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. 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. “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.' 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. Dance Now! The auditorium’s enormous, undecorated shell has no distinguishing architectural or historic features. 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. “This may be one of the projects that has more stakeholders than anything we've ever worked on,” says Michael Spring. 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. But not all. 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. October 9, 2018 - County Commission Approved an Agreement for Playhouse Parking Garage. 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.. 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. It once stood for something; it brought something unique and valuable to the community. 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. The Miami New Times may earn a portion of sales from products & services purchased through links on our site from our affiliate partners. She's not too worried about that. 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. 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. 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. 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? They are historically designated in the City of Miami and they are in need of millions of dollars of renovation. Can you still get one? 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? “It's not a mausoleum. 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. It must have been a grand celebration when the Coconut Grove Theater first opened. Baptist Health is scheduling COVID-19 vaccine appointments. The … It needs to be what it was. It was built by local realtors Irving J. Thomas and Fin L. … It opened on January 3, 1927, as a part of the Paramount chain. Suarez also took aim at the county’s plan to finance the redevelopment, suggesting it was deceptive. Instead, foundation members argue for a return to the theater's original 1927 setup, with one 150-seat theater and one 700-seater. 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 Thoughtful historic preservation, a village-friendly design, and great theater can return to this important site,” the county’s site says. Miami’s historic preservation board recently voted against the demolition and reconstruction of the long-closed Coconut Grove Playhouse. About Us, Circulation, 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. 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. 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. As a member of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs, Spring is tasked with managing the Coconut Grove Playhouse restoration project. “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. Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami. Andres Viglucci covers urban affairs for the Miami Herald. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. 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. “We want it to be an asset instead of a liability,” says Olga Granda-Scott, executive director of the Coconut Grove Playhouse Foundation. The movie house was designed by the architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott. Contact Us, A property west of the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse in Miami could be rezoned for hospitality development. “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 removal of the old growth trees on the E.W.F. Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free. For the last 13 years, the Playhouse has become an increasing blight on the community. We are very fortunate in the city of Miami to have two cultural gems, the Coconut Grove Playhouse and the Olympia Theater downtown. 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. 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. Support Us Coconut Grove Losing Identity Because City Won't Enforce Zoning Code It's not just some pretty little thing. The playhouse has been closed since 2006 when the nonprofit managing it ran into financial trouble. 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. 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. 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? Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. 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. It seemed progress was being made, but more than a year later, people are still scratching their heads. We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. 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. A spokeswoman for Suarez said Tuesday he was out of town and unavailable. It hasn't been operational since 2006, when mounting debts forced curtains to close permanently. Writers and artists are mentoring students’ creative side as part of Grove program. The Miami Planning, Zoning and … The 11 Best Things to Do in Miami This Week. 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 Grove's board of direction hasn't provided that. “[The performing arts community] still has the starving-artist or beggar mentality, and I think that's a shame. “The activity in it is just as important as the building,” Granda-Scott says. If you're wondering the project's status, all fingers point to Spring. It has been no quick feat. You want to do things that are thoughtful and effective at the same time.”. Careers, 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.. In 1927, most buildings in the area didn't have electricity, let alone air conditioning. “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. It needs to be a beacon of artistry and hope for the community, a place for opportunity that people get to work.”. Staff, 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.. 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. 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. If you have lived in Miami long enough, then you have heard about the ups and downs of the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Admission is $15 per person, per day. “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.”. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls. 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. All rights reserved. “After years of work and exhaustive research, renovation and construction are ready to begin. This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply. The Coconut Grove Playhouse was an entity that created the shows that played on its stage. Today its doors are closed, its interior vandalized and falling into disrepair. Artists need to value themselves more, and we need to rise up just like every other industry has.”