Burn Notice Out Wrecking Ball In
By Meisha Perrin
Burn Notice is out, and Miami Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff is ready to take down its former home and turn the waterfront site into a park for Coconut Grove residents.
The doom date: Nov. 1.
The city, he said, already has the $2.4 million it needs to raze the building and complete the greening of the space, which includes putting in sod and irrigation systems.
Most of the money came from rent that the hit television show had been paying the city to stay in the 107,000-square-foot site, a payment that was increased after a hard-fought battle with producers, who asked the city last year for an extension to film another season.
Debates arose among city officials, the lucrative show, and supporters of both a blossoming Miami film and entertainment industry and a long-awaited waterfront park next to City Hall.
The hit series, which saw six seasons in Miami, has brought in millions to the city, on top of the annual rent paid, as well as national and perhaps international recognition for Miami as the backdrop, according to producer Terry Miller.
But city officials have wanted a park at the waterfront site, as unveiled in a master plan by former Mayor Manny Diaz in 2008.
And now, according to Mr. Sarnoff, it is time.
Hopefully, he said, this will become Miami’s version of High Line Park, a public park built on a historic rail line elevated above the Streets of Manhattan. It is owned by the city of New York and operated by Friends of the High Line.
High Line Park, he said, is the number-one tourist attraction in New York.
The lot that sits under the expo center will probably be all green space, Mr. Sarnoff said, with a potential for a viewing platform if part of the convention center is left standing.
That idea, however, is not fully realized yet, he said, as the master plan for what the park could be is not even beyond the conversation stage.
For now, phase one is just to get the building demolished and put green in its place, he said, which will probably take six to nine months.
Phase two will involve the conceptual strategizing of what the park will look like and how the city will pay for it, he said. That bit is approximated at $6 million.
In the meantime, too, Mr. Sarnoff said, the city also has to be mindful of other improvements being made along Pan American Drive and near Miami City Hall, as proposals for the Grove Key Marina are soon to go to the city commission for approval.
The city had requested proposals for the lease of city-owned waterfront land for a marina, restaurant, garage and retail uses for the lots at 3385, 3349/3351 Pan American Drive and 51 Charthouse Drive.
The deadline for submittals, according to the city website, was May 10 and the selection committee meeting was set for June 26.
That request includes a garage that’s to be built along South Bayshore Drive at the Pan American Drive entrance to City Hall.
In addition, the city already approved the rebuilding of the dockmaster’s quarters, which will be a larger version of the current one, relocated a little further from the water.
During construction and otherwise, developers will need parking, Mr. Sarnoff said, but the idea is to eventually displace all parking from the lot beside the expo center into the garage — but leave something of a main vein through the future park and a few parking spots for regattas to park sailboats and trailers.To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.