Grove Isle: Seduction… or Attempted Seduction

Grove Isle New Club Facilities are presented

Grove Isle New Club House Presentation

At the request of the Developer—now the Club owner, an informational meeting was held for the Grove Isle Club membership about the future plans for the Club. If would appear that this was a work-around the Grove Isle Board so that the Developer’s associates had direct access to a subset of the residents.  Neither the Developer nor his real estate lawyers were in attendance.

Call to Order

Discussion was limited to the Grove Isle Club. All other discussions were “off limits.”  The general goal of this meeting was for the developer to “make nice” to the residents, with an attempt to attract their support for his project.  For the record, a description of the high points of the meeting follows but there was little of substance that relates to his progress on the overall plan.

Maintenance Issues

The developer has owned and operated the Grove Isle Club for approximately 1½ years, and the consensus has been that this club, dilapidated from the start, has only deteriorated further. Furthermore , the hotel, part of 4 Grove Isle, has also received poor reviews on Tripadvisor.  These recent external reviews speak poorly of the entire property, including the tennis courts, the spa, etc. The Grove Isle Board has requested improved maintenance, and the opening of this informational meeting was moderated by a lawyer representing the Club.  She stressed that the Developer was committed to bringing the current facilities up to normal standards.  A representative of the Club listed a number of items that have been either in the process of being repaired or have been fixed. Our understanding is that a significant amount of repairs remain outstanding.

Grove Isle Club

Grove Isle Club Members and Residents Listen

Timing of demolition of Club Facilities

The lawyer, who was representing the Developer, emphasized that the proposed demolition has not been approved and permitted by the city. She was not able to state when an application for demolition would be submitted.  She acknowledged that no demolition or construction could be initiated without the proper permitting.  She stated that the Grove Isle Board is being kept abreast of any developments.

New Club Facilities

The architects presented their plan for the new Grove Isle Club. It is four stories, 66 feet in height, and has parking located on the bottom floor—for a total of five floors.  The program includes a restaurant for 130 occupants, a bar, a card room, a spa, and a variety of other amenities.  There are two outdoor pools:  a family pool and a second adult pool.  This proposed Club would be compliant with Miami 21, and would be located on the position of the current spa and 2-3 tennis courts between Buildings 2 and 3, facing the marina.  (Please note that the Developer has asked the City of Miami to rezone the part of the property where the current hotel/restaurant/spa are located to allow for the construction of a residential condominium tower.)

Alternative club facilities during construction

During construction, Grove Isle Club members would have Social and Fitness privileges at the Biltmore Hotel. This hotel is located about 5½ miles from Grove Isle.   Please note that the Biltmore memberships are operated on an individual basis whereas Grove Club membership is on a residential unit basis (thus includes family and children).

Club dues during construction

For those who prefer not to retain their membership during the construction period, membership dues would be suspended. However, it was clear that membership in new club would be a requirement of residency on Grove Isle, as it is currently.

Update Club Rules after construction

Residents would still be required to be members of the Club. There would be some modernization of the rules.  There was no mention of potential changes in the cost of annual dues.

Q&A

During the question and answer period, the membership in attendance recognized this presentation for what it was: An attempt to win over the support of the Grove Isle residents, going around the Board, and to propose a beautiful, elegant new club to replace a poorly maintained existing club for which the residents of Grove Isle are required to pay approximately $1 million per year to belong.  Many comments from the audience emphasized the purpose of this meeting:  the seduction of the residents with this new facility, with the hope of distracting them from the real issue:  the presence, scope and location of the new proposed residential condominiums. The strategy appeared obvious to all members in attendance:  the new Grove Isle Club would be relocated for a marina view on the land currently occupied by some of the tennis courts, and the current location of the Club/hotel/pools would be reserved for as yet undefined new residential condominiums.  Some important issues were raised about the Club itself:  Could such an elegant club with high end facilities be supported by the closed membership of residents?  What will happen to the cost of dues in the future (it is highly unusual for a for-profit company to provide amenities for a condo association, particularly when membership is required)?  Some stated that this ultramodern glitzy facility, likened to a space ship by some, is completely out of character with the current buildings and property.

Comments

In all, the membership appeared angry and adversarial. The architects, to their credit, have tried to approach this design in a professional way.  The underlying issue was that they were being used by the Developer to sell his primary project—i.e. the plans for residential condominiums.  This project is still entangled in many legal obstacles.  Would the developer elect to build the new club facilities on the current footprint of the Club in the absence of permits for the new condominiums?  Surely not.

Overall, this was a sideshow in the continuing saga of the attempt to develop 4 Grove Isle. It is the belief of many that whether development of the island occurs will be based on legal issues, including the Settlement of 1977, current zoning laws (Miami 21) and market forces that may play a greater role as Miami luxury construction over-expands.  There continues to be little support from residents of Grove Isle for any further development.

