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Thursday, November 23, 2017

HAPPY THANKSGIVING!


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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Shop the Grove on Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 25 is Small Business Saturday, a yearly event promoted since 2010.

In an effort to support these local places that make our communities strong, American Express launches Small Business Saturday on the Saturday after Thanksgiving — hoping to help bring more holiday shopping to small businesses.

Shop small and share your support for the spots you call your  own, whether it's your barbershop or the bookstore or even local restaurants. Spend money in the Grove on Saturday.

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New Village Council sworn in

The new Coconut Grove Village Council, elected on November 7, held its first meeting Monday, Nov. 20, at City Hall. Mayor Francis Suarez presided over the swearing-in of the nine council members, and District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell was also on hand to welcome the group. They are shown at the swearing in here.

At Monday’s meeting, the group elected six officers: Marcelo Fernandes, Chair; Linda Williams, Vice Chair; Zachary Elliott, Secretary; Larissa Ozols, Treasurer; Thaddeus Scott, Sergeant-at-Arms; and Steve Dloogoff, Parliamentarian. 

The main discussion item was the list of pressing community issues the new Council faces. As a first step in tackling it, the group agreed on four major priorities:

- Gaining higher visibility in the community through both electronic and personal communication, including regular participation in key local meetings.
- Continuous organizational improvement, including budgeting and funding for the Council’s activities.
- A focus on housing and zoning, including the current process for revising the Neighborhood Conservation District overlay for Coconut Grove.
- Transportation—roadways, parking, bicycling, pedestrian safety, and related matters.

“These priorities will drive our work for a while,” said Fernandes. “We’ll be working closely with the Business Improvement District, the Chamber of Commerce, Grove 2030, Village West, and all the residents, business owners, and grassroots organizations that make Coconut Grove such a thriving, vital community.”

The councilmembers are Johannah Brown, Rachel Cardello, Steve Dloogoff, Zachary Elliott, Marcelo Fernandes, Larissa Ozols, Hank Sanchez-Resnik, Thaddeus Scott, and Linda Williams. Dloogoff, Sanchez-Resnik, Scott, and Williams served on the previous Council. There were 15 candidates in this year’s race. The top nine were voted to serve for a four-year term. The Council meets once a month, and the public is encouraged to attend. They meet the third Friday of each month at City Hall.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Book launch party for 'Hotel Scarface'

Over 120 people attended an event at Grovite Robin Parker's house over the weekend to congratulate Roben Farzad on his new book,"Hotel Scarface," which chronicles the heyday of the Mutiny Hotel right here in Coconut Grove. The hotel was quite notorious during the Cocaine Cowboy days.

Above, from left: Humberto Fleitas, author Roben Farzad, Karen Tarpley, Wendy Zane, Nelson Aquilar and host Robin Parker.

Humberto Fleitas was present, he was the original DJ at the Mutiny from 1976 to 1982, Karen Tarpley, also present, was an original Mutiny Girl Beauty and her necklace is featured in the book, also present old Mutiny cast: Nelson Aguilar currently owns Fifi’s restaurant on Miami Beach, Carlos Quesada and Owen Band all infamous from those days. 

You can purchase it at Amazon here.

Happy days.

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Oversized developments destroy neighborhoods

Dozens of Greenwich Village and East Village residents in NYC came out to protest a bunch of planned or under-construction projects that they feel will destroy the small scale of their neighborhoods. The sky-scrapers don't fit in. And yes, there are still small-scale neighborhoods in New York and they want to keep their charm and feel. There are times when I am in New York City and I'm the only person on the street. This quaintness is what residents would like to keep.

Residents in these NYC neighborhoods feel that the large projects are destroying the fabric of their neighborhoods and that is how many of us feel in Coconut Grove.

Development, over-development, non-stop development. It's a cancer on our country.

I think this latest proposed project of a new office building on Mary and Tigertail, has finally touched a nerve with people. I have been receiving personal messages and emails from people who were always on the side of the big developer and now they have had enough.

I was surprised to see how friends flipped from being developer-friendly to asking, "What can we do to stop all of this construction?" I had always had a quarrel with friends who were realtors who were on the side of the developers, but now they are even turning and ask when is enough enough?