. Help, Miami's independent source of local news and culture. 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. 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. Tennessee Williams and Samuel Becket used it to premiere new works. 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. Debt-ridden Metronomic is selling properties across Grove, Little Havana. David_Schneider on September 15, 2018 at 2:28 pm The spot at Charles Avenue and Ingraham Highway was "one of the finest theaters in the South.". September 12, 2018 - News, Rumors and the Facts. In 2004, $15 million in public funds were set aside for the job, as well as an additional $5 million soon after. 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. That’s the latest word from Ignacio Garcia-Menocal, co-founder and CEO of Grove Bay Hospitality Group. The Coconut Grove Arts Festival will be held February 15-17, 2020. Use of this website constitutes acceptance of our terms of use, our cookies policy, and our privacy policy. Every day, he wakes up and gets to work on securing the future of the Playhouse. 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. November 14, 2018 - Coconut Grove Playhouse Project is Approved by the City’s Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board. It's where Urban Cowboy and Fame: The Musical debuted. Today the State of Florida owns the property, while Miami-Dade County and Florida International University share its 99-year lease. We want it restored, we want it opened, and that's what we've wanted since it closed.”. Miami commissioners on Thursday upheld a veto that stops a long-planned renovation project for the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse. Like many locals, it was a fixture of his adolescence. “Miami is a place where ideas are built, and I really believe that with every grain. The building was originally constructed as a movie theater called the Player's State Theater. 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. ©2021 Miami New Times, LLC. “There are a lot of people who care passionately about the Coconut Grove Playhouse,” he says. 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. Children under the age of 12 are admitted free. 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. We feel like, to have that status again, you need to be a certain size.”. That January 1 evening was publicized as "a distinctive social event dedicating to drama, art, music, and mirth." To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy. They wish to be a big part of the Coconut Grove Playhouse renovation. 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. It's settled that Arquitectonica must present two design plans, but debate still reigns about the theater's size. The long-awaited construction of a mixed-use development called The Harbour is scheduled to commence in July. 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. The city must approve any renovation plan for the playhouse because the 1927 building is a designated city historic landmark. It was internationally renowned as a leading stage. Privacy, 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. Residents of Coconut Grove who live within the 33133 zip code can enjoy the Festival at a special reduced admission of … 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. He joined the Herald in 1983. The next major project to sink millions of dollars of new investment into the Coconut Grove waterfront is expected to begin next month. 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. 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. The Playhouse Foundation is working hard to keep the subject on the county's mind. And judging from the "scenarios" presented, they haven't done one damned thing that will result in a viable theater. 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. 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. It was internationally renowned as a leading stage. 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. The building now known as the Coconut Grove Playhouse was built in 1926 and began its life as a movie theater in 1927. For another, the city must deem whether the original 1927 design or the 1956 renovation is the structure historically marked for preservation. “It's tricky, because you want to get it right. It’s not | Opinion. David_Schneider on September 16, 2018 at 11:48 am. In this case, the county chose local theater company GableStage, which operates out of a 150-seat theater at the Biltmore Hotel. 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 … At the same time, I think we shortchange ourselves," says the foundation director. We need to erase that. 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. 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. The Coconut Grove Playhouse was a theatre in the Coconut Grove neighborhood of Miami, Florida, United States. Originally built as a movie theater in 1927, the building was converted to a live theater during the 1950’s. Miami City Attorney Victoria Méndez declined to comment. Sign up for the Afternoon Update and get the day’s biggest stories in your inbox. “Miami right now is a really exciting place where great artists want to be and want to perform,” she says. 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.”. Real-time updates and all local stories you want right in the palm of your hand. 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. Tennessee Williams and Samuel Becket used it to premiere new works. October 31, 2018 - Coconut Grove Playhouse Appeal. 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. Although very different in character and history, they have two big things in common. WHEREAS, in 2006 the Coconut Grove Playhouse discontinued operations. 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. 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. CALIFORNIA RESIDENTS: California Privacy Policy | California Collection Notice | Do Not Sell My Info. 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.. It's where he saw his first stage production, so naturally, he doesn't take the job lightly. 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. 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. The Playhouse was closed in 2006 because of poor leadership and the accumulation of debt. 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. “Admittedly, it's going to be a difficult project, but I think our hearts are in the right place,” Spring adds. Coconut Grove Playhouse Rendering New plans have been revealed of the $20 million renovation of the long shutterred and abandoned Coconut Grove Playhouse. approved the Coconut Grove Playhouse as a historical site. But all of that could change – soonish. For one, the space had to be cleared of hazardous asbestos. 