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14 thoughts on “Grove Isle: Seduction… or Attempted Seduction

  1. […] First the Tower (18 stories); Second, the resized Tower (12 stories).  And now, a Third (perhaps not last…), the wrap-around five story residential condominiums and club. […]

  2. 75 says:

    40,000 plus brand new condos for sale priced between 2. &. 10 million dollars for sale in miami

  3. Tony M says:

    I am not at all clear on a few things from the presentation. They said they would tell us… and then didn’t

    1] Will we be paying the Developer more during the interim than the price the Biltmore charges normally?
    2] Do our resident children benefit from the membership? Or do we have to pay for separately for our kids to use the Biltmore with us?
    3] How high is the new club building? What floors in Building II and III will be impacted? Will it be level with floor 6?
    4] How will this club’s operation with its huge facilities be able to break even?
    5] If the Club cannot break even, how long will it take for the membership dues to increase and membership to opened to others off the island?
    Thanks
    Tony

    • Thank you for your comments and questions.
      We don’t think anything is really clear about this proposed project….about this clubhouse, or especially the surrounding glass and concrete condominiums which will follow.
      We recall a comment that the current proposed clubhouse will be 5 storeys and will reach at least the floor 6 on the current Grove Isle buildings.

      PGI

  4. Helen says:

    Not sure if residents are aware of two whopping assessments in the pipeline. This fight serms like fun, but wait to the legal bills come in. We cannot stop ALL development and should seek compromise. The planned Grove Isle improvements are going to subject the island to construction chaos as well.

    • Tony M says:

      Helen, compromise at whose greatest expense?

    • susan says:

      Gee, Helen, we thought you would have moved by now given your negative views on everything that PGI is trying to do to preserve our island and calling it “fun” and with your calls to let Avila have his way. Of course there will be construction noise if the rehab to some areas occurs, but nothing like new demolition and construction proposed by his plans. Please stop embarrassing yourself.

    • Simon says:

      The development that we are definitely not going to stop is the sculpture decks. You are obviously looking forward to both beached white whales to land on our north-eastern shore and mate. You should be aware that with buildings of this age, there will be special assessments. i recommend you sell if you don’t want to pay for any of it. What we cannot have, is risking our decks collapsing and having another massive project clogging the only entrance and exit to our homes.
      Besides the noise, etc. Logistically both cannot happen at the same time. The island at present is at full capacity. When it originally came up, it was empty and there was enough space to accommodate for materials and the limited traffic. Back then, there weren’t as many repairmen, employees, nurses, medical assistants, etc. Prepare yourself for paying sky high prices for an electrician who will sit for hours on our bridge trying to get in because Avila’s trucks are blocking OUR entrance. At this point Helen, we are in survival mode, how can you not see that??? We cannot postpone the sculpture deck work until your precious hotel and club go up. Do you actually live on the island? If you do, do you own??? Are you planning on purchasing a unit in Avila’s proposed building perhaps? What is your real take on all this? You just want to avoid spending on legal fees?

  5. 75 yr says:

    1981 1993 2007 2015 KA BOOM !!!!! goes the real estate market 75 new high priced condo s being built east of I 95 each time people were saying this time its different

  6. Tony M says:

    Thanks for the very helpful summary especially as I could not make it due to meetings. Let’s see what the Board says about Bob’s comment re. action against GIA LLC on Tuesday’s 6pm meeting (Building I). I will try to make it. TM

  7. Bob says:

    What is nice to see is that what was initially perceived by many,11 months ago, as primarily a building 3 problem, has correctly become a Grove Isle issue affecting all of us. We are all stakeholders in the future of Grove Isle and we will be more successful if we have common and united goals.

    Notwithstanding an increased involvement by the Board since last December when PGI first brought to their attention the Avila redevelopment plans that had been underway since January 2013, for the past 5 months the board and its attorney have taken no action regarding a) the law suit first filed in 2009 between GIA LLLP (formerly Wiener and now Avila) regarding the $1 million in annual dues, and b) the present policy that the GI residents pay for 100% of the costs for common area maintenance and capital improvements for infrastructure and the bridge, used by the hotel , restaurant and club. In March the appellate court remanded (sent back) the lower court decision (which supported the Weiner/Avila position) and gave clear direction to the lower court on how it should have addressed the issues in this case.

    As the plaintiff it is incumbent on Grove Isle to file a new action against GIA LLLC and this should have been filed by Grove Isle’s attorney in April. To date, nothing has been filed an there is no specific date for the filing. The amount of this claim is in excess of $10 Million and increasing by approximately $3000 per day, the amount of our monthly dues that is going directly into Mr. Avila’s pocket to help pay the interest on the $20 million mortgage he incurred when he purchased the hotel property. If there is enough support (and outrage) by the Grove Isle residents and enough pressure put on the board members to re-file this law suit, the board must act in the best interests of the Grove Isle residents an not expose itself again to claims of negligence. .

  8. Bob Wilkins says:

    Thanks for all the information you are providing. As a boat slip owner, do we have any “say” in any of this?

    Would we have access to a new club (as we do now) facilities? We now pay club dues. But, most slip owners (including me) have always been angry about this FORCED payment.

    REASON? Many of the slip owners, (like me) NEVER have the chance to use ANY of the CLUB facilities, that we PAY FOR. We do not live in the area, or have NO need to belong to the club.

    If you do not have info to respond to these thoughts & questions, could you provide an e-mail address of a person (of importance) that I could correspond to?

    Thanks so much, all my best, Robert Wilkins

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    • Bob, I would first ask your dock master, who works directly or indirectly for the developer. It is obvious that any long term construction directly in front of your marina would be very problematic. Your “slip owners” voices against this development are vital. Continue to monitor this Preserve Grove Isle site for the latest information.

  9. susan says:

    I was unable to attend the meeting. This is an excellent summary. Appreciate your great work on the web site.

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