Most residents don't want this village to become Brickell South. People don't want to live in a perpetual construction zone. 

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Monday, November 20, 2017

Join the Vizcaya Gingerbread Competition

The holidays at Vizcaya are even more special this year with an addition to the estate’s seasonal tradition – the Vizcaya Village Gingerbread Competition.

For the first time ever, Vizcaya invites local baking enthusiasts to celebrate their love of the holidays by recreating the historic Vizcaya Village in sugary deliciousness. 

Participants should apply online here by November 30, 2017, and will then present their creative confections during the Holiday Evening program on December 13, 2017.

Five winners will be selected and awarded fabulous prizes, which include Vizcaya memberships of up $250. 

For an extra special treat, join in for A Holiday Evening at Vizcaya Village on December 13 from 6 - 9 pm as they celebrate the winter traditions of the families that lived and worked at Vizcaya 100 years ago. There will be time to explore on your own, lots of photo ops, caroling, a mini-tuba concert (surprisingly festive, given the baritone notes of the instruments!), art making, tours and holiday treats. For families that attend the Holiday Evening at Vizcaya Village, family passes will be given away to come see the Main House decorated for the holidays.

Tickets here.

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He's enamoured with the Mutiny Hotel's storied past

10 With Tom 
10 questions in 10 minutes 

This "10 With Tom" post ran in April, just as Roben Farzad was preparing his new "Hotel Scarface" book for publication. Now that the book is out and it's a big hit, here is the column again.

Oh, by the way, Stone Village Television has picked up tv and film rights to "Hotel Scarface," and they plan on creating a limited tv series on the book. Roben will executive produce with Stone Village’s Scott Steindorff and Dylan Russell.








I was pleased to meet up with Roben Farzad, on Twitter of all places. Roben hosts the weekly program called Full Disclosure on NPR One and is a special correspondent on PBS NewsHour. He was a senior writer for Bloomberg Businessweek, where he covered Wall Street, international finance, Latin America, and Miami. Farzad is a graduate of Princeton University and the Harvard Business School.

Roben has a book coming out which chronicles the notorious years of The Mutiny Hotel, right here in Coconut Grove.  It's called "Hotel Scarface" and you can purchase it at Amazon here, let's ask Roben the 10 With Tom questions about The Mutiny, the book and his life.


TOM: Roben, you seem quite young to know much about the Mutiny Hotel's "Scarface" history. What interested you about those notorious days?

ROBEN: While I was born in Iran, Miami is where I spent my childhood. I DARED to stay off drugs -- though I watched Miami Vice every Friday night -- and left Miami for college in 1994. This story found me just before I packed my bags...and I could never quite put it down. Leads led to more leads; the address occupied my dreams; retired dopers summoned me. A book somehow happened. 

TOM: Can you briefly tell us what The Mutiny was about in the 1970s. What made it so notorious?

ROBEN: It was where the Cold War met Reefer Madness met the Swinging Seventies met the Cocaine Wars. It was Miami's Studio 54, Rick's Café Américain and a Disco DMZ rolled into one tidy address overlooking the bay.

TOM: I'm sure you have toured every part of the hotel recently, what is your favorite part? Anything historical still there that intrigues you?

ROBEN: Aside from maybe the shape of the pool, the current Mutiny has very little in common with the original address, which was abandoned by the late '80s, pulverized by Hurricane Andrew and then completely gutted by new owners. The theme rooms are gone. So is the Club. A hostess who attended a recent staff reunion did swear that the lobby still smells the same. 

TOM: Are you a Grovite?

ROBEN: I feel like I am now. 

TOM: How many times have you seen the Scarface movie? 

ROBEN: Three or four times. Few appreciate how little was ultimately shot in Miami. The exile community did not exactly roll out the red carpet for the producers; the Mariel crisis, race riots and murderous 1981 / "Paradise Lost" were fresh, deep wounds for the 305. 

TOM: What about Cocaine Cowboys, have you seen that? How does that compare to Scarface?

ROBEN: Loved that doc, especially the "Reloaded" cut. Billy and Alfred are creative arbitrageurs: they pounced on the fact that there was so much left unresolved from Miami's infamous cocaine heyday. And they did it on a limited budget and an early appreciation for viral promotion: burner copies were circulating in flea markets and 'Cowboys' was all over file-sharing. I'm stoked for CCIII, which looks at the speedboating Muchachos who used to lord over the Mutiny Club and so many rooms upstairs. 


