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Front Page » Top Stories » Coconut Grove Playhouse Development Deal Scrapped

Coconut Grove Playhouse Development Deal Scrapped


Written by on September 21, 2000

By Marilyn Bowden
The most recent negotiations for a mixed-use development centered on the Coconut Grove Playhouse have been scrapped by the theater’s trustees due to changes in the site plan.

Plans for a surface parking lot next to the state-owned theater at 3500 Main Hwy. have been in discussion since 1986. The latest included a hotel, a parking garage, apartments and retail, said Bill Bloom, attorney for the playhouse.

A 1996 request for proposals stipulated that the project provide income and adequate playhouse parking. In 1997, private developer Playhouse Associates was awarded development rights. Although the parties entered into an agreement in December 1998, they never signed a contract.

According to a letter from Mr. Bloom terminating negotiations, the board opted out because Playhouse Associates changed architects and significantly altered the site plan.

An original plan by Sweeny Walter Architects was prepared in consultation with playhouse architect Robert Chisholm, the letter says.

The new plan by Commodore Plaza architect Hakki Koroglu "is materially different from the Sweeny Site Plan previously reviewed by the playhouse," the letter charges, "and deviates substantially from the spirit and intent of the design concept."

The letter also notes concerns the developer had yet to obtain a building permit, financing or franchisor for the hotel.

Mr. Bloom said there is now no intention to request proposals for another developer.

"At this point," he said, "the playhouse is analyzing its options with respect to the property. There are structural issues that may require that the existing building be rebuilt.

"The building committee needs to take that into account prior to seeing if there is excess land available for development."