Grove Homeowners Claim In Suit That Developer Broke Agreement
By Susan Stabley
A Coconut Grove homeowners association is suing the City of Miami and a developer building a condominium after the project was proposed as a hotel.
Developer Carlos Rua has begun construction on Courtyard in the Groves, which is to include 60 condos and 90 parking spaces on Southwest 28th Street just off the busy 27th Avenue commercial corridor near US 1 behind a blue Burger King building.
The development was planned in 1998 as a four-story, 90-room hotel, but Mr. Rua said he lost financing for the project after a lawsuit by the Coconut Grove Park Homeowners Association against the city threatened his plan.
Because the exterior of the building has not been altered from original plans, Mr. Rua was not required to get new permits to change the intended use of the building.
The Coconut Grove homeowners association filed suit June 16 against Mr. Rua, his Dixie Grove Investment Corp. and the city, contending that his plans for a condo building is in violation of an agreement he made with the association as a result of the previous lawsuit.
"We believe he promised a hotel," said attorney John Shubin, representing the homeowners. "It appears he’s attempting to get out from under the agreement he has made."
Mr. Rua and the homeowners association agreed in an April 2000 covenant to limit the development of Mr. Rua’s property to a hotel, according to the June lawsuit.
Mr. Rua said Thursday that he has not been served with the lawsuit. "I have not been given a certified letter stating what they want. I have not had a chance to respond as to the covenant they allude to."
Mr. Rua said he had meetings with neighbors of the project and told them he is building a condominium instead of a hotel, which he said should be more desirable to the community.
"My immediate concern is my immediate neighbors," he said.
Mr. Rua’s developments have included Provence Village, Parisian Village, French Village and the Arboretum in the Grove.
Miami city commissioners approved another Coconut Grove project for Mr. Rua at last week’s planning and zoning hearing. They approved zoning and land-use changes to allow a 130-unit mixed-use residential building called Bordeaux Towers at Southwest 29th Lane and 29th Avenue.