Q: When is the Miami-Dade County/FIU/GableStage project scheduled to be completed?
A: Given the significant progress made to date and assuming that there are no additional, unanticipated circumstances outside of the control of the County and FIU, the County continues to anticipate completing the project for the FY 2020-21 theater season.
The real deadline
Q: What are the project deadlines in the lease between the State and the County and FIU?
A: The 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 does not contain a deadline date and states that “County and FIU are committed to working quickly and responsibly to accomplishing the capital 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:
- Completing the final regulatory review by the City of Miami’s Historic and Environmental Preservation Board, scheduled for February 5, 2019;
- Submitting the completed bid package of architectural and engineering drawings and project specifications to the City of Miami for a building permit; and
- Successfully completing a competitive bid process to identify a capable contractor with experience building complex projects.
The project continues to progress with the Appellate Division of the 11th Circuit Court unanimously ruling in favor of the County
Q: What is the impact of the December 2018 unanimous ruling of the Appellate Division of the 11th Circuit Court in favor of the County?
A: The City’s HEPB’s approval of the master plan in April 2017 was appealed by two Coconut Grove residents. In December 2017, the City of Miami Commission overturned their HEPB’s decision and imposed additional requirements on the project. The County appealed this action and in December 2018, the Appellate Division of the 11th Circuit Court issued a unanimous ruling in favor of the County’s position that the appellants did not have standing to file the appeal and it overturned all of the City of Miami Commission’s conditions, including the requirement that the shell of the existing auditorium be maintained. This favorable ruling facilitates the County’s finalizing the municipal regulatory and permitting process as planned.
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: www.gablestage.org
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.