GROVE ISLE: One if by land and two if by sea redux

Although there remain many legal, environmental and political issues to be resolved before any development can proceed on Grove Isle, we believe the logistical issues of developing a large new project on the far side of a small island, already with over 500+ residential condominiums, quite daunting. To obtain detailed analysis and expert consideration from a third party removed from this discussion, we queried an experienced construction engineer in order to obtain a professional opinion. The comments made regard either the developer’s Plan A (the tower) or Plan B (five story horizontal development), both of roughly equivalent size. We specifically wished to learn the options that any contractor would have for the demolition phase, the construction phase, and the completion phase.

Grove Isle has long sought to protect its bridge from high weight loads

Grove Isle has long sought to protect its bridge from high weight loads

The challenge is that this is a large project proposed on a very tight, thin and long slice of Grove Isle. This island, connected to the mainland by a two lane causeway that is rated for 15 tons, is fully occupied and the primary residence for many families. Plan A is positioned on the exact opposite side of the island from the causeway entrance. The island is surrounded by Biscayne Bay, and the bay is about 2-4 feet deep within a half mile of the island perimeter except where dredging was performed to approximately eight feet many decades ago in the marina area.

fencing and demolition

Grove Isle demolition and construction threats

Preparation phase: During the preparation phase space for the trucks, supplies, workers’ parking will be reserved and secured. Presumably, chain linked fencing and lighting will be installed to minimize theft and vandalism of construction materials. There will be signage for resident traffic detours, placement of construction trailers, and the need to reserve a large area for outgoing debris and incoming building materials. Given that 4 Grove Isle covers about 40% of the circumference of the island, all of these activities will necessarily be in close proximity of 1, 2 and 3 Grove Isle.

Traffic Issue

Grove Isle Drive provides access to 500 family homes

Demolition phase: During the demolition phase, the existing hotel, club building, spa, roadways, parking structures and other related structures will be demolished, and the debris, asphalt, concrete, glass and metal removed. As a crude estimate, our consultant suggests that this will involve the removal off-island of about 15,000 tons of debris. Given the 15 ton limit of the causeway, approximately 1000 dump truck runs will be required if removal is by land. If removal is by sea, standard dump barges would be used. These barges, which hold about 2400 tons of debris, draw 14 feet of water. Six or seven barges would be required. However, nowhere in Biscayne Bay is the water depth 14 feet. Either a channel would need to be dredged from the ocean to approximately 16 feet deep or many more but much smaller barges that draw considerably less water could be used.  Nonetheless, there is currently no channel to the island to support even medium size barges. See the image of the government chart of Biscayne Bay below. Grove Isle is shown within the large red circle.  A number of the depth readings, also circled in red, are  indicated in feet.

Map showing depth of bay around Grove Isle

Sea grass and the limited depths of Biscayne Bay surround Grove Isle

Construction phase: In this phase, the 18 story tower (Plan A) or multiple lower sized buildings (Plan B) will be constructed on the development site. This involves the building of the foundation, preparation of elevator shafts, and assembly of the steel framework. Next, concrete is poured for floors, and exterior windows and facades installed. When tight to weather, the interior walls are built, and the plumbing, electrical and HVAC installed. Finally, interior walls are tiled or painted, appliances and cabinetry installed, and floors laid with wood, carpet or stone. Modern construction techniques usually perform many of these activities in parallel, from the lower floors to the top floors, in sequence. This entails the delivery to the island and to the construction site specifically of about 30,000 tons of materials, including cement, steel, glass, mechanicals, HVAC, etc. Again, from the analysis above, this will require over 2000 trailer trucks and cement trucks or many specialty barges to accomplish importation of these materials. Furthermore, new roads and parking areas will need to be built.

delivery traffic

The proposed project may involve thousands of journeys to move over 30,000 tons of material on to our island

Completion phase: There will be a “clean up and furnishings phase” where all the construction infrastructure will be removed and the luxury property prepared for sale. Many of these apartments will be custom designed by new owners working with their own group of decorators, contractors and subcontractors. The windows, glass walls, mechanicals, railings, paint and all the interior common furnishings are loaded at this phase. Depending on how well these new units sell, this period could be relatively short (six months) to multiple years. All new residents will need to move in and load their personal furniture and furnishings.

