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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

JULY 24, 2013

GOODBYE PARADISE, HELLO PARKING GARAGE
WHAT YOU SEE, IS NOT WHAT YOU’LL GET

I hadn’t planned on writing about the proposal for the replacement of Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing.


First, contrary to the belief of many that this property belongs to everyone in the City of Miami - technically it does - it is actually a part of Coconut Grove, and I have become weary about watching all the whiny people in the Grove complain about the cutting down of trees and the repair of sidewalks while refusing to pay attention to the serious issues, including attending City Commission meetings and being present during the budget meetings.  Rightly or wrongly, I’ve  come to the conclusion that the business community in the Grove deserves the screwing that they either getting, or going to get for refusing to be adults and payattention.


Then there’s also the fact that there are just so many issues that I can focus on at any one time, and even though I had written about the efforts to limit citizen participation during the meeting of the Selection Committee for this proposal, the idea of wading through 232 pages of the proposal, as well as listening to the audio tape of the first meeting and then haggling with Facilities Director Henry Torre to try and get additional documents just wasn’t something I figured was worth spending a week or more of my time for a story that would result in getting called names by some assholes in Coconut Grove who have been angling behind the scenes to help push this deal through.


But, that all changed when I got feed back from my story last week about Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff and his latest efforts to circumvent the Sasaki Waterfront Master Plan, by having the firm Arquitectonica design a new plan for the park that will replace the Miami Convention Center destined to be torn down November 1st.


So, while I could focus on a number of issues with this proposal, I want to focus on just one, because I think that it is the critical issue for those concerned about what they’ve finally perceived is going on.


THE PARKING GARAGE AT THE CORNER OF BAYSHORE DRIVE AND PAN AMERICAN DRIVE


Part of the proposal for the redevelopment of Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing calls for a parking garage to be built on property that is owned by the Miami Parking Authority and is currently operated as Parking Lot 67.


The Sasaki Masster Plan also called for a parking garage on this property, and their version, as seen below, would have been a 3 story garage with retail space.  Notice how it would have taken up most of that space.

The proposal put forward by the Grove Bay Investment Group also included renderings for a parking garage, along with not one, but two different numbers for amount of parking spaces that would be required.

Page 4

Page 19

Whether the number of parking spaces turns out to be 497, 526, or even 800, which was supposedly a number projected in the Sasaki Master Plan, the footprint that such a parking garage would create, especially when an additional of 40,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor was added represents a sizable building.


And here is where the game got cute.  Whoever did the architectural renderings that accompanied the Grove Bay Investment Group proposal consciously and with forethought set out to misrepresent the size and impact of this building.


Look at the image below. This is supposed to represent the parking garage. Look at the palm trees. Look at the big tree at the very left of the image. Look at the height of the proposed 1st floor of retail space, and then look at the way that the first floor retail space is projected with the high, plate glass windows.

Look at how sleek and low to the ground the building is projected to look aided by all the other reference points around it.  When was the last time you saw palm trees the height of a 5 story building? Or an oak tree that size?  


The renderings in this proposal were all done by highly trained professionals.  None of this was done because the people didn’t know any better.  They knew exactly what they were doing, and what they were doing is lying about the size and mass of this parking garage.


If you look at another rendering  - this one an overhead view - done for this proposal, you will see that they project that the 1st floor of the parking garage will contain 40,000 square feet of retail space.  Floors 2 - 5 will contain parking for 526 cars.

Whether the final number of parking spaces is 497, or 526, or even more, the fact of the matter is that 5 floors at 40,000 square feet per floor represents a building that will be  200,000 square feet.


What does a 200,000 square foot building look like?  It damn sure doesn’t look like this:

To better appreciate what a 200,000 square foot building will look like, I found this example on the internet.  It’s a 196,742 square foot office building in San Diego, currently being leased by Nokia.http://www.cpexecutive.com/regions/west/nokia-takes-nearly-200000-sf-near-san-diego/shapeimage_16_link_0
So, this is what a REAL 200,000 square foot building looks like, and this is what the size of a parking garage built on the corner of Bayshore and Pan American Drive will look like in terms of size and mass if they decide that they need either 497 or 526, or any number higher than that of parking spaces.  

