We encourage you to review the documents in advance of the Town Meeting. This information is the context for our presentation and can serve as the basis to help you formulate informed questions and offer public input at the town meeting.
Town Meeting: Update on the Coconut Grove Playhouse
Thursday, October 19th
6:00 pm to 8:30 pm
Miami-Dade County Auditorium, located at 2901 West Flagler Street
Parking is available behind the theater.
RSVP is required
Please note that all earlier updates remain available on this web site and contain more details about the project and its progress.
To view a comprehensive list of all the previous updates visit: http://www.miamidadearts.org/coconut-grove-playhouse-updates.
The design team hired by Miami-Dade County and led by Arquitectonica International Corporation has completed the design development phase for the Coconut Grove Playhouse project. The project team includes some of the best experts in their respective fields: Jorge Hernandez (historic preservation architect); Fisher Dachs Associates (theater consultants); Talaske (acoustic and sound and communications consultants); Douglas Wood Associates (structural engineers); Kimley-Horn (civil engineers); Fraga Engineers (MEPF engineers); Venue (cost consultants); among others. The project also has benefitted from significant input regarding the theater operations from Joseph Adler, Producing Artistic Director of GableStage – the theater company that will operate and program the new theater, as well as Eric Fliss, managing director of the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, and other staff from the various cultural facilities managed by the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.
Florida International University (FIU), the County’s partner in the Playhouse project, continues to play an integral role of collaborating with GableStage on programs and activities that serve students, faculty and the university community. Together, GableStage and FIU are committed to a relationship in the tradition of those great affiliations between regional theaters and major universities across the nation. This partnership is the impetus for FIU’s work on launching the first Master’s degree program in Theater in Miami-Dade County. In addition, the Miami Parking Authority has worked as part of the team, providing guidance on the parking needs, including the proposed layout, capacity, and feasibility of a parking garage and its associated spaces.
The plan for bringing great theater back to the Coconut Grove Playhouse is based on months of collaboration among the design team and project partners, with the explicit goal of developing an integrated solution that is sensitive to the site's architectural and historical significance, that addresses the need for a 21st century theater that has the artistic capability to present great performances, and that achieves these objectives within the available financial resources.
Details, facts and information that are the design team’s work products for this phase and prior phases of the Coconut Grove Playhouse project are available on the Department of Cultural Affairs website, www.miamidadearts.org. This includes historical research, testing reports, and architectural drawings and renderings illustrating the proposed plan for the site, which is further described below.
Plan for Bringing Great Theater back to the Coconut Grove Playhouse Site
The plan for the renewed theater takes into account both the historic and cultural significance of the site by saving the most architecturally significant parts of the Playhouse, the iconic corner building and its ornate façade wrapping around Main Highway and Charles Avenue. This building’s original design intent will be restored by having retail once again engage the street. The plan maintains the original diagonal axis of the theater, along which a new 300-seat theater will be positioned. A crescent shaped outdoor space, reminiscent of the original theater’s lobby’s footprint, will create the transition between old and new and serve as a community gathering space open to the public at all times. The new theater will include front-of-house and back-of-house spaces and amenities that contemporary users and audiences expect and demand, from patron comfort features and exceptional sightlines to catwalks and state-of-the-art equipment. Inspiration for the exterior design of the new theater comes from the coral rock walls prevalent throughout the area and the lush vegetation canopy that is such a distinctive feature of Coconut Grove. Inside, remaining elements from the 1927 Kiehnel and Elliott movie house such as the solomonic columns, concrete grilles, fish fountains, cornice, and the proscenium arch will be displayed and integrated into the new theater, celebrating the significant history of the building.
A parking garage is proposed for the north side of the site where surface parking currently exists. The garage will serve the needs of the theater as well as nearby merchants and the Grove community. It will include residential liner buildings facing both Main Highway and the residential neighborhood to the west, providing the parking garage with people-friendly facades. A wide promenade adjacent to the parking garage structure will help create a campus-style ambiance and will provide community connectivity through the site.
The plan for the site is designed to restore the iconic historic front building to its 1927 glory, to return great theater to the historic home of theater in Coconut Grove in a new 300-seat theater that honors the past, and to create a hub for the community with its pedestrian-friendly spaces.
An update on the work of the design team will be shared with the public during a town meeting on October 19, 2017 at 6:00 PM at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium, located at 2901 West Flagler Street, followed by an opportunity for questions and answers.
Future project progress will be shared with the community through the Department’s website (miamidadearts.org). Information and opportunities for comment will also be available through social media as GableStage transitions to GroveStage in anticipation of moving to their new location at the Coconut Grove Playhouse.