developer dredge biscayne bay

Grove Isle developer dredging threat to Grove Isle and Biscayne Bay

Duration: The duration of this development can be approximated using a construction “time line.” The estimate for a project of this scope, with its attendant logistical issues, is at best 2.5 to 3 years for preparation and building construction. This assumes NO legal or unexpected events, unforeseen environmental issues, and the absence of labor strikes. Custom design and modifications of each unit by their owner could take at least an additional year. If the developer were to obtain all permits necessary to begin construction in early 2016—one and a half years from now—the project would be completed by 2020. In the interim, much of the island would be a construction site. The effect on sales of existing condos is uncertain but there is no reason to believe that construction on this scale would enhance valuations. More likely, turnover of condos during this period would be decreased and price per square foot would diminish. After 2020, valuations become more difficult to predict.

Preserve Grove Isle

Note: All values and statements cited above are based on our opinions and estimates

Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

25 thoughts on “GROVE ISLE: One if by land and two if by sea redux

  1. Well done. Much great information. Will City of Miami elected officials and administrators carefully analyze all the facts? Are the developers writing checks to any elected officials or candidates? Are the Grove Isle residents reaching out to all their Grove neighbors?


  2. […] the issues of access to the island, damage to the causeway, storage of materials, etc will greatly impact not only Grove Isle but residents of North Grove and Coconut Grove.  See earlier post of 25 […]


  3. Helen says:

    This is a very thorough description of worst case projections. What about estimating the consequences and time line for the three building concrete restoration project. Be honest and let everyone know what is really in store. Also since the new owners also own the bridge and road woudn’t they have even more at stake in preserving them?


    • Fletcher says:

      A more pertinent question would be to ask…

      How will it ever be possible to simultaneously combine “the three building concrete restoration project” with the schemes proposed by this developer?


    • Biggis Piggis says:

      I agree about the concrete restoration projects we are about to undergo here Helen!
      The board has kept this pretty close to the vest.
      How long does it take to get bids+let the residents know what they will endure+owe for the project?

      The bridge ownership?
      I am not clear about ownership…But I do know WE pay to repair it!


      • Theodore 55 says:

        The projects that are about to take place concerning garages, decks have nothing to do with Avila’s project except that we will have way more congestion and construction due to the fact of running two projects simultaneously. It is not a money issue. Our projects must go on and we cannot afford NOT TO spend money in maintaining our properties. Regardless of whom owns the bridge, if it is broken or collapses, does it matter who fixes or pays for it? the damage is done. Worse case scenario is that we may not even be able to get out.

        Again, just because he own the property doesn’t mean he can build whatever he wants and scare us into building whatever benefits him the most. This is up to the City and not up to him or us. We can only voice our disapproval.

        Again, the repairs/upgrade to our building need to be done no matter what. Helen/Biggis, are you in favor of Avila’s new building but against our restoration?
        Any issues with restoration money, bids, etc need to be brought up to the board and not thrown into the redevelopment issue.

        I take personal offense of you calling PGI and your neighbors dishonest. The purpose of PGI is to stop redevelopment, NOT to get involved with the deck/garage/maintenance issue. If it wasn’t for this “dishonest” group, Avila would have already broken ground (probably bypassing current zoning laws).

        Don’t like your neighbors and the issues we face, please move out! Cash in on a bullish market.


      • Anonymous says:



    • Harry N. says:


      Now the problem is the buildings’ restoration??

      PGI is not responsible for budgets or timelines on those projects. All they are saying is that IF these two projects run simultaneously we will be facing a logistical disaster, among other things. So do you suggest we postpone giving our buildings required maintenance in order not to inconvenience Avila???

      You really don’t see anything wrong with Grove Isle 4???
      What good is it if the developer partially “owns” the bridge if it collapses. At that point its too late. Damage done.

      I agree with Theodore and others, if money is an issue for you and you don’t care about your neighbors, why do’t you sell and ca$h in??? Everyone will be happy, especially you! Why live among dishonest people?

      What do you believe is really in store?? do you know? Are you privy to some kind of information??


