Update to “The Parking Garage Is The Thing”
This is an artists’ rendering of what that end of Charles Avenue will look like after they build this massive Garage-Condo-Restaurant-Theater-Entertainment-Plex. The building in the foreground will be known to longtime Not Now Silly readers as The Monstrosity, aka Grove Gardens Residence Condominiums. If you look carefully, you can just see the roof of the E.W.F. Stirrup House (peeking out from behind The Monstrosity, which dwarfs it), the last historic building the HEP Board voted to demolish in order save history.

This post is a follow-up to The Parking Garage is the Thing.

Something I did not mention in that post is how, after the HEP Board meeting, I introduced myself to Michael Spring, Miami-Dade’s Cultural Czar. We’ve spoken on the phone, but had never met.

Spring was the lynch-pin that brought all the competing factions together to craft a delicate plan to restore the Coconut Grove Playhouse before the deadline imposed by the State of Florida. Had the parties not been able to come to an agreement before the sunset clause, the state could have sold the land as surplus to the highest bidder. [Read: Developer.]

TO BE FAIR: Spring was busy when I approached. He and his group were basically giving each other High Fives, and trying not to appear too gleeful, after Miami’s Historic Board [HEP] signed onto the plan to demolish the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse in order to preserve history.

Knowing it was not the time for rambling conversation, I handed him my homemade business card and got to the point. After introducing myself said I’d be calling to get some specific questions answered. He replied that he would be happy to answer them. Nice finally meeting you, Same here. End of conversation.

I gave his office a call on Thursday and was told he was unavailable and would be going out of town the following day, but he would certainly get my message. I explained I was on deadline. Having already started writing the post, all I really needed was the answers to a few questions to finish it. I asked whether I could get answers to my specific questions if I sent them via email. While I was given no absolute guarantee, I was told they would try and get answers for me. Here’s the text of the email sent at noon on Thursday.

Here are the 5 Qs I have. I am asking because I heard a lot of numbers thrown around the other night and they didn’t always agree. (I know I said 4 on the phone, but thought of another.)

1). How many parking spaces are currently anticipated in the Playhouse redevelopment?
2). How many residential units in the Playhouse redevelopment?
3). Of these residential units, how many are for Playhouse staff (however that’s loosely defined) and how many are for sale?
4). How large is restaurant in the Playhouse redevelopment? Number of seating?
5). How many retail outlets? Will the entire frontage (the Main & Charles sections) be retail?

I appreciate any help you can give me in getting these answered before my (self-imposed) deadline.

I was still waiting for an answer on Saturday when I decided to ask one of my other sources, who promised to get back to me with answers. This source is always as good as their word. When, by Monday morning, I still had no answers from either Miami-Dade or my source, I finally published my post before it grew whiskers.

Consequently, I described what I knew and, most importantly, what I didn’t know in The Parking Lot is the Thing.

Late Monday afternoon my source got back to me with an apology because it took so long. Here are the answers to most of my questions. [If I ever hear back from Michael Spring’s office, we can compare these facts and figures and see how good my source really is.]

1). The parking garage has room for 460 cars.
2). There are 27 residential units in the parking garage.
3). Residences for visiting directors, writers, or actors is still up in the air, although these have been part of the plan since inception. If it happens, it’s anticipated these residences will be on the second floor of the front section of the Playhouse (the only part of the structure being saved). Of the 27 residential units, it is now anticipated that all of them will be “market value” rental properties.
4). The restaurant is 6,000 sq. ft. and will be probably be in a standalone building tucked between the parking garage and the Coconut Grove Playhouse, but could just as easily be attached to both buildings.
5). There will be 15,000 sq. ft. of retail; 10,000 of that in the facade building, the only part of being saved, with 5,000 sq. ft. in the parking garage building.

Once again I was cautioned that these numbers only represent what’s in the latest drawings, which I need to emphasize were never presented to the HEP Board on Tuesday before it voted. There will be more drawings, more plans, more numbers to come.

And, the Not Now Silly Newsroom will be there.


How West Grove loses with this development

Why the Miami Parking Authority is too powerful

About Headly Westerfield

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

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