Frustrated Developer Attempts to Influence Grove Isle Residents

The Developer has emailed the residents of Grove Isle, bemoaning the fact that he has been unable to work with the Board of Directors of the Grove Isle Condominium Association and requesting collaboration with the Grove Isle residents.

Grove Isle Developer

A rare communication from the developer was sent to residents on Friday evening.

It has been two years to the week that the Developer quietly purchased 4 Grove Isle and he can show no tangible progress regarding his project(s) for Grove Isle.

In brief:

  • He claims to be concerned about residents’ legal costs while he retains legal teams to undermine residents’ rights
  • He claims support from a majority of residents for his plans (when the opposite is true)
  • He makes no mention of the past mediation procedure during which he repeatedly failed to answer the Grove Isle Board’s questions or his attempt to get the land rezoned while repeatedly misquoting the Board’s legal opinion
  • He believes that all works (Residents’ renovations and new development) should be done simultaneously without considering the logistical impossibility of this suggestion (where would we put all the trucks/building equipment?)
  • He attempts to blame his newly introduced parking restrictions on the Board by citing unaddressed safety concerns two whole weeks after the fact and after having attempted to have residents’ cars towed

In detail:

It is now two years to the week that the Developer purchased 4 Grove Isle, and no tangible progress has been made in the demolition of the existing hotel, spa and restaurant and the construction of ultra-luxury condominiums and new club that has been proposed in multiple versions.  He claims to be concerned about the legal expenses to which Grove Isle residents have been subjected.  He espouses that he has the legal right to develop his property and that the vast majority of Grove Isle residents are excited about the new development and a new club. This is in contradiction to the fact that a door-to-door survey with signatures proves that residents by a wide margin REJECT the new development.

Grove Isle Club

Grove Isle Club Members and Residents have long been waiting for answers

There is no mention of the negative messages that the Developer has transmitted to the Grove Isle residents and Board.  He initiated in secret an 18 story condominium tower based on his interpretation of the Settlement Agreement of 1977; during the mediation with the Condo Association initiated by Commissioner Sarnoff, the Developer secretly requested rezoning of a section of his parcel with the City of Miami so that he could construct a high-rise condominium tower (see post of 18 August 2014); most recently, he notified the Board late on a Friday afternoon that tow trucks would remove all cars from his property at 6 am on Monday—despite an easement that makes parking on his property available to the condo association residents.  The tow trucks arrived with a police escort, but an injunction blocked their activity (see post of 22-23 February 2015).  Is this punitive action what he means by “collaboration”?  Is this developer a credible partner with whom we can build our hopes and futures on Grove Isle?

Grove isle

New Grove Isle Club Empty Parking Regime

What the developer fails to acknowledge is that, absent the Settlement Agreement of 1977, he would indeed have the right to build residential structures compliant with the current zoning law, Miami 21Rest assured, if there were no legal barriers to the development of 4 Grove Isle, it would not matter to him at all whether the residents of Grove Isle were for, against or neutral.  Construction would have commenced long ago.  To date, our Board and our attorneys Weiss Serota have properly pointed out to the City of Miami that (1) the Developer has no vested rights to build a fourth 18 story tower—and hence his decision to move toward a horizontal Miami 21-compliant structure; and (2) the Developer cannot move the non-conforming Club to a new location because the property is zoned T-5R—for residential use—whereas the Club is for profit and serves the public, including those on Grove Isle.

It is not certain what the next step is, but messing with City requirements for parking on the island and calling for a united effort to turn the island into a construction site for multiple years represent a bizarre strategy.  In the interim, PGI is joined at the hip with the Board of Directors of the Grove Isle Condominium Association.

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20 thoughts on “Frustrated Developer Attempts to Influence Grove Isle Residents

  1. […] Developer is prohibited from closing or demolishing the existing Club Facilities until valid building permits […]

  2. Bob says:

    Listening to our attorney’s comments at the recent board meeting is very encouraging. Living part time on GI and currently not in Miami I appreciate the recording of the board meeting so that I can better understand the options. It would be great to record all board meetings so that those who cannot make the meetings may listen to what is going on.