TOM: What are two things you would do if you woke up and you were in 1977 in bed, in a Mutiny hotel room?

ROBEN: First, I'd call my broker and have him put ten grand in shares of Coca-Cola. I'd then summon room service to fill up my hot tub with Vitabath. After priming my appetite with a grade-A joint and decking myself out in a Brioni suit and chest-hair gel, I'd head downstairs to try Chef Manny's renowned Lobster Thermidor; shoot the shit with Liza Minnelli and Ralph Renick (always at the bar) -- and get to know one Ricardo "Monkey" Morales, the doper-spook-hitman-informant-romantic who kept his semi-automatic in a breadbasket at Table 14. Ricky is this book's spirit animal.

TOM: The last book you read?

ROBEN: Black Edge, the bestseller by Sheelah Kolhatkar, who I worked with at Businessweek. It's a page-turner


TOM: Which tv show/movie would you crawl into and spend the day if you could: Good Fellas, Traffic, Breaking Bad or Weeds?

ROBEN: Breaking Bad. I called that hit after the very first episode. I read somewhere that it was pitched to AMC as "Mr. Chips Meets Scarface." Scarface star and Mutiny regular Steven (Rocky Echevarría) Bauer had one of my favorite roles in the series. Actually, come to think of it: I'd rather crawl into bed and binge-watch ¿Qué Pasa, USA?    

TOM: Who is the most famous person you have met?

ROBEN: No one compared to Carl Hiaasen, my hero...who I'm dying to meet. Carl, come on my radio show. Read my book. Lemme treat Pollo Tropical.

Thanks, Roben!

Photos of ladies courtesy John R. Lawrence

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Sunday, November 19, 2017

Our favorite Grove artists at Mad Hatter Fest

The Mad Hatter Arts Festival, now in its 13th year, is Saturday and Sunday, November 18 and 19 at and around The Barnacle State Park. Stop by today for day two and enjoy the fun.

This year, the festival features the Artisan & Vintage Market Place. 

Above are artists AnnaMaria Windisch-Hunt and Uta.
Award winning photographer Robert Sullivan at his first Mad Hatter.


Max Lazega and his Masterpieces in Metal.



Liz Gibson and her fabulous painted rocks.
Louis Del Borrello has the perfect mad hat. It fits in with the Grove these days.

The festival is free with the regular $2 park admission. Movie is $5 for ages 6 and up and $3 for ages 2-5. It's open from 11 am to 4 pm.

The Barnacle is located at 3485 Main Highway.

Photos by Rafael Gutierrez 

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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Le Pain Quotidien off to a magnifique start

As I write this, it's Friday afternoon and I'm dipping freshly baked sourdough bread into freshly made chicken soup. Le Pain Quotidien opened Friday and it seems like half the Grove stopped by to enjoy it. All the tables were taken with happy, hungry Grovites. I overheard one lady ask about their catering services. She is getting prepared for the holidays with them in mind.

What's ironic is that I kept hearing people talk about going to Le Pain Quotidien in New York City and when I looked it up, I saw about 17 or 18 locations in Manhattan! What's odd to me is that I am in New York often, I am up north now as you read this, and in all these years, I've never stopped in or realized that Le Pain Quotidien is here (in NY). 


There is one near my favorite corner - 50th Street and 2nd Avenue. I do everything in that area - there's a Starbucks, a diner I like, there used to be a Pig and Whistle bar where my cousin performed, there's a newsstand a bodega, an Italian restaurant I like and so much more. I stayed at an AirBnB in that area once and loved it. A few blocks away is Beekman Place and Sutton Place and the river.



But I digress. I have been passing Le Pain Quotidien up all these years because I thought it was a bakery and didn't realize they have soups and food. The one I am familiar with has bread in the window and I once looked in and thought it was a coffee shop or bread bakery, sort of like Zak the Baker, so I never really went in.



But I've been missing all this delicious food. I will be sure to stop in for pastries for Thanksgiving this year at the 50th and 2nd location.  What I love about the Grove location is the people. They seem to be the nicest people - every one of them, all very polite with smiles on their faces.



