, the two companies agree that the “landlord” is the sole and final arbiter of any legal disputes, with no recourse whatsoever to appeal decisions. (It is understood that each theater group will have unfettered discretion on artistic matters.)
  4. The small theater will have GableStage, Inc. or its assugnee as the operator; it will have a built-in educational component, as agreed to by all the parties in its particulars.
  5. The large theater will have a newly formed non-profit entity or foundation as its operator, and will have Kevin Spacey as its artistic consultant, with compensation initially to be paid to him by private contributors. It is understood that Mike Eidson, as founder of the Coconut Grove Fpundation, Inc., will select its first board of directors, its initial members and will formulate its internal operating agreement.
  6. Design costs of both theaters will be borne by the County from its G.O.B. funds until the end of the design phase, presently anticopated to end in about 18 months.
  7. In the event that private funds are not obtained in sufficient amount to complement the county’s $20 million and reach a figure sufficient to build both theaters, this MOU will be revised to account for that contingency in a way that is satisfacory to Miami-Dade County and Florida International University. In that eventuality, it is understood that no private entities will have vested rights to the mentioned operating agreements for either the large or small theaters; and no reliance should be placed by either theater group on the assurance that the long-term operating agreements will be continued as envisioned here. In other words, this is a condition presedent to the rest of the MOU.
  8. The continuance of the long-term operating agreements, as envisioned here, will be subject to a condition subsequent,t [sic] which is that they will each have performance criteria, as determined jointly by Miami-Dade County and Florida International University.
  9. All other agreements in existence, including those with the Miami Parking Authority and the City of Miami, remain in effect as long as they are consistent with this MOU.
Xavier L. Suarez
Miami-Dade County Commissioner
District 7

There still seem to be a lot of holes in this agreement. The biggest of which is where the extra $40 million (and that’s a conservative estimate) coming from to build the 2 theaters, retail, parking garage, and apartments. Who is going to cough up the funds to build a world class theater in Coconut Grove?

Who will be the “private contributors” who will have “minority representation” on this Board of Directors? Not Now Silly has discovered that those with the money call the shots, regardless of minority representation.

The big fear that some people have is that the fundraising to build the theater could delay the project to the point the State of Florida gets tired of waiting. Florida could then sell the land to the highest bidder and the corner of Main Highway and Charles Avenue could become a MASSIVE development that would put Cocowalk and Mayfair to shame.

* I was forced to remove the original PDF because it was messing with stuff under the hood of the Not Now Silly Newsroom. H/t to SAVE THE COCONUT GROVE PLAYHOUSE for the doc pics.

About Headly Westerfield

Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.