    Is the 5 story proposed building on top of a raised parking garage or is it 5 stories from ground zero? What floor would it reach should it be built as it compares in height to building 3? If we continue to delay the developer from moving forward not only may he miss the market but continue to throw good money after bad thus costing significant added interest expense and legal with no end in sight.

    Avila cannot be trusted as he continues to antagonize the residents asking to now ” clear out the bicycle room in building 3″!! How childish? Enough already we should totally boycott the club and cease paying dues.

    As we band together and stay strong we will get through this as One.

  3. Bob says:

    Over one year ago I had suggested that we buyout the developer’s contract in order for our association to control whatever is to be done with 4 Grove Isle. In speaking with fellow residents I am convinced there are a few who would be willing to step forward, under certain circumstances, to finance the purchase. A better solution would be for the majority to vote to facilitate the purchase in its’ entirety and control our own destiny. A mortgage on the property might be the answer to fund the purchase. We will identify an operator who runs boutique hotel properties and is willing to invest in what already exists making it a first class hotel and spa destination once again. The right operator will give us a club that we are all proud of and not embarrassed to bring friends to or have parties.

    Avila does not represent himself or his company as a “good guy”. He is a greedy business man who has made idle promises to clean up the club and pool area yet never delivered on it. He has attempted to circumvent the board/association, sent emails/letters to all residents in an attempt to divide us. He now closes the parking lots in an attempt to “bully” us. How can he be trusted?

    The settlement agreement that we all signed, when purchasing our unit, clearly states that the club pool and restaurant MUST BE SITUATED SO THAT THEY HAVE AN OPEN BAY VIEW. The current proposal indicates that the club and restaurant will be situated overlooking the marina thus facing the mainland which is clearly not an open bay view. Naturally the best views on the island when selling his condos will go for substantially more money thus ignoring the settlement agreement. Mr. Avila does not care to play by the rules as he continues to do what he wants to. His meetings are nothing more than an attempt to “divide and conquer” in order to meet his objectives! He does not care about the turmoil his plan will cause during construction as he does not live on GI. He wants what he wants and that is all there is to it.

    Time is on our side for lots of reasons, stay strong my friends and stay unified.

    • Joao Crestana says:

      Bob
      Agree with you.

      Finding a hotel operator does not seem to be difficult. With that potential operator identified, we could search for a mortgage possibility and, to complement, finally get a list of supporters within the resident families.

      It is always tough to get a consensus, but maybe we could get by with a good majority of resident families. Would that be possible in face of the laws?

      Indeed, the Private Island could make our properties gain substancial additional value, provided we buy well and complete a good hotel partnership.

      An assumption for the hotel/club is to maintain footprint and volumes of current buildings or less, and substantially improve quality, continuing (resuming?) to provide us with good services that we will continue to pay for.

      • GuilligansGI says:

        Well, let me throw in my 2 cents. Keep the pool and tiki bar serviced by a smaller restaurant. Turn the restaurant/ball rooms/cardrooms into a 20 million dollar home with THE BEST VIEW IN MIAMI. Turn the hotel into 30 1 and 2 bedroom executive apartments @ 750 to 1mm each. All with city, bay or waterway views. Turn the spa/dockmaster into a 10 million dollar mansion with a city and waterway views. Throw in 2 boat slips for each mansion. Move the dockmaster office together with the pro shop. EVERYTHING is now private with no access from hotel guests or restaurant patrons. This will keep exactly the same footprint, look and feel. Not to mention the price per square foot In our units will go through the roof. The island stays competely private housing 2 mega million mansions. I heard our local pop star Pitbull loves that tip of the island. I think this should bring revenues of over 80 million at least. It will pay for itself.

        • Maria Camila P says:

          Guilligan, you’re the bomb! Best plan I’ve heard in a while!. Now, let’s convince the Howells to pony up the money.
          Yours truly,
          Ginger 😉 xoxoxoxo

        • Harry N says:

          I’m sure between 500 residents the condo apartments can be sold to friends and relatives in a short period of time. If we win the lawsuit, the proceeds can be used to purchase the land and have some left over. Lol. Seriously, this IS a good plan A. Everything seems to be either grandfathered in, provide minimal disruption, return on investment, increase property values and full privatization. Membership can still be made available for tennis and pool. I like it.