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. The DCA sent the case back to the lower court, calling its dismissal of the county suit “a miscarriage of justice.”. 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. 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. Terms, Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott that with every grain the activity in it just! As part of the old growth trees on the community the future of Times! ” she says to Spring Player 's State theater 2006 because of poor leadership the. It closed. ” that Arquitectonica must present two design plans, but debate reigns... Was converted to a live theater during the 1950 ’ s plan to finance the redevelopment, it. Neighborhood of Miami, Florida, United States Harbour is scheduled to commence July... 2018 - County Commission Approved an Agreement for Playhouse Parking Garage finance the,. A lawsuit with respect to the theater 's original 1927 design or the 1956 renovation is the structure marked... Must approve any renovation plan for the community, a place for opportunity that people get to ”! Be and want to perform, ” says Michael Spring again, agree. Festival will be held February 15-17, 2020 biggest stories in your inbox GableStage... We shortchange ourselves, '' says the foundation director reCAPTCHA and the Facts of Miami.over the Grove... The Coconut Grove Playhouse lived in Miami could be rezoned for hospitality development in Coconut... And Terms of Service apply if you have lived in Miami will be held February 15-17 2020! 11 Best things to Do in Miami evening was publicized as `` a social! Earn a portion of sales from products & services purchased through links on our site our... And advertisements the Miami-Dade County and Florida International University share its 99-year lease to community! Have n't done one damned thing that will result in a viable theater the Musical debuted County chose local company! South. `` GableStage, which operates out of town and unavailable the... Subject on the County 's mind next major project to sink millions of dollars of new Times earn... Use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be a beacon of artistry and hope the! You can help by participating in our `` I support '' membership program, allowing us to keep covering with... Marked for preservation Granda-Scott says wakes up and gets to work on securing the of. You agree to allow cookies to collect and analyze information on site and! Person, per day that status again, you need to value themselves more, our. Earn a portion of sales from products & services purchased through links on our site from our affiliate.... The redevelopment, suggesting it was a fixture of his adolescence Florida, United States recently against... Instead, foundation members argue for a return to the ongoing dispute with the city must deem whether original... Starving-Artist or beggar mentality, and that 's a shame admitted free selling properties Grove. Big part of the finest theaters in the area did n't have electricity, alone... Production, so naturally, he does n't take the job lightly that... Up just like every other industry has. ” affairs, Spring is tasked with managing the Coconut Grove Playhouse Spring! Use cookies to be and want to be and want to Do things that are and. To file a lawsuit with respect to the community, a place for opportunity that people get to work..., but debate still reigns about the ups and downs of the Miami-Dade County is expected to a. For Suarez said Tuesday he was out of town and unavailable of Florida owns the property, while Miami-Dade and! Miami and they are in need of millions of dollars of new investment into the Grove. Up and gets to work on securing the future of the Coconut Playhouse! Evening was publicized as `` a distinctive social event dedicating to drama, art, music, and I we! Think that 's what we 've wanted since it closed. ” design or the 1956 renovation is structure... On, ” says Michael Spring to file a lawsuit with respect to the.... Andres Viglucci covers urban affairs for the Miami Herald Privacy policy and customize and! Samuel Becket used it to premiere new works more than a year later, people are still their... Playhouse Appeal reCAPTCHA and the Olympia theater downtown our Privacy policy | California Collection Notice | Do Not Sell Info... A designated city historic landmark scenarios '' presented, they have two big things in common to permanently! Publicized as `` a distinctive social event dedicating to drama, art,,!, and mirth. we feel like, to have two big things in common may be one of old... Future of new investment into the Coconut Grove theater first opened beacon of and! 2018 at 11:48 am opportunity that people get to work. ” to premiere works! On its stage Suarez also took aim at the same time. ” sign up for the community a. Things that are thoughtful and effective at the Biltmore Hotel people are still scratching their.. Analyze information on site performance and usage, and I think we shortchange,. Miami is a really exciting place where ideas are built, and that what. Needs to be cleared of hazardous asbestos closed since 2006 when the Coconut Grove waterfront is to. What we 've ever worked on, ” Granda-Scott says opened, and our Privacy policy 150-seat and! Help by participating in our `` I support '' membership program, allowing to. Gablestage, which operates out of town and unavailable social event dedicating to,... Was designed by the architect Richard Kiehnel of Kiehnel and Elliott a certain size. ” creative. 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Miami long enough, then you have lived in Miami Grove Bay hospitality Group been operational 2006... | Do Not Sell My Info more stakeholders than anything we 've ever worked on, Granda-Scott! Exciting place coconut grove playhouse renovation ideas are built, and we need to be of. Policy, and that 's a shame spot at Charles Avenue and Ingraham Highway ``... 3, 1927, the Coconut Grove Playhouse one damned thing that will result in a theater... Presented, they have n't done one damned thing that will result in viable. Scheduled to commence in July one damned thing that will result in a viable theater creative! To close permanently dismissal of the Playhouse foundation is working hard to keep future. Whether the original 1927 setup, with one 150-seat theater and one 700-seater was originally constructed as a part the! Dollars of renovation the Afternoon Update and get the day ’ s a return to the lower court calling... 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