    • Anonymous says:

      Ms. Dixon,

      sell now that everything is overvalued. Rent for a while and when the developer starts the GI 4 project, and prices tank, then you can buy again and enjoy all the construction going on. Make sure you rent in bldg 3 east. You can enjoy your nice view of building 4 going up and enjoy the drive all the way down with the barricades, signs, etc. Maybe buy in building 2 and get a nice view of some nice 5 story apartments and a nice storage area for construction materials.

      Make sure you get those tires that don’t go flat, because all those nails and debris will wreak havoc on your wheels.



      • Maria Camila P. says:

        Dear Helen and Piggy, I don’t see the developer furnishing us with ANY kind of information except for nasty threats. Has he done an impact study? Will he share it with us? Is he concerned about possibly developing at the same time we are doing restorations? NOT A WORD, except for the fence.


    • susan says:

      Helen, your ignorance is embarrassing on nearly every aspect of what is going on at Grove Isle. All the facts are laid out on this web site. Take the time to read them before making yourself look even sillier. The residents pay all the maintenance and repair costs for the roadways and the bridge even though they are now owned by Avila. Are you a relative of his? That is the only justification I can see for your comments.


  4. Pamela Aarons says:

    You have convinced us – there is no good outcome for any construction. ps. Isn’t Biscayne Bay a national park preserve with environmental protection?


    • Grove Isle is situated in the South Biscayne Bay area. Grove Isle is also part of the Biscayne Bay Aquatic Preserve. Additionally, the Biscayne National Park borders South Biscayne Bay. Fortunately, there has been a new awakening about restoring the health of the Bay and the Park recently. The National Park Service, the State of Florida and the City of Miami, through many different organizations, are involved.

      Preserve Grove Isle is keenly interested in the health and protection of the very shallow and sensitive Biscayne Bay waters immediately surrounding our island. We must stay vigilant as there have been moves to undermine the protection of the bay. For example, see our earlier comments regarding the City of Miami’s recent passing Resolution 14-00422 which is not at all helpful. ( )

      Preserve Grove Isle


  5. Maria Camila P. says:

    It is unimaginable that they will not end up closing some, if not all the tennis courts, in order to store materials. Where will they park all the worker’s car? Bus them in? Really? the small parking spaces between buildings 2 and 3 will be shut down for the duration of the project. Just the weight of a cement truck alone may hurt the bridge. Imagine hundreds or thousand of them carrying a full load. If there is any damage, an “I’m sorry” from the developer will not fix the problem. Paying for the bridge reparation will NOT fix the problem. I also agree with a previous comment, if this project gets a green light, everything the developer presented will probably not end up being what they may actually build. For starters he may end up using tennis courts, not giving us access to a pool, restaurant, spa, etc. The issue with the parking for 65 new units and service personnel has not even been addressed. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t even shown in either of his presentations. If he starts demolishing, we are at the mercy of WHATEVER he wants to do. Then, we will really start to have legal issues trying to stop them from doing anything they want or fixing anything they have broken. This could be going on at the same time we may have to remodel OUR decks! I don’t want to get into this but I will mention it: what if we need a fire truck, paramedic or ambulance? Wait for your repairman to up his charges for having to wait in line to get into your island. Guys, this is not Brickell or mid-town, THIS IS A VERY SMALL, FULLY DEVELOPED ISLAND!!!!!


  6. Dewy says:

    This article needs to be spread around. This info will persuade people to not want this building to occur.


  7. Allan says:

    How many pilings will be needed for this ridiculous project????


  8. Allan says:

    Grove Isle residents should also consider year round there is a high volume of wind flow on the island and between the buildings. The incredible and unthinkable amount of dust from demolition as well as construction will be blown across the island and into balconies, apartments,pool decks and garages. Furthermore, the main roads of grove isle will be forever covered with dirt as well mud when it rains. Cars will be forever scratched and dirty. Lobby’s tracked with residual dirt from shoes . A few years of total inconvenience!!


    • Thomas says:

      This project may mean permanent inconvenience and safety issues with wind vortex turbulence on our deck and surrounding areas…


  9. Irene Warner says:

    Bravo! This is the kind of information that needs to be shared to all our city and county representatives and to our neighbors surrounding Grove Isle too. This is pertinent, informative and practical information that has concerned me and I am sure many others from the beginning – whether the project is 18 stories tall, 5 stories, one building or many buildings.


  10. says:

    great job Stan Newmark


Please leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: