Miami Commission To Consider Selling Little Havana Landmark
Written by Yeleny Suarez on April 14, 2005
By Yeleny Suarez
A resolution to sell city-owned Teatro Marti in East Little Havana and let a developer build 64 residential condos and commercial space there is to go before Miami’s city commission today (4/14).
"We received three responses, but no one wants to build a theater," said Commissioner Joe Sanchez. "It just does not make any money."
A review committee named by City Manager Joe Arriola evaluated and ranked site proposals, said committee chairman Oscar Rodriguez of the Related Group.
After developers’ oral presentations Jan.19, the committee recommended that Mr. Arriola negotiate to sell to top-ranked Amco Holdings LLC. Should negotiations fail, El Teatro Development LLC is next in line.
Amco plans 64 one-, two- and three-bedroom condos ranging from $160,000 to $250,000 with ground-floor commercial space, said committee member Zully Ruiz of Zully Ruiz Enterprises Inc. The project will add to 23 projects now planned for East Little Havana with 3,547 residential units at a total construction cost of $252 million.
Mr. Sanchez said the building, at 400-430 SW Eighth Ave., is unsafe, has about 25 outstanding fire violations and lacks illumination.
"The person with a lease to the theater did not even have insurance and was renting the location to churches that if an accident were to occur where a resident fell, the city would have faced a lawsuit," Mr. Sanchez said. "The city provided funds throughout the years to help the facility. They were just not invested properly."
The project must go through the city development approval process and will take about 18 months to be completed, Mr. Rodriguez said.
"This building was the stage to many well-known Latin artists and once the headquarters of the Ku Klux Klan," Commissioner Tomas Regalado said. "It’s going to be interesting to see what happens with it in the future."