        • Joao Crestana says:

          Guilligans

          It works as well as the single buyout.

          Maybe this layout will be even better and the budget may turn out more positive.

          But the basic idea is to purchase and take the best of our new acquisition, improve quality of life for all resident families and increase property value, by a lot.

          Can we really do it, if a majority is for it?

          Do you believe someone of us will be able to turn this plan into reality? Serious…

          We are for a PRIVATE ISLAND!!

          • GuilligansGI says:

            As long as he can’t build and we can get the right price it is feasible. The value of the land for tax purposes is around 5 million. If he can’t build, he has to either keep running a dilapidated operation. Close everything and hold onto unsellable land or sell it to someone who may keep the current facilities or to the island residents. If the city courts and politicians stand by their word and stop giving exemptions this may be a possibility. At that point, Weiner will probably be hiding from a very pissed odd Avila.

            • Joao Crestana says:

              I hope you are right.
              Reading your statement as above, it seems easy to me, but there is a long way till the court decision is finalized and this alternative rises.
              In the meanwhile, the developer will also perform his dark dance.
              I would rather have those two guys interested in the two mansions now to help us achieve a new reality with big money …
              At least we can nurture the idea of a PRIVATE ISLAND.

  4. Theodore 55 says:

    Well said Luz Maria, I would be asking for my money back. This project, if it does, is going nowhere fast and is going to miss the rising market. As a matter of fact, it already has. I would not trust my money to a guy who is so desperate to make a buck that he actually resorts to these tactics.

    I hope he reads this or someone tells him he just galvanized our community. Thanks Mr. Avila, I can assure you over 90% of us residents oppose any project you may come up with. As a matter of fact, the idea of buying you out has been brought up several times. So no, we are not radical, divided nor are we broke.

    How can you possibly think your spacecraft of a club is appealing to anyone in Grove Isle? It looks out of place and looks like the Miami Arena, out of place. You should know most people will barely use something that big. Aren’t you aware we voted to change the Board just so we could keep you off the island? Are you really that blind? Do you think our Board should be willing to talk to you outside of mediation? Why have your people contact them and some residents on an individual basis? Why would you call our Board members liars? You don’t even keep up with your promises or your facilities.

    You really think we are going to save much money by clogging our streets and parking areas to help you get your project rolling at the same time as ours? You offered to repair our bridge? After your trucks mess them up? Thanks, that’s generous.

    I understand our attorneys have said IF you were allowed to build, it would have to be under Miami 21, which its not. Therefore you have asked the city for an exemption. I understand this last move was not brought up during mediation. You talk about good faith settlement offers?
    How do you know so much about us? Have you been talking to Helen and drinking her Kool-Aid?

    Let me sign off by saying I can’t wait for the City to enforce the law and hopefully you can pack up and leave the island for good.

    • Maria Camila P says:

      You forgot to say he owns 1/3 of the Island, which will be worthless to him if he can’t build.

  5. jvr925@aol.com says:

    Sent from my android device.

  6. Luz Maria Gutierrez says:

    The Developer did not take into consideration that Grove Isle is a well-established community. He has proven that he lacks intuition and does not know how to generate goodwill among residents. His investors must be annoyed at his lack of insight.

  7. Irene says:

    Well said. Well thought out and identifies the issues and situation. We need to stand together and not allow the developer to manipulate us or change the “facts” to suit his needs.

  8. Joao Crestana says:

    I am sure very little GI residents would be in favor of a project that besides being contrary to the Settement of 1977, will degrade our quality of life, by taking away a large percentage of our sustainable footprint and will obstruct the view of almost 25% of our neighbors.
    Besides, by discomposing our urban order and deteriorating our island, he is also diminishing the value of our property.
    So I congratulate all of you that are striving to keep this vulture away from hurting our quality of life.
    A question: if all of us were in consensus, could we purchase from him and turn our home into a Private Island? The $$$ figure is similar to that we will have to spend in the renovations; if the total price is twenty million, that means roughly another fifty thousand per unit and we get rid of the predator forever.

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