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Architect Fights Waterfront Project Next To Miami City Hall
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A Coconut Grove architect who is so mad over the luxury real estate plan to overhaul the waterfront next to Miami City Hall is spearheading a campaign to stop the luxury Miami real estate project at the polls.
Miami commissioners voted last month to let the public decide in November whether to go with a plan by luxury Miami real estate developer Grove Bay Investment Group to tear down Scotty’s Landing and the Chart House and fix up a historic boat hangar in Coconut Grove. There would be three new restaurants in its place, including a Shula’s Steakhouse, a Peruvian seafood restaurant and another with outdoor seating similar to Scotty’s.
If voters agree to the luxury real estate proposal, the city would lease the property to Grove Bay for at least $1.8 million a year, and the luxury real estate developer would spend $17.9 million to improve the existing marina property. The lease would be for 50 years and include two 15-year options.
In addition to the baywalk and a public pier, the plan also calls for event space and a banyan-tree park in what would be called The Harbour. Attending commissioners passed the luxury real estate plan unanimously on July?25.
The part that architect Charles Corda’s is mad about is that the Miami Parking Authority would need to double the projected size of the parking garage from a promised four to eight floors to accommodate the 671 parking spaces the authority has recommended to be needed. Corda also says the plan’s square footage is more than the luxury Miami real estate developer is letting be known, and he believes the Grove Bay plan differs greatly from a 2008 waterfront master plan put together by the planning and design firm Sasaki Associates.
“We’re doing what we can to inform the people of Miami,” said Corda, who started a petition against the plan on MoveOn.org about three weeks ago and who spoke out against it during the July?25 vote.
Grove Bay and its main supporter, Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff, say the parking garage will be no taller than 42 feet and will have only four levels. They also say that although the five main components of the plan will reach close to 100,000 square feet, the number is not straight forward.
Sarnoff declares that the luxury real estate development meets with the Sasaki plan and that he has a letter from the company’s managing principal as evidence. The commissioner said the seven-acre site adjacent to city hall is greatly in need of a sprucing up.
“The waterfront is just a parking lot with a couple of places to eat,” he said.
Others are joining Corda’s cause. Meetings at his Coconut Grove home have brought in local activists. Nearly 1,500 people have signed the petition. Sarnoff and his supporters say Corda is gaining momentum by misleading the public.
The architect says he was told by Miami Parking Authority chief executive Art Noriega that 671 parking spaces would be constructed. Corda believes that would require a garage of eight levels or higher.
Critics pointed out that there was no blueprint for the parking structure when the vote took place.
Andres Leiser is a local contributor for Constec Realty's Miami luxury real estate website. Andres Leiser has been involved in Miami real estate for over a decade. For more information please visit http://www.constecrealty.com
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