Voters get final say on Grove waterfront
Written by Meisha Perrin on August 1, 2013
Miami’s City Commission voted last week to let residents decide what to do with the facilities next to city hall currently occupied by Scotty’s Landing and the Chart House restaurant.
Although the commissioners approved the $17 million proposal by Grove Bay Investments Group LLC to recreate the waterfront and contribute to construction of a garage to be owned and run by the Miami Parking Authority, the proposal still must make it past a referendum prior to any construction or rebuilding.
Despite some friction from community members who spoke against the proposed development and the garage, commissioners approved the staff recommendation to pick Grove Bay Investments as top bidder and make a 50-year lease, with the option of two 15-year renewals, if the public approves in November.
According to the city’s request, in addition to improving the area, the company would also have to contribute to the garage that the city wants to build at Pan American and Bayshore drives — much to some residents’ dismay.
In addition, the company is to provide storage for a minimum of 400 boats up to 28 feet long with ancillary marine-relates services such as fuel sales and minor boat repair functions. It’s to have at least one formal restaurant, one casual restaurant and retail uses — all of which are in Grove Bay’s proposal.
According to Richard Perez, Holland + Knight Attorney who represented Grove Bay, the property is to include two formal restaurants, Shula’s and Oceana, and casual restaurant Pub & Grub, in addition to waterfront retail mostly in the area of the former airplane hangar closest to Miami City Hall. The hangars, like city hall itself, are left over from the days when the area was the terminal of Pan American Airways.
Shula’s is to be about 6,500 square feet, with 150 seats inside and 50 seats on an outside waterfront terrace, and Oceana is to be about 5,500 square feet with 150 seats inside and 75 outside.
The design, Mr. Perez told commissioners, is an all-glass, flat-roofed modern metal structure that will go well with the historic metal hangars that Grove Bay is to preserve, and will open up to the waterfront.
The project is to have 7,500 square feet of outside terrace space and a total of 112,000 square feet of green space when completed, as well as three view corridors from South Bayshore Drive.
It is also to have transient docks and to be a transformative plan for the waterfront, Mr. Perez said, that also allows boaters a place to go for entertainment or cuisine.
And, he said, it fits into the city’s Coconut Grove waterfront master plan, which aims to green the waterfront, strengthen the center of the Grove, enhance connection, capitalize on views and link them to the Baywalk.
Grove Bay, he said, is ready to move forward and already has 40% of the budget in escrow.
The city had received two proposals to redevelop the area, but the second bidder withdrew, leaving the five-person selection committee to choose Grove Bay as the most responsive bidder.
Per the approved proposal, the city is to receive a minimum $1.4 million annual rent from Grove Bay, up from the city’s current revenue of just more than $800,000 from the area, in addition to a minimum contribution of $4.9 million toward the parking garage.
As part of the approved amendments, Grove Bay is to ensure that at least 60% of the staff of the property should be city residents, as per the city’s local workforce ordinance.
The garage is scheduled to be completed by 2016.