No matter how its designed, a 200,000 square foot  building is a BIG ASS building, and if the building above appears to be too bulky for you -its 10X the size of the current Hanger closest to Pan American Drive - let me provide a quote from Michelle Niemeyer, who just wrote a piece for the Coconut Grove Grapevine supporting the proposal and the garage.  Here’s what she had to say about bulk versus height.http://coconutgrovegrapevine.blogspot.com/2013/07/supporting-waterfront-plan.html#linkshttp://coconutgrovegrapevine.blogspot.com/2013/07/supporting-waterfront-plan.html#linksshapeimage_18_link_0shapeimage_18_link_1

If you reduce the footprint by making the parking garage higher then you’re looking at a 6-7 story parking garage.


Now, I was also told that the number of parking spaces might be significantly less than 497, but I find that hard to believe given the size of the retail space, restaurants, a 400 boat boat yard, and the public park next door.


One additional thing that needs to be focused on regarding this parking garage.  As Michelle Niemeyer  says, the design of the parking garage will be up to the Miami Parking Authority.  These are the same fun-loving folks who built the parking garage at the corner of Mary and Tigertail, with half of the first floor retail yet to be leased. They also built the parking garage at 40 NW 3rd Street, also with the ground floor retail still vacant, and they are also responsible for the Marlin’s Stadium parking lots, whose retail space continue to be vacant half way through the 2nd season of baseball.


Go look at those parking garages if you want to appreciate how this parking garage might end up looking, because when it comes to designing parking garages, these people have demonstrated that their design taste is in their ass.


A COUPLE RANDOM THOUGHTS


I keep reading and hearing of how the business owners in the Center Grove feel that they’ve suffered as a result of the competition from the restaurants in Mary Brickell Village. 


Well, this proposal for Grove Key Marina includes a total of 67,000 square feet of new retail space, and 20,500 square feet of new restaurant space. 


I would ventures that that’s probably about double the square footage of all the retail space on Commodore Plaza.


I don;t believe there are a couple thousand folks sitting around in their houses just waiting for a bunch of new restaurants to open up so they can leave home and eat out, or for that matter waiting for another 40,000 square feet of retail space to open up so they can go shopping.


There are just so many folks that make up the base of people that keep restaurants in business, and they tend to be a fickle lot, much like children dazzled by new trinkets.


While the BID might have seemed - and perhaps even been a good idea at the time - it doesn’t look like anyone at the BID has been looking out for the interests of the folks in the Center Grove for a while now, and it’s also obvious that Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff has managed over the last 5 year or so to terrorize almost everyone in the business community there into submission.


Well, unlike the real Wild West where the shop owners didn’t act like wimps, it appears to me that the business owners of Coconut Grove have been acting like the shop owners in the movie westerns who keep looking for a gunslinger like Clint Eastwood to ride in and save them, while they cower in the back room of the General Store pretending there isn’t a shit storm going on out in the street, and peeking out the window to see whether the gunfight is over.


If you’ll agree that the renderings and the information that I’ve provided you in this story reflected a reality that perhaps you never considered, then think about how many other items in this proposal put forth by the fine folks associated with the Grove Bay Investment Group might have also been crafted to present a false representation of what this project will look and be like?


The truth of the matter is that until and unless the voters approve the referendum allowing this group to take over the property - and that referendum DOES NOT include the parking garage - then everything that has occurred to this point, including all these bullshit architectural renderings and the calculations for the parking garage which has yet to receive a legal commitment from the MPA that it will be built, are just that: Bullshit!


The real plans only get drawn up AFTER the referendum, and then it will be too late to object.


Therefore, if any of you folks are really concerned, then you’d better start finding each other and start making plans to oppose this referendum, because Clint Eastwood ain’t coming to save your asses this time.


This ain’t a movie, the folks looking to take your land ain’t firing blanks, and the ass-kissers and schemers have already lined up to lead you down the primrose path!


It’s Miami, Bitches!

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