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Front Page » Top Stories » Coconut Grove Playhouse center stage, but garage is the star

Coconut Grove Playhouse center stage, but garage is the star

Written by on April 30, 2019
Coconut Grove Playhouse center stage, but garage is the star

The fate of the idle Coconut Grove Playhouse is center stage next week at a Miami City Commission meeting, but city officials are considering building a garage there no matter what.

Miami-Dade County plans to restore and redevelop the historic 3500 Main Highway site beside a garage lined with retail from the Miami Parking Authority.

On April 25 the city commission was to hear the county’s appeal of a city Historic and Environmental Preservation Board 6-4 decision denying its plan. But Chair Ken Russell moved to defer the appeal after a written request from US Rep. Frederica Wilson, Bahamian Heritage Initiative honorary chair, who asked for time to study the issue and weigh in. The playhouse abuts West Grove, which has deep Bahamian roots.

After more than an hour of argument over deferral, commissioners set a special 9 a.m. meeting May 8 at City Hall.

The state-owned theater is leased to the county and Florida International University. The lease calls for site restoration and a new modern theater run by GableStage. The county’s plan would restore the façade, demolish the larger auditorium and build a new 300-seat theater. Opponents keep battling to restore the entire structure, including the 1,000-seat auditorium.

“Irrespective of the playhouse, we need the garage,” said Mayor Francis Suarez. He suggested it be separated from the overall project and built. At the very minimum, he said, the city must get the garage going because the Grove needs more parking.

Art Noriega, parking authority CEO, said the garage couldn’t be a solo project unless the lease with the state was amended.

“We could go through the process to bifurcate,” Mayor Suarez said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Giménez agreed to the special meeting but said it’s now or never, as the project has lingered in limbo for years facing administrative appeals and litigation.

4 Responses to Coconut Grove Playhouse center stage, but garage is the star

  1. Dawson Allen

    May 5, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    It’s so strange to see our politicians look so concerned about global warming, and then to read about their saying “the Grove needs more parking” so unequivocally. What about more bike lanes, more mass transit, more scooters?

  2. Cully Waggoner

    May 6, 2019 at 11:23 am

    Neither The City of Miami or Miami-Dade County politicians care about preserving ANYTHING. Look at the list of historic buildings that are now gone forever in the name of progress and tax revenue and more minimum wage retail service jobs.

    There is land on both sides of the Grove Playhouse to build a parking garage and restore the Playhouse back to the way it was. The Grove does not need more retail, it is already overdeveloped like the rest of the County already. That’s why the Grove needs more parking because they keep building more and more with less and less parking.


  3. KIM

    May 8, 2019 at 8:41 am

    In favor of preservation & restoration of the Playhouse. Restore, refresh,revitalize the Grove with theatre & arts. Parking garage needed to accommodate the community and patrons.

  4. Mike Ewald

    May 9, 2019 at 5:11 am


    Save the playhouse, raze city hall.