Le Pain Quotidien in the Grove is located at 3425 Main Highway. We did a story on La Pain, with lots of photos here. You'll find menu items listed there and the times they are open, etc.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

Hurricane book featured at Miami Book Fair

On August 24, 1992, the most damaging hurricane to hit the US in nearly a century slammed into Miami-Dade County. Photographer and Grovite Barry Fellman has a new book out called, "Hurricane," which shows the drama and devastation wreaked by the Category 5 storm through spectacular bold images, most of which have never been seen before. The book focuses on the effect of the storm’s extreme forces at the Kendall-Tamiami airport, just blocks away from Country Walk, the residential community that was completely decimated at this pivotal moment in Florida history.

Barry and meteorologist Bryan Norcross, who contributed to the book, will be featured at the Miami Book Fair on 
Saturday, November 18 at 10:30 am in Room 7128 (Building 7, first floor Floor) 300 NE Second Avenue.
Barry's color photographs pack a punch that hits you with the intensity of a once in a lifetime event. These pictures transport you to an unreal world where the photographer transforms chaos into art.

"I put them away for a couple of decades in a box that stayed closed - they were too much to deal with at the time. I started thinking about the photos more and more and after a (long) while decided I was good to get them out and look. Last year I thought with 25 coming up that seemed to be a good target date to get them out," says Barry.

Hurricane features essays by New York Times photography critic Vicki Goldberg, and then WTVJ-NBC chief meteorologist and hero Bryan Norcross, "the man who talked South Florida through" the Great Hurricane of 1992.

Miami based Exile Books published an Artist's Book with a handcrafted metallic cover evoking the twisted airplanes in the book's images. There is also a soft cover edition. 


Barry Fellman’s photographs have been exhibited at museums, galleries and public venues in South Florida and nationally. Barry, a native Miamian, has contributed to the cultural landscape as an artist, educator and curator. He currently serves as director of Center for Visual Communication, a South Florida based non-profit organization that provides visual arts resources and programming to government, schools and cultural institutions. He is a Silver Knight awardee and is a recipient of a Pollock-Krasner grant for visual arts.

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Mad Hatter Festival is Saturday and Sunday

Liz Gibson as Queen of Hearts
and Audery Scott as the Mad Hatter.
The Mad Hatter Arts Festival, now in its 13th year, is Saturday and Sunday, November 18 and 19 at and around The Barnacle State Park.

This year, the festival will feature the Artisan & Vintage Market Place. There will  be tents on the back lawn and tables set up outside on Main Highway.

Along with the arts and crafts there are food vendors and contests and lots of family fun. Well behaved pets on leash are permitted. 

Also on Saturday evening at 7 pm there will be a special Al Fresco screening of the original Walt Disney "Alice in Wonderland" movie shown from the big screen dropped from the Historic Barnacle House. 

Bring your blanket or beach chair and a picnic and enjoy the movie on the lawn under the stars beside Biscayne Bay at The Barnacle Historic State Park

The festival is free with the regular $2 park admission. Movie is $5 for ages 6 and up and $3 for ages 2-5.

For info: 305 528-4971.

The Barnacle is located at 3485 Main Highway.

We did a feature earlier in the week on award-winning photographer Robert Sullivan who will be showing his work at the Mad Hatter. 

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Thursday, November 16, 2017

Community Holiday Gala

Agape 4 Orphans International is holding the 7th annual Christmas in the Grove a Community Holiday Gala on Sunday, December 17 at Elizabeth Virrick Park Gymnasium.

The theme this year is Celebrating our Community's Heritage with Mother Joyce Price and Apostle John Chamber.

This is a dinner/dance and toy giveaway. Everyone is welcome.

Agape 4 Orphans has been working with emotional and physical needs of children and senior citizens within the community for over eight  years. They are instrumental in providing opportunities for more than 274 children to thrive and excel in the education and communities despite lack of resources and opportunities. 

Christmas has never meant much for most of the children as they are unable to celebrate with a family or rely on a new toy to play with. As is the case each year, there is a Christmas drive. They welcome volunteers to assist during the event and they have also started accumulating Christmas donations in terms of gift cards, new clothes, toys and grocery items. 

