Q: When is the Miami-Dade County/FIU/GableStage project scheduled to be completed?
A: The business plan (or land use plan) that is part of the lease approved by the State of Florida Cabinet, the FIU Board of Trustees and the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners stipulates that the project shall be finished by 2022; however, the County anticipates completing the project earlier for the FY2020-21 theater season.
The real deadline
Q: What are the project deadlines in the lease between the State and the County and FIU?
A: The County is on track to complete the project by 2022 which is the required completion date that encompasses the overall timeline stipulated and authorized in the Business Plan.
Here is what the lease requires:
“LESSEE (the County and FIU) shall… adhere to the timetable for the capital plan as set forth in the Business Plan.”
Here is what the Business Plan says (emphasis added):
“The preliminary timetable for this work is contingent on variables ranging from the time necessary for the variety of necessary governmental approvals (ranging from County contracts for architectural and construction services to municipal reviews for historic preservation, permitting and inspections) to unforeseen existing site conditions and weather factors. Typically, capital projects consist of the following phases (with broadly approximate time periods for each phase):
Competitive solicitation for and approval of architectural and engineering services (6 to 12 months);
Planning and design phase (18 to 24 months);
Competitive bidding for construction (6 to 12 months); and
Permitting, construction and commissioning – this depends on what the design phase generates for the project and the response from the selected contractor for how long construction will take; for example, work with an existing structure on the site, new construction and the integration of these elements all can impact the construction timeline (36 to 60 months).”
State of Florida Office of Inspector General (OIG) Audit
Q: What does the audit conducted by the Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General say about the Lease for the Coconut Grove Playhouse property?
A: In late 2017, the County was contacted by the Department of State’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) regarding their audit of the Lease #4721 for the Coconut Grove Playhouse property. Two rounds of questions from the OIG and timely responses from the County and FIU were exchanged between December 2017 and January 2018. The audit report was not provided to the County or FIU for review prior to its final issuance on March 12, 2018. The OIG audit report is available on the State’s website at: https://floridadep.gov/oig/internal-audit/documents/audit-lease-agreement-4721-miami-dade-county-and-florida-international.
In June 2017, the Department of Environmental Protection, the office that manages the Lease for the Playhouse property, submitted a letter to the County and FIU requesting a modification to the Lease based on findings in the OIG’s audit report. The County’s response, including the response and rebuttal to the OIG report, is accessible here.
The County and FIU maintain that we are in full compliance with the terms of the Lease.
Q: What hurdles are ahead for the project?
A: While many obstacles have been cleared to allow significant progress, many steps remain, including but not limited to the following:
- Addressing the action by the City of Miami Commission overturning their own HEPB's approval of the project;
- Finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with MPA regarding the terms of our partnership in developing the garage and related development;
- Obtaining State approval for the development of the garage and related development;
- Identifying a satisfactory developer/operator for the garage, residential and retail components;
- Regulatory reviews from various City of Miami review boards, including obtaining a Certificate of Appropriateness from the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board; and
- Successfully completing a competitive bid process to identify a capable contractor with experience building complex projects.
The project continues to progress after the City Commission’s recent action
Q: What is the impact of the December 14, 2017 action of the City Commission on the appeal that overturned the action of its own Historic and Environmental Preservation Board?
A: We continue moving forward, implementing the funded and County, FIU and State approved plan that is well underway (currently at the 50% construction document phase and beginning to undergo regulatory agency reviews) for returning great theater to Coconut Grove.
Please see The Miami Herald news report for an account of the City Commission’s action at http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article189927974.html
In summary, on a motion by Commissioner Ken Russell, the City of Miami Commission voted 3-to-2 to overturn the near unanimous vote of their own Historic and Environmental Preservation Board (HEPB). The HEPB’s positive vote in April 2017 was in support of the County’s submitted master plan concept for the Coconut Grove Playhouse. The conditions imposed by the City Commission can be viewed at http://miamifl.iqm2.com/Citizens/FileOpen.aspx?Type=15&ID=1687&Inline=True.
The County has filed an appeal to the action taken by the City Commission; the County’s Petition for Writ of Certiorari and all other subsequent actions regarding this case are publicly accessible through the court’s online docket, which may be accessed via https://www2.miami-dadeclerk.com/ocs/search.aspx. From that website, the documents in this case may be located by using the local case number search function and entering case number 2018-32-AP-01.
It is important to emphasize that the Playhouse project continues to move forward, now well into its final design phase and in obtaining the required regulatory approvals.
Public support for the County’s plan
Q: What do registered voters in Coconut Grove think of the County’s plan?
A: The Miami Herald published an article on February 5, 2018 that reported on the results of a public opinion survey of registered voters in Coconut Grove regarding the Coconut Grove Playhouse. By an almost 2 to 1 margin, voters support the County’s plan to build a 300-seat theater to be operated and programmed by GableStage.
You can see the Miami Herald article at http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article198416274.html
You can review the complete results of the survey commissioned by GableStage and conducted by Bendixen and Amandi International HERE.
Voters were particularly supportive of the County’s plan citing the following reasons:
• there will be less traffic in Coconut Grove;
• the project is fully funded;
• the plan is a thoughtfully developed project; and
• there is an expert team assembled implementing the work.
How to stay in touch with progress
Q: How can I stay in touch with progress on the project?
A: Sign up here for e-progress reports provided by the Department of Cultural Affairs or go to the Department’s web site at http://miamidadearts.org/coconut-grove-playhouse-updates where all prior progress reports can be seen. You can also receive regular project updates from GableStage on social media at:
These are the authoritative sources for facts, information and progress updates about the project and the ongoing work of the professional teams engaged in the return of great theater to the Grove and the Coconut Grove Playhouse.
The Facebook page “Save The Coconut Grove Playhouse” is not associated with the Miami-Dade County/FIU/Gablestage project in any way.