To help out, please call 305-801-2552 or email Agape4@comcast.net

The event starts at 5 pm and is free and open to the public.

Virrick Park is located at 3255 Plaza Street.

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Arbor holds much anticipated groundbreaking

Last week, developers Urban Atlantic Group and Oak Ventures hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for Arbor, a 52-residence boutique condominium in the heart of Coconut Grove. Nearly 100 guests turned-out to celebrate the milestone, commemorating the start of construction for Arbor located at 3034 Oak Avenue. Inspired by eco-living and the tree-shaded canopy of the historic surrounding neighborhood, the centrally-located, five-story building features designs by Miami-based Behar Font Architects and interiors by New York-based Samuel Amoia.

Above, from left: Diego Palomo, Sari Libbin,  Dan Hechtkopf, Gus Rubio, and Hillary Boss

Daniel Buraglia, Nick Hamann, and Jeremy Waks

“The vision behind Arbor has always been to create a special home-site for those residents who appreciate the essence of the Grove lifestyle, mindful design, and the ease of living in a building where faces look familiar,” said lead developer Nick Hamann, a Coconut Grove resident and Principal with Urban Atlantic Group. “The building’s central location provides a place where people can comfortably live, work and play.”

Danny Dougherty and Dan Hechtkopf

“From the onset, we felt it was important to develop a building that would not only fit within the surrounding neighborhood -- incorporating many of the Grove’s most distinctive elements – but one that would serve the community for generations to come.” said Jeremy Waks, Principal of Oak Ventures. “We’ve carefully selected materials that not only feel rich and natural, but are also eco-friendly and durable.”

 Ron Eppinger and Jeremy Waks


Rebecca Wakefield, Javier Font, Jeremy Waks, Nick Hamann, Daniel Buraglia, and Barry Bergman.



 Nicole Singletary and Matt Koche

Diego Palomo and Gus Rubio
Rashelle Hamann and Nick Hamann.

Completion of the building is slated for the fall of 2018. Sales launched in mid-March. Residences start at $799,000. Douglas Elliman is exclusively handling sales for the project. For additional information and images of the units at Arbor, visit their website here.

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Saving the Grove's Village West History

There is an issue on Historic Preservation that will be voted on during the City of Miami commission meeting Thursday, which is sponsored by Commissioner Ken Russell.

SR.4 – This ordinance would amend Chapter 23 of the City Code to allow for historic designation of multiple properties. Currently the code only allows for historic designation of individual homes or creation of historic districts. This code change would create a mechanism for preserving multiple historic properties that share common element.

Ken wants to preserve historic homes such as the shotgun homes in Village West. “The Grove has a lot of historic homes being lost,” he says.

The amendment states: “This amendment will establish provisions whereby a group of thematically-related significant properties can be nominated for historic designation by the use of a streamlined alternative to historic district designation as only eligible thematically-related resources are surveyed."

Ken would like the city to look for property opportunities for construction of affordable housing. He also feels that the expansion of the Omni CRA (Community Redevelopment Area) to the Village West would be a good idea.

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Jack Amoroso opening reception at Grove Gallery

Dancers Paso Rable by Jack Amoroso

Grove Gallery & Interiors is presenting artist Jack Amoroso at an opening reception, "A Lifetime of Artistry," on Thursday, November 16 from 6:30 to 9 pm.

Working in multi-media, his medley of art reflects the experience gained through a lifetime of traveling and painting in more than 30 countries. 

Jack first came from Boston to South Florida at the age of 18, and thought it was a "rather groovy place; a place where a young artist could survive." Two years later he made his move to Coconut Grove permanent, and began his long and storied career as a many faceted creative.  

He is a veritable legend of the Grove art scene.  A founder of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival, Director of the Playhouse Gallery, and widely exhibited throughout his seventy plus year career, he is highly accredited worldwide.


Dubbed "The Last of the Bohemians," and coming in to his professional own during the 1960s and 70s, he falls in line with other great masters of modernism. Like Duchamps, he turns the most common of objects into art. Like Matisse, Jack is a master of color. And like his friend and mentor Picasso, Jack utilizes almost every medium, and has perfected the Cubist's perspective. 

Stop by for lite bites, wine, cocktails, sweets by Craving Sweets Inc. and a formal presentation. RSVP: GPineres@CreativasGroup.Com

The gallery is at 2884 Bird Avenue.

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Grove Playhouse grant denied by state

Were Grovites right the whole time about the Coconut Grove Playhouse? Is the County's plan not historic enough? Is Arquitectonica not the proper firm to renovate the theater?

Max Pearl broke this bombmshell news on the Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse Facebook page.  It's a letter from Timothy Parsons, Director, Division of Historical Resources; he's the State Historic Preservation Officer. A grant was denied to Miami-Dade County and Michael Spring, due to the current county plans not preserving the historic nature of the playhouse enough. Arquitectonica's plans do not restore the playhouse in accordance to what the state would require in order for the county to receive a state grant.

Here is the letter to Michael Spring, 
Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs director and the man in charge of the playhouse restoration. If you don't wish to read the whole thing you can just read the highlighted bold type to get the gist. 


Michael, 
Thank you for your patience in awaiting this reply. As you know, I've been out of the office and I wanted to confer with DHR staff before responding.
 After technical review of Special Category Grant Application 19.h.sc.100.166 (Coconut Grove Playhouse) from Miami-Dade County, the Division of Historical Resources reached a determination of ineligibility for the grant application, due to inconsistency of the proposed project with the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines for Historic Preservation (the "Secretary’s Standards”). This determination was discussed with me in detail before it was finalized, and I agreed with our staff's assessment.
In further explanation of this determination of ineligibility, please note that the Special Category Grant program is governed by Chapter 1A-39, Florida Administrative Code, and the Special Category Grants Guidelines that are incorporated therein. Pursuant to Rule 1A-39.001(7)(c), F.A.C., all grant work funded by the Division must conform to the standards contained in the Secretary’s Standards, and additionally, the Special Category Grant Guidelines, in Section IV.4, provide that expenditures for work not consistent with the Secretary’s Standards are non-allowable for expenditure of grant funds and as contributions to required match.
 This project, as presented in the application and associated attachments (including architectural drawings), does not conform to the Secretary’s Standards, in that if carried out as proposed it would not comply with the following Standards for Rehabilitation:
Standard No. 1.  A property will be used as it was historically or be given a new use that requires minimal change to its distinctive materials, features, spaces and spatial relationships.
 Standard No. 2. The historic character of a property will be retained and preserved. The removal of distinctive materials or alteration of features, spaces and spatial relationships that characterize a property will be avoided.
Standard No. 4. Changes to a property that have acquired historic significance in their own right will be retained and preserved.
 Standard No. 5. Distinctive materials, features, finishes and construction techniques or examples of craftsmanship that characterize a property will be preserved.
Standard No. 6. Deteriorated historic features will be repaired rather than replaced. Where the severity of deterioration requires replacement of a distinctive feature, the new feature will match the old in design, color, texture and, where possible, materials. Replacement of missing features will be substantiated by documentary and physical evidence.
 Standard No. 9. New additions, exterior alterations, or related new construction will not destroy historic materials, features, and spatial relationships that characterize the property. The new work will be differentiated from the old and will be compatible with the historic materials, features, size, scale and proportion, and massing to protect the integrity of the property and its environment.
Standard No. 10. New additions and adjacent or related new construction will be undertaken in such a manner that, if removed in the future, the essential form and integrity of the historic property and its environment would be unimpaired.
As proposed, this project will result in the loss of integrity of the building. The entire interior of the building would be replaced as part of the proposed structural work. Plans submitted with the application show the complete loss of the interior organization of the front building. In addition, the historic theater space where the activities that make this property significant would be demolished to construct a new building. This would render the property ineligible for the National Register under its significance as a theater.
 These findings during technical review of Application 19.h.sc 100.166, supported a determination of ineligibility due to inconsistency with the Secretary’s Standards, and as a result, the application was placed in “Ineligible” status in the DOS Grants Online System (‪www.dosgrants.com‬) on September 5, 2017, as shown in the application’s online Activity Log. 
 I hope that this clarifies the situation and answers your questions. As you know I am a supporter of the County's efforts to revitalize the Coconut Grove Playhouse and return it to its former vibrancy. A determination of ineligibility for this grant certainly isn't a judgement on the value of the proposed work.
However, what is proposed isn't allowable under this grant program. Please let me know if you have any additional questions, or if there is anything else that I can clarify.
 Best,
TimTimothy Parsons,Ph.D., RPADirector, Divisionof Historical Resources | State Historic PreservationOfficer | Florida Department of  State

"It seems obvious the state, which owns the property, is sending a clear message they are quite underwhelmed with his plan, to put it mildly," said Max.

Spring now will not receive the state grant and the recent voter approval of $10 million is contingent on the larger theater, which is not part of Spring's plans. 

"Even if he finds a way to move forward without the state grant and without the city's $10 million, he still cannot ignore the fact that he has been found to be in violation of seven of the Secretary of State's standards for rehabilitation," said Max.

Two years ago the state said that Spring was not in compliance, did he just ignore that?

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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Seminole Boat Ramp update

You've seen all that mess going on at the Seminole Boat Ramp which is currently closed? This in from the City of Miami:

The 27th Avenue Boat Ramp in Coconut Grove, also known as the Seminole Boat Ramp, is currently serving as a staging area for sunken vessels and marine debris removal.  

The US Coast Guard and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission are working in conjunction with the City of Miami on this effort.

In addition, Hurricane Irma caused structural and mechanical damage to the ramp itself and adjacent finger piers.  Because of this damage which still needs to be repaired and the ongoing sunken vessel removal operation, it will be several weeks before the 27th Avenue Ramp can reopen to the public.

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Remove Arquitectonica as Playhouse partner?

By now, you probably have heard about the issue regarding Bernardo Fort-Brescia, CEO of Arquitectonica destroying mangroves behind his house at the Moorings here in the Grove, claiming that Hurricane Irma destroyed them. The story was front page news in the Herald, blasted all over Sunday's front page.

It's not such a catastrophe on the surface if you take Hurricane Irma into account, but the fact that it is illegal to destroy mangroves and that for years we have been trying to have windows opened up in Peacock  Park and Kennedy Park so that people could see the bay and this has been shot down by DERM and other environmental groups for years, makes it the height of selfishness that the public cannot have an open view of the water, but a selfish homeowner took it upon himself to open his own view up. Environmental groups dispute that Hurricane Irma destroyed the mangroves. And isn't the whole purpose of mangroves to protect the land from hurricanes?

This is a case of do it first and apologize later. 


When a neighbor, Dr. Nancy Reierson, started taping Fort-Brescia, he swiped her phone/camera out of her hand. 

The "I am better than you, I can do what I want," attitude does not sit well with neighbors.

To that end, the Save the Coconut Grove Facebook page, run by Max Pearl is asking that the current county plans for the playhouse, which no one but the county likes anyway, remove Arquitectonica as partner in the project.  Many feel the whole plan is based on new development rather than saving the playhouse. It's more than the smug attitude, it is the fact that this world-class architect broke the law regarding property and land laws and is not trustworthy. There are Florida laws regarding the destruction of mangrovesThe Legistlative Intent says: "It is the intent of the Legislature to protect and preserve mangrove resources valuable to our environment and economy from unregulated removal, defoliation, and destruction."

Max has sent this letter to County Mayor Carlos Gimenez:

Mr. Mayor,

As a follow up question to my prior email, in light of Sunday's front page story in the Miami Herald involving disturbing reports of Arquitectonica's CEO, may I ask if the county intends on allowing Arquitectonica to remain as a partner on the Coconut Grove Playhouse restoration project, and if so, why would you not agree with many who feel that such a crime should not be rewarded by being awarded contracts by the county using public monies?

Sincerely,

Max Pearl
Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse







NOTE:

Commissioner Xavier L. Suarez, in conjunction with City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell and Miami- Dade County School Board Member Maritere Rojas, is hosting a Town Hall Meeting to discuss plans for the Coconut Grove Playhouse, proper use of General Obligation Bond funds, and the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board's (HEPB) decision to approve the current county plans.

Constituents and stakeholders are invited to attend as well as other prominent figures of the community.

Town Hall Meeting
Date and Time: Thursday, November 30
5:00 to 7:00 pm
Location: City of Miami City Hall, Chambers
3500 Pam American Drive.

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