Communicate

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419 thoughts on “Communicate

  1. 75 yr real estate expert says:

    A big thanks to PGI men & women!!! We owe you big time for the hundreds of hours of work

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  2. 75 yr real estate expert says:

    Prices have dropped. &. Will continue to go much lower

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I have kept a close eye on Grove Isle apartments being listed for sale. Not much has been listed recently and the 7 that have been listed have a minimum of 2 months in the market with prices dropping over 15% from original listing price. It seems like some owners probably were trying to cash in. The worrisome part is the lack of movement. I would like to hear from both realtors who specialize in Grove Isle, David Sporn and Maria Manso.

    David Sporn knows the market very well and has or had been a resident for almost 30 years. As a neighbor and broker that probably represented most of us, he should offer some advice or opinion regarding the outlook for Grove Isle as far as marketability and property values. He has made a very good living from Grove Isle sales and purchases and should offer his point of view. I know several owners who were also told by Mr. Sporn that “if” anything were to be built it would have to be limited to 5 stories and sit in the footprint of the existing restaurant, hotel, spa. Anything done would have to meet Mia 21 codes. Other bloggers have mentioned the same comments. I know Mr. Sporn is not responsible for this situation, but I would appreciate next time he attends the meetings that he speak as a knowledgeable “authority” on the real estate implications of this mess. Nobody benefits from his silence, except probably himself.

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  4. norma says:

    Maria – Susan – It seems that you and I and many others agree on one issue – that our buildings need to be updated and repaired. I also agree with you that the development issue and the update issue should be kept separate.

    Therefore as suggested by many, an assessment is warranted and unavoidable. Since purchasing here, I expected one as it was obvious a much needed upgrade was forthcoming.

    Please be clear that I am willing to pay my portion. My suggestion to let the matter be part of the negotiations with the developer was only to avoid what appears to be a great resentment and objection to any assessments by the majority of this community specially in light of the garage issues.

    Let us not wait till we resolve the development issue to start cleaning up our own buildings. I agree with you – let us keep it separate but let’s doing something about it ! .

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  5. Irene Warner says:

    We will be damned if we allow the developer to build whatever he wants ignoring and/or overriding Miami 21. The amenities can I believe be supplemented/modified/provided in a number of ways and I see this as very black and white – we will be damned if we rollover and let the developer have it his way. That is the bottom line and the reason we as a community must stand together. It has nothing to do whether we live in building 1, 2 or 3. We will all be severely and permanently injured/damaged/impaired should the developer be able to override Miami 21.

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    • Fernando says:

      I agree Irene. The legal fees spent on this issue, which are minimal, are not the fault of bldg3. How dare Norma imply that. Retaining legal counsel was caused by Avila’s sneaky way of doing business behind our back and trying to find someone to bend the rules for him. Current law doesn’t allow for that type of construction. That is why we have to challenge his claim of having a right to build his tower or the bldg clusters. What does she expect the association to do? Just let him do whatever he wants? The fees spent so far on this issue are minimal. It probably won’t take much more because it really depends on the city. Look at the large amount of legal fees we paid to get the club fee issue overturned. We’ll worth the money if you ask me.

      Question for the future is how could our neighbors in aviation and South Bayshore (across Monty’s) paint, fix and place glass window balconies and we haven’t been able to? Probably a special Assessment. I’m sure Davila, which I think owns , I believe, the SBS building across the street didn’t pay for it.

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    • susan says:

      Slightly different subject. We are all very critical of the Board’s very late arrival to the issue of the proposed development and rightfully so. Without the intervention of the Preserve Grove Isle group, demolition of the old Club would have already begun and Avila would have circumvented the zoning laws. I agree with those who think most of the Bord should be replaced. But has anyone made note of the fact that for the last several years, most of the Board members have run unopposed and in some cases, not even three names have been put forth from each building? Unless those of us who want to see an improvement in the way the Association is run step up to the plate and are willing to assume the responsibility, we can expect no better than what we currently have. Keep that in mind before the next election.

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    • Harry N. says:

      Great to hear your position clearly stated. I would strongly recommend that anyone trying to raise that issue again read Simon’s recent comments. I believe, and so do others, that he has made a very strong point regarding the validity of opposing development and any “negotiations”.

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  6. norma says:

    Long ago I suggested that we negotiate with the developer to get him to enhance and update our buildings, bridge and gate house in return for a negotiated settlement allowing him to build a scaled down tower and perhaps avoiding a sizable much needed assessment. I was told he does even keep up the hotel! Why would he help us? Well of course he does not keep up the Hotel – he is going to demolish it!

    Let’s be real – our buildings are dilapidated, aged and turning off potential buyers. We
    have needed to have a board that long ago assessed to do the simplest of things… PAINT !!!

    As you walk around the island or lay by the pool and look up, you see discoloration, cracks, rust, and peeling paint. When you cross this beautiful bay and enter our island- pass the guard gate – you see peeling paint, rust, leaking pipes, old driveways, and just simply aged unkept buildings.

    Building 3 East side can fight our way into debt with legal fees but construction is inedible. Those in Building 3 must of bought knowing of what was to come. (If not, call the attorney that represented you!). We are wasting an opportunity to negotiate for a better modernized attractive Grove Isle.

    Let’s get a negotiated trimmed project in return for a settlement and an upgrade to our buildings.

    Let’s top the legal fees. Let’s replace the Board !!!!

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    • Dear Norma,

      We don’t understand your logic.

      1. The developer is interested in maximizing his project and profit. Not to help us or reduce his profitability.

      2. The fact that we have not modernized our buildings over many years has nothing to do with the threat of this development. It is a separate issue.

      3. We will have to pay and support more in the future to upgrade modernize and protect the special location where we live….1,2 and 3 Grove Isle. This is our investment !

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    • Maria Camila P. says:

      Go ahead Norma, capitulate for a coat of paint!
      Don’t you read everything that is on this website?
      Aren’t you aware of the many issues a development this size will create?
      Are you still stuck on the building 3 issue? Really?
      I do agree with you that we need to fix, renovate and beautify the island. This is a Board problem. Please stop mixing both issues. We need to either hold the board responsible, change it’s members or get a special assesment. You seem to be looking to avoid an assesment and have someone else pay for it. What if Avila wouldn’t have come along? We would have had to pay for it.
      Just like you said, building 3 should’ve known…..you and everyone else shoul have known that after 30 years any condo needs repair and an assesments. Your bldg 3 neighbors were cool enough when their property values or price per square foot were benefiting the rest of the island. Now, you quickly turn against your neighbor. But keep in mind, this is far from being a done deal for Avila, why do you and Helen insist on throwing in the towel? Anything like what you propose requires a majority, remember you bought into a condominium with an association. Were you aware of these rules? If not, talk to YOUR lawyer.

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    • Simon says:

      Hi Norma,

      Regarding your statement:

      “Those in Building 3 must of bought knowing of what was to come”

      Thank you for presenting an opportunity to answer you with an emphatic “NO”

      Prior to our purchasing on Grove Isle, we completed a thorough due diligence process as we were alarmed by the wording in the condo documents relating to 4 Grove Isle. We concluded that there would always be a risk, however unlikely, that the owner of 4 Grove Isle could build over the hotel, restaurant, pool, spa and tennis courts. But we thought this would be a limited risk, as it would simply destroy the island.

      Several lawyers confirmed that the Miami21 planning regime was applicable and therefore we should not expect anything higher that 5 storeys to be built — perhaps with the loss of some/all of the the tennis courts. Other enquiries with a few local (and very large) real estate developers confirmed that they had been approached to buy 4 Grove Isle but found the price much too high (possibly because of the limitations imposed by Miami21).

      What you are really advocating here Norma, is that we forgo Miami21, somehow allow the developer to build his tower (by withholding objections) and in the process save some of the island’s amenities (such as tennis courts, club, spa etc). If this is the play, then it should be stated clearly. What we are actually saying is that the whole of the Island – minus the East side of Building 3 – prefers to bulldoze over the legal rights of the East side of Building 3 for their own convenience.

      That might well be a prerogative of the Board – it could be put to a vote among island residents. However, it would not stop the owners on the East side of Building 3 from suing the city, the developer (and perhaps the Board?) for an improper application of Miami21 – and let’s face it, they will probably win.

      Hence it is clear that the developer is trying to push us in catch 22 situation – we’ll be damned if we do (allow the tower and thus get sued) and we’ll be damned if we don’t (we’ll lose all our amenities).

      We share an asset worth more that $450MM – we need to be serious about protecting it. We should not be surprised that we have to pay to defend it or we’ll really risk finding it stolen from under our feet.

      ps. Please note that we do NOT live in Building 3!

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      • Theodore 55 says:

        SIMON SAYS the truth.;-)

        Seriously, he does. We were told that IF anyone were to build it could not be higher than what is already there. We are also not in bldg 3 but don’t want to be living in theiddle of this construction and lose the liquidity and value of our property. The board and association have to hire legal counsel and make sure the correct law is implemented. They are not here to negotiate but to look after the whole island and its residents interest which are property values,marketability and lifestyle. I agree they must also concern themselves with fixing our buildings. That, as has been stated. Does not belong in this discussion.

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        • Harry N. says:

          Its not much about fees, views. Etc. But it is all about doing it legally!!! Unfortunately the developer thinks he can ignore the law and that requires us to seek legal advise. Dollar to a donut he will not keep his “promises” if they cost him or conflict with his interests.He has shown he is an untrusty business person. At minimum a bully with a huge ego.kiss all our amenities goodbye. Even the tennis courts. Simon has a clear understanding and comments regarding the issue of the developer’s rights and our rights. It will take a HUGE deviation from current zoning laws, etc for Avila to get his approval for the tower. Probably the smaller buildings too.

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  7. Irene Warner says:

    Thank you Mr/Ms./Mrs. Anonymous – well said and correct!

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  8. Irene Warner says:

    while our own facilities may need some additional upkeep,we cannot address and maintain these until and unless we know what Avilacan and will be permitted to do with 4 Grove Isle.we cannot put the cart before the horse and weekend not throw out red herrings to get in the way of the most significant and most impactful issue-4 Grove Isle.any exterior work we try to do will only be destroyed with any demolition and or new construction on the island. First things first.

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  9. norma says:

    I wish we would invest our energy in getting the developer to upgrade and modernize the three towers. Our community looks outdated, weathered and in needed of modernization. Let’s get the developer on board to upgrade the way we look !!!

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    • Thank you for your comment.

      Modernizing the current 3 buildings is an issue to direct to our Board of Directors. (1, 2, 3 Grove Isle)

      It seems that the developer is not upgrading or even maintaining the structures and amenities which are his responsibility. (4 Grove Isle)

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    • Anonymous says:

      Norma, with all due respect, what makes you think he will upgrade our towers if he doesn’t even keep HIS OWN property. His facilities are disgusting. Seriously. Do you want to trade our up keeping for his new development? really? You think he will do it? He may promise you the world, he won’t deliver. Our problem is a board problem and if they don’t want to fix it, lets kick them out. What if there wasn’t a developer? would you hold our board accountable? what if he can’t build? what do we do? The reason why we are not modernized is because most people don’t want to use their own money to upgrade. There needs to be a special assessment. These buildings are almost 40 years old. We can’t expect miracles. Do we keep on “selling out the island” in order to keep our properties? I would much rather not have Avila the sneaky troll anywhere close to us and live in old looking buildings. As a worse case scenario, whoever doesn’t pay, gets a lien.

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      • Irene Warner says:

        The focus is Avila and Grove Isle 4. The 3 condo buildings are our responsibilities and let us please focus on the elephant in the room – Avila and 4 Grove Isle for now. The rest is just commentary.

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        • susan says:

          Irene is spot on with her observations. Any deficiencies with Grove Isle 1,2, and 3 are minor by comparison to the threat of major construction on the island. Let’s keep focused on that threat.

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          • Webster says:

            I agree with you both that we should focus on stopping any further development by Avila’s group. Still, the issue raised about the board capitulating in lieu of a coat of paint for buildings 1.2 &3 is something that should worry us all. Let’s just make sure we stay informed regarding any board/developer meetings. I know the proposal is not on the table but I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.

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  10. Paula says:

    Message for the Board:

    Regarding some of the items that need to be repaired are in the gym and ladies’ locker room & showers, specifically:

    1. The steam room in the ladies locker room has been broken for over ONE YEAR.

    2. The walls in the showers need to be repaired and painted.

    3. The TV set has been missing from one of the upright bicycles in the gym for over TWO YEARS.

    4. There is a loud noise when this bicycle (with no TV) is being used, so much so that you have to turn the sound up on the TV if you are using the other machines (treadmill or elliptical) when this bicycle is being used.

    5. High noise on the elliptical machines when being used.

    6. Sound on some of the TV sets does not work; the middle treadmill TV sound has not worked for over 3 months.

    7. The remote control for the large TV in the corner of the room has been missing (?) for over SIX MONTHS.

    Please add these concerns to, I am sure, already long list you have.

    Thank you very much.

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    • Yes, these are yet more examples of the developer’s neglect of his property which continues to negatively impact the residents of Grove Isle.

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    • Mac II says:

      We should make sure that the Board knows all the long standing issues at the Club. We have paid considerable amounts to have quality facilities — and too many things have been left unaddressed for too many years. A hotel guest picked up on some of issues on a review site re. the pool area a while ago …. I am sure there are many other issues that have been ‘forgotten’…

      http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g34438-d84993-r208075073-The_Grove_Isle_Hotel_Spa-Miami_Florida.html#UR208075073

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    • AL LEON says:

      I AGREE WITH PAULA AND ADD TO THE LIST’
      1. THE WHOLE AREA BETWEEN BLDGS 1 AND 2 INCLUDING THE POOL AREA IS IN DESPARATE NEED OF A FACELIFT. CRACKED CONCRETE EVERYWHERE. OLD PLANTS NEED REPLACEDMENT WITH YOUNGER FLOWERING ONES.
      2 THE 3 BUILDINGS NEED PAINTING.
      3 THE TERRACES NEED PAINTING AND MAJOR REPAIRS, SINCE THERE IS LOTS OF CORROSION OF THE FASTNERS HOLDING THE RAILINGS TOGETHER. THIS IS A MAJOR SAFETY ISSUE.
      4.THE WALKING PATHS HAVE MANY CRACKS AND NEED REPAIRS
      5 THE HALLS NEED BRIGHTER LIGHTING, WALL PAPER, AND NEW CARPETING
      HOW CAN WE CRITICISE THE HOTEL AND CLUB FOR POOR UPKEEP OF THEIR FACILITIES WHEN WE ARE JUST AS GUILTY FOR NEGLECTING OUR OWN. THEIR STANDARDS ARE ON A PAR WITH OURS, POOR AND GETTING WORSE. WE NEED TO START FIXING UP OUR OWN HOUSE. THERE ARE MANY PROJECTS THAT NEED TO BE DONE. WE SHOULD BE DOING SEVERAL AT A TIME, NOT DRAGGING THEM OUT ONE AT A TIME. THEY SHOULD BE FAST TRACKED, NOT SLOW TRACKED THE WAY IT HAS BEEN DONE TO NOW, OTHERWISE THINGS WILL DECAY FASTER AND THE EMERGENCY REPAIR LIST WILL OVERTAKE US.
      I AM AFRAID TO SAY IT, BUT TO ACCOMPLISH WHAT IS NEEDED, SIGNIFICANT FUNDS WILL BE REQUIRED. HOWEVER IF PRESERVING GROVE ISLE IS TRULY THE MISSION, WE NEED TO TAKE CARE OF OUR PROPERTY BESIDES FIGHTING DEVELOPMENT ON OUR ISLAND. WE NEED TO SPEND THE MONEY TO BRING OUR BUILDINGS UP TO WHERE THEY SHOULD BE. THIS IS ONE WAY TO PRESERVE OUR ASSET THAT WE HAVE FULL CONTROL OF.

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      • Anonymous says:

        To summarize, the laundry list of Avila’s failures to upkeep his properties probably does not belong in this blog. Any fixing of our buildings (1,2 & 3) are our responsibility. We cannot expect Avila to fix OUR buildings, much less try to capitulate and negotiate for a paint job!

        Whatever we do with our buildings will require time and money. People don’t want to volunteer or pay. Lastly and most importantly, all of this is minor compared to the threat of a new development. Nothing should be done until this problem is solved.

        We need to stay on top of the $10MM that may be coming our way. By now we should have heard from the board.

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  11. Theodore 55 says:

    Regarding last week’s Board letter I am very concerned about Mr. Avila’s request for a fencing permit. I doubt he will close the restaurant or hotel. At this point he doesn’t have an approval to build anything. I don’t even think he has a real layout/building plans of what he plans to build. And if he does it will not look like what has been presented to us (parking?). All I can conclude is that he is trying to gain leverage of some sort or is simply trying to annoy us even more.

    I would like to take this opportunity to remind all of us to keep sending letters to our city officials and to take a couple of minutes and read over all the comments that have been posted on this site. Become reacquainted with the issues and concerns we have expressed. We cannot afford to lose momentum or commitment to our cause. We have several projects that are going to happen in the medium term at grove isle. Any kind of project or redevelopment by Mr. Avila, will throw the Island into a complete chaos.

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  12. Irene Warner says:

    Yes collaboration and cooperation with our neighbors show community strength is very necessary and welcomed.

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  13. Fernando says:

    Dear Susan and Irene, both your comments are clear and to the point. You have laid it out in a way that should help Helen get a better understanding for what the development threat really is, what the developer has done under our noses, the fact that its not a done deal as of yet, the fact that this is a legal matter that will not go away by capitulating and finally that we work better and more efficiently as a community. I completely agree with your opinions. Thanks.

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  14. Helen Dixon says:

    Dear Grove Isle Neighbors,
    The shrill voices are deafening. Many of us are weary of the mob mentality taken in the name of self righteousness while using dishonesty to mask greed. The rest of us are going to get blocked with Miami 21 thanks to our neighbors on the east side of building three.
    This tranquil island is not going to be tranquil for long and the proposed building four has nothing to do with it. The board has not emphasized with residents the financial impact of mounting legal fees, the 40 year recertification construction program, the renovation of the concrete decks and the widening of South Bayshore Drive.
    If you like special assessments and bloating budgets then Grove Isle will be the place to live for the next five years.
    One cannot blame the residents of building three whose clear view of the bay will be blocked and one can understand their inner turmoil. But they purchased overlooking someone else’s property. Both sides have rights, so lets try and understand each other.
    Helen

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    • Harry N. says:

      Dear Helen, where to start…. ”. Hmmmmmm. The loud shrill voices are probably in your head. We would definitely appreciate if the “many of us” would speak up and voice their concerns. You are the only brave soul to have done so as far as I can tell. I RESENT you calling our concerns and attempts to preserve grove isle a “MOB MENTALITY DISHONEST AND GREEDY”. You say that “the rest of us don’t want to be blocked are going to get blocked with Miami 21”. That is exactly your argument against building 3 residents. The law is the law and we will have to live with whatever the City approves. Unfortunately it is a legal matter. Which takes us into our next point. Again, you seemed concerned about legal fees. Don’t worry we have a budget for these type of legal matters. As much as we don’t like to spend money, over half the island has signed a petition to stop this development. We “DON’T like special assessments and bloating budgets”, so AGAIN your remarks are truly uncalled for. You sarcastically “thank residents of bldg 3” for that. Why don’t you just sell, pack up and leave. You are really the kind of stubborn, selfish, divisive neighbor we don’t need at a time like this.

      Residents from building 3 did not “purchase overlooking someone else’s property”. We purchased a bay view overlooking a hotel and pool. I’ll make the same argument for you and your “many of us”. You also purchased overlooking “someone else’s property” and may have to live with Miami 21. That is why we oppose ANY development on the Island.

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      • Fernando says:

        WELL SAID HARRY!

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      • Irene W says:

        The concerns I believe most Grove Isle residents have may of course include the blockage of view for our neighbors in Building 3 BUT it also has to do with the major and significant demolition and construction that we will have to live with for several years at a minimum and how that will impact our daily lives, intrude upon our right to live in a neighborhood of security and safety (where and how are all those potential construction workers going to park, eat, take bathroom breaks, rest breaks, etc. etc.???). I do not see any mob mentality in the PGI efforts and find support and cooperation in efforts to maintain, retain, and work for the good of all of us living on Grove Isle Condos. Yes, there are many legal issues to deal with and I applaud PGI and the efforts to work towards the betterment, continuation of a quality life on the island and making the Board of the association accountable.

        And a special note to Helen – No one likes or wants special assessments etc. but capitulating to a greedy developer is not the answer nor the action to take.

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    • susan says:

      Helen,
      If you would read the Memorandum of Law submitted by the GI attorneys, you would realize that it is very questionable whether Avila has any rights to build anything at Grove Isle. Also read the 1977 Stipulated Settlement Agreement which laid out what could be built which is what was built. Avila tried to sneak something by a deputy City attorney, which fortunately, a Preserve Grove Isle member discovered. So, before you get out your megaphone again and castigate the residents who are trying to keep the current pleasant lifestyle, become better educated as to the facts. As Harry said, nothing prevents you from leaving the Island if you find the atmosphere so divisive, but you are definitely a lonely voice with your opinion.,
      Susan

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    • Anatamous says:

      Helen, why would you like there to be a fourth building?

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  15. Maria Camila P. says:

    Unfortunately, Edgar Lewis, chairman of our association, declined PGI’s request to attend next week’s mediation meeting. I’ll let everyone draw their own conclusions. I hope most of our fellow residents wake up from this state of apathy towards any Grove Isle projects. Maybe, as residents we should start concentrating and demanding that Mr. Lewis either honor our requests or resigns from the Board. At this point I believe we cannot afford to keep complaining about their lack of action, communication, representation, transparency. We must start by DEMANDING this information on a bi-weekly basis. We need to know everything that has and will transpire between our board and the developer. We need to know exactly what position the board has taken towards this redevelopment threat. Which argument or stand their are using to represent the residents of Grove Isle.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Fernando says:

    I just want to be the one to post the 200th comment ;-). Thank you all for contributing.

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  17. Irene Warner says:

    Does anyone know the location where this mediation meeting is to take place? I suggest anyone participating with PGI and able to attend the meeting should go. If we sit by passively while the meeting takes place we have waived our ability to give insight to GIBoard etc. If PGI representatives are barred from attending and observing the mediation this would put the entire neighborhood and community on notice as to what underhanded activities are taking place.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I suggest if anyone from PGI can call Edgar directly to do so right away. We need to get an answer as to whether or not PGI may attend the mediation meeting. We also need to know if residents will be informed as to what, if any, were the issues the Board brought up. In other words, a summary or minutes from the meeting. I’m not sure if the Board is ignoring emails, etc. But, at a minimum, Edgar needs to come to the phone and answer or explain.

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      • Theodore 55 says:

        We have only been living here for close to six years. Up until December, we were not aware that we even had an active Board. With all due respect to the members, your reaction to this threat has been pathetic. Except maybe for when Andrew struck, there hasn’t been a more important and engaging issue than the proposed development. As it is, I hold everyone on the Board accountable for this mess.I know you guys volunteer for this and it is much appreciated, but I can tell you that you fell asleep at the wheel and drove us into this ditch. I am not trying to divide the island’s residents, on the contrary. I feel that your handling of this issue has created so much stress and loss of confidence that you have managed to antagonize everyone. Edgar, at the very least the Board should consider term limits. You’re lack of leadership and problem solving skills is painfully obvious. The least you can do is to faithfully represent the residents interest and hopefully not your own. There is no excuse for leaving us hanging like this. Shame on you.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Irene warner says:

    Sarnoff has a history of siding with developers. Why? Again I reiterate PGI must at a minimum have an observer at any and all meetings. We must all continue to also write and call all our local elected officials city and county. This is larger than anything Sarnoff should have oversight. The board should welcome observers especially those who will be specifically impacted.

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    • Maria Camila P. says:

      Does anyone feel it is necessary to involve both Mayor’s, Mr. Regalado and Mr. Gimenez early on? It seems that Mr. Sarnoff may be more developer friendly and is not facing a reelection, therefore he may not feel the urgent need to answer to his constituents. He probably will go into private practice. His future interests may be elsewhere.

      Lets make sure we don’t get any ugly surprises and then have to go back and blame it on Sarnoff or Avila’s influence when we had plenty of time and resources to do something about it early on. The more people watching this process and the less political influence Avila has, the better for all of Grove Isle residents. This process has to be closely watched and kept in the open. Having all the time in the world on our side doesn’t mean something or someone may not happen or appear and change everything right under our noses. It happened once!

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      • Bob says:

        Maria (and others),
        First I can assure you that Avila makes political contributions to a variety of Miami politicians which would include not only Sarnoff but to Regalado as well. So running from one fox in the hen house to another fox should not give you any comfort.

        Second, if you go to Wikipedia and type in Mediation Hearing Rules, if you were not concerned before you should be after reading Wikipedia. Two provisions in Wikipedia’s summary of Mediation should be noted. First, under “Confidentiality” it says nobody but the parties to the dispute and the mediators know what happened at a mediation hearing. Therefore, if you think that the GI Board members will attend one or more Mediation hearings and then keep you and PGI informed of what happened at the meetings you are mistaken. The GI Board will say “sorry, we can not talk about what happened at any mediation meeting until the mediation process is over”. If you think you are in the dark now because the GI Board is reluctant to share information, just wait until the mediation hearings begin. The second notable provision in Wikipedia is that mediation assumes there is a mutuality of interest where the parties are ready to work together toward a resolution and need help from the mediator to get them through to a conclusion that in general was not concluded through some court process. From PGI’s perspective (and I believe the majority of the residents’ viewpoint, I don’t believe this is accurate. I have heard through some sources that the GI Board members attending the mediation hearing on June 2 expect it to be one meeting. I will give odds that it is only the first meeting unless the GI Board makes it clear from the first minute of the mediation that they do not intend to attend more that this one meeting and are attending this one meeting at the request of their lawyers. I don’t believe the GI Board is strong willed enough to take this position. For the above reasons, PGI must be included in the mediation hearings.

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  19. Alberto P. MBA says:

    ” I understand that Alan Goldfarb has sent Edgar Lewis and the GI board a request to be included in the Mediation Hearing scheduled for June 2. My understanding the GI board has not responded to this request. Given our concerns about the GI board’s vigilance , pro active approach and limited communication with the GI residents about the Avila re-development proposal, we should all want to have PGI representation at all mediation hearings to make it clear to Councilman Sarnoff and Mr. Avila that any mediation meetings at this time are inappropriate and premature. The City of Miami needs to recognize its responsibility and obligation to address our attorney’s memorandum of Law submitted more than a month ago. It is clear Sarnoff is trying hard to circumvent the law and using mediation to accomplish Avila’s goal. Why is Sarnoff inserting himself in this matter to assist Avila? If you agree that the GI Board should support a PGI member to attend the mediation hearing, please post a comment and send emails to Edgar Lewis and to Mark Sarnoff expressing your position o n the mediation hearing(s). Is the Miami Herald covering this mediation hearing and should we give them our perspective both before and after the hearing?”

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    • Fernando says:

      I believe GI must include a PGI member in all it’s meetings regarding anything to do with the Development. I am also surprised by the fact that the Board hasn’t mentioned PGI attending the mediation meeting. But Albert raises several good points:

      Is Mr. Sarnoff following protocol by calling for this meeting? Why is the city holding back on their response to the memorandum until after the meeting? The law is the law and zoning code is zoning code, what is there to mediate at this point?

      Why don’t we extend an invitation to Mr. Sarnoff to come and talk to the Board and PGI? No need to open it to EVERYONE else (wink..wink). I would personally love to hear where he stands on this issue since his name is the one that seems to pop out a lot when talking about this and other major construction projects.

      I see other sites such as coconut grove grapevine are giving this matter some exposure, maybe the Miami Herald or Miami New Times should start looking into this issue quickly.

      Like

    • Robert Wilder says:

      Fernando & Alberto,

      Your comments are very much on point. Sarnoff, as powerful and influential as he may be, does not have the authority, nor does the mediator or the City Council, to mediate (read circumvent the law) and that is exactly what they are attempting to do. Our attorney W&S has been pressured by the city to recommending the GI board attend the mediation; however the GI board should have declined the offer to meet at this time. Just because the attorney recommends a course of action , it does not require it be done. The review process for all development proposals in Miami must follow the specific procedures set forth in the currently applicable zoning ordinance and that Ordinance is Miami 21. If the Avila development proposal follows the review process under Miami 21, that doesn’t mean we will ultimately win our battle with Avila or that we will end up with a series of 5 story buildings. What the process set forth under Miami 21 says is that any development proposal in Miami must be reviewed in an open , transparent process with specific steps including public hearings and public involvement, and that is what Avila wants to circumvent. Sarnoff is smart enough to understand that so “shame on him” for trying to circumvent it.
      Regarding the mediator and the GI board’s participation, my limited understanding is that the GI board has no game plan except attending the meeting. This is like a chess match and we should not be sending checkers players who are just there to “listen”. The board should be discussing what Avila will say, what the mediator will say and how they want to respond rather than “just attending” and not thinking about the probable questions and how to answer the probable questions. PGI could help in this regard but PGI’s help seems never to be requested.

      Like

  20. Irene warner says:

    I also want to know if Sarnoff or any of his staff will be attending and if so, we must definitely have a place at the table. This initial attempt was obviously supposed to be an inside deal and if PGI is not involved then we have no openess and certainly no appropriate representation from our elected official. At least Sarnoff will be termed out.

    Like

    • Bob says:

      Neither Sarnoff nor his staff will be attending the mediation hearings. He’s too clever to attend, he is not a party “with standing”, and he can be more effective on Avila’s behalf behind the scenes. He’s done what he set out to do: he orchestrated the mediation; he put pressure on our attorney to recommend the GI Board attend, and he got the GI board to “drink the cool aid” by agreeing to attend. He’s done a great job – just not a great job for the Grove Isle residents.

      Like

  21. Irene warner says:

    I believe that PGI be able to have at least a representative who is observer at all the upcoming meetings.

    We deserve the option of having a representative there to be able to take notes and keep a contemporaneous record of the discussions.

    Like

    • susan says:

      Memo to all who think PGI should be included in the mediation hearing. Send an email to Edgar Lewis at edlew1@comcast.net and tell him. If he still resists, his reign on the Board might be over come the next election.

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        I think this will definetely be his last term. Keep Tim and Tom ( I like the way it sounds). They listen to their neighbors and are good people. We can’t wait for next election. The damage may have already been done. We need to hold him accountable if he doesn’t represent more than 1/2 the residents which have already signed the petition. As a matter of fact, I propose he doesn’t assist to the meeting. There has to be other members which will not compromise our interests. Any ideas? Edgar, I hope you either read this or have someone read it to you: It seems you have your own agenda and it doesn’t include stopping this project. By the way, if you are not reading this, what are you doing? How do you know what we want?

        Like

  22. Alberto P. MBA says:

    I just read the latest update regarding the pending mediation meeting. Two things should strike us as odd: first, why can’t the Board bring themselves to say our unanimous concern is to stop any new development? Does a laundry list of concerns exist that they need to bring up during the first meeting? Shouldn’t they insist on a pronouncement from the City before they consider a number of other mediation meetings?

    Second and most importantly is the fact that PGI is not mentioned in the update. This is my most immediate concern. After reading this letter I must request Edgar, the Chairman of our Board, to include a representative from PGI. It is the only way to guarantee all our interests and concerns are represented and protected at the first meeting. We can ill afford not to get this point across from the very BEGINNING. If PGI is not invited to attend, I must request an association meeting in which we clearly state to the board the importance of including PGI and respectfully ask for Edgar’s resignation from any further participation on the Board.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. It was the original members of PGI who blew this open and have worked diligently in setting up the website, collecting signatures and most importantly giving us all the tools needed to voice our opposition to politicians and City officials. There has to be a way to include one or two members of PGI, make them temporary Board members or something like that. The Board must welcome any help it can get during these difficult times. We all know PGI is composed of many willing and able professionals with the know-how needed to overcome any obstacles from the developers, city employees or politicians. I am also aware many on the Board share our views. The omissions regarding PGI must have surely been an oversight.

      Anonymous.

      Like

    • susan says:

      Send this directly to Edgar via email. Who knows if he even looks at this site and is aware of the ground swell to include PGI at the mediation hearing. It is absolutely necessary that they have a representative present since they did all the leg work while the Board sat idly by and seemed to want to let Avila’s project slip through. Still can’t figure out why.

      Like

  23. MT says:

    We Totally Agree!!
    We would like to join to save Grove Isle from this disaster!
    We are on the Board of Grove Harbour Condo on South Bayshore Lane in front of a Grove Isle. We appreciate what you are doing!
    Take care
    Martin & Tanagra

    Like

    • Martin & Tanagra

      Thanks for your support with this critical Grove Isle and Neighborhood issue. Please contact your condo neighbors on both sides since we all share this major challenge to protect our tropical North Grove neighborhood. You may even consider creating a neighbors “front or coalition” to also voice your concerns.

      We are working the legal aspects currently and will advise as we make progress. The amount of support here is very reassuring.

      We must win here….since there is NO way back from a failure. Please keep monitoring this Preserve Grove Isle web site for future updates.

      Preserve Grove Isle (PGI)

      Like

  24. Harry N says:

    Needless to say, by considering the implications any development on behalf of Avila’s group may have on the island it doesn’t imply in ANY way that he will move forward or get any kind of approval. We just have to make sure any investment of this size on our behalf takes into consideration any type of impact of two simultaneous projects on the island.

    Like

  25. Anonymous says:

    Back in beautiful Grove Isle. Spent the day in the club’s beach yesterday and actually scheduled a massage at the spa. It just doesn’t get any better than this. Nice weather, sun, beautiful skies water views and ocean breezes. I heard that we are looking at an expensive project (upwards of $5MM) involving the reconstruction/remodeling of the sculpture decks. Although it seems to be needed because of leakage into the garages, I would like for the Board to consider postponing it until after we have the Grove Isle 4 redevelopment issue resolved. If there is any kind of development on the island at the same time as the reconstruction of the decks, it will just add to the bridge congestion, noise and it may significantly weaken any kind of structural work done over our garages. I would like to hear everyone’s comments regarding this important issue.

    Like

    • AL LEON says:

      THIS PROJECT IS LONG OVER DUE. THE POOL, POOL AREA AND THE SURROUNDING DECKS AND PLANTS ARE IN TERRIBLE SHAPE AND DETERIORATING. NEEDS TO BE DONE ASAP, NOT DELAYED.

      Like

    • Rich says:

      There is a risk that the City will shutdown the garages as they could be considered unsafe. We were told at a board meeting that this risk was no longer considered acceptable.

      Nevertheless the residents and Board should consider the following:

      +accelerate the timing of the renovation of Pool 1 to limit the risk that we will be left with only one swimming pool on the island. The developer’s proposed project may mean that Pool 3 is no longer an option (for at least two years). The recent closure of both Pool 2 (repair) and Pool 3 (cleaning after college party) caused issues.

      +already assess the transport and environmental implications of having the deck works happen at the same time as the developer’s demolition/construction activities. It may well be that simultaneous works with 500 families living on the island is completely impractical and unsafe.

      +have procedures and contingencies in place regarding possible damage to the new decks and greenery from any new construction proposed by the developer.

      +design flexibility regarding Building 3’s deck. Some changes may be needed to block unwanted views of the proposed 4 Grove Isle site from Building 3. The proposed tower may also present a wind tunnel issue impact the south side of Building 3 — all the designs should take this into account.

      +design flexibility regarding Building 3’s deck. This should take into account the radical design difference between the existing buildings/decks and what has been proposed for 4 Grove Isle. I am still unclear how the new and existing designs can work together — this has serious aesthetic and value implications.

      Where are all the sculptures on the sculpture decks? Should the design be updated to take this fact into account?

      Thank you

      Like

  26. Webster says:

    Do we have any updates concerning the mediation meeting? When will it happen? who is going? who will represent the association as our legal counsel? Will there be a representative from PGI???

    Like

    • Rich says:

      I have still heard nothing. It is important that those most impacted are well represented. I hope that Preserve Grove Isle will participate and the arbitration is fully transparent.

      Like

      • Harry N says:

        I agree, by now we should know who will be participating in the mediation meeting, particularly from PGI. Someone must also be there to document the what goes on during meeting.

        Like

  27. Sara B says:

    I awoke last night to a nightmare. The avila tower had been built (yes it looked out of place)… but the worse was yet to come… everything remaining had been sold on to another player who then decided to develop town houses over the tennis courts and parking lots. I could not get back to sleep… Could some one please tell me if something like this could happen?

    Like

  28. We have received this question and would be grateful for insights
    regarding this information:

    From: Linda
    Subject: Fwd: Grove Isle Development Updates
    Date: Sat, 12 Apr 2014 14:50:17 -0400
    To: savegroveisle@outlook.com

    What is the situation about this? Thanks you, Linda

    From: Bill
    Subject: Re: Grove Isle Development Updates
    Date: April 12, 2014 2:43:59 PM EDT
    To: Linda

    It is interesting. I looked up the hotel property on the county tax appraiser’s site. It shows a quit claim deed on 2/28/2013 to Grove Isle Associates, LLLP for $100. I also went to the county clerk’s site and could find no evidence of any mortgages or any other recorded instruments evidencing a valid sale. It is possible that there in fact has been no conveyance of the property. That rumored sale may be fictitious and being used for leverage against the Association. The buyer may be fishing to see what development rights he can get before he has to pay the seller any money.
    Bill

    Like

    • Irene warner says:

      Wow definitely need our legal council to look at this
      I wondered from the beginning why someone would buy such an expensive piece of property and close the deal without having all the sign offs etcetera needed to make his goal of construction take place.

      Like

    • Webster says:

      As of the last presentation with our attorneys, neither one had looked into this issue. The need to look into the legality of the sale has been brought up several times. This new piece of information just serves to add urgency into officially having this matter reviewed by legal counsel. Hopefully before the mediation meeting. It is intriguing that this deal, from sale between Wiener and Mr. Avila to the building proposals to the Asst. Director’s approval, have been so shrouded in mystery. At this moment all I can say is for the time being, we were VERY lucky to stop this project in its tracks. AGAIN, THE BOARD NEEDS TO ACT UPON THIS ASAP AND THE RESIDENTS NEED TO KEEP VOICING (TO CITY OFFICIALS) THEIR DISAPPROVAL TOWARDS ANY PROJECT ON GROVE ISLE.

      Like

      • CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

        I HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR A LONG TIME THAT THERE IS SOME SECRET AGREEMENT BETWEEN MR WEINER AND MR AVILLA. I HAVE IMFORMATION THAT WEINER INDEMNIFIED THE NEW GROUP AGAINST ALL LAW SUITS AND STILL HAS AN INVESTMENT WITH THEM. THE LAWYERS SHOULD INVESTIGATE THIS AND IF THERE IS A LAWSUIT GET WEINER TO TESTIFY.
        HE IS THE ONE WE ARE SUING FOR MANY MAINTENANCE CHARGES THAT WE SHOULD NOT HAVE PAID FOR.

        Like

        • Bob says:

          Doc,

          It’s hard to respond to comments that purport to know of secret agreements. With respect to the non-secret agreements, Wiener (actually Wiener’s REIT) has no remaining interest in GIALLP except he gave the purchaser, at the closing a $1 million second mortgage which stands behind the $20 million first mortgage bridge loan. So to the extent the Avila re-development does not move forward as planned or even move forward timely and the bridge lender calls the $20 million loan when the loan term ends, then Mr. Wiener’s REIT has a decision to make about protecting his $1 million loan (that then becomes his $1 million investment). Stay tuned.

          Like

    • bob says:

      Bill,
      Actually Avila purchased 100% of the limited partner and general partner interests of GIALLLP which owns the Grove Isle 4 property. This acquisition structure allows Avila to purchase the property without transferring real property interests. The Purchase price was $24.4 million and there is a recorded mortgage for $20 million with a bridge lender in Miami Beach. Avila paid $3.4 Million in cash (+ the $20 million loan proceeds) and Wiener took back a $1 million second mortgage. One of the reasons Avila purchased 100% of the partnership interests rather than purchase the real property is that if he bought the real property for $24.4 million, it would be recorded as such and the City of Miami assessor, seeing the transaction, might reassess the property accordingly.

      Please be assured the sale is not fictitious and the GI Board of Directors is aware of the information in this reply..

      Like

      • Webster says:

        A good question still remains: Were the residents of Grove Isle or the Board of Directors required to have been notified regarding the sale/new owner/new plans for redevelopment, etc? and if so, at what time should this have happened?

        Like

        • Bob says:

          Webster, the simple yet complete answer to your question is NO. There is no notification requirements of any type in any GI documents. The “Good Question” is once the GI Board was made aware of the sale in January 2013, should it have been more vigilant, more pro active and more communicative. The answer is YES. However I think everyone including the GI Board now recognizes that fact so we need to move forward , hopefully together, from where we are now.

          Like

  29. Alberto P. MBA says:

    Some people are interested in knowing what the construction experience was for building 1 residents when tower 2 went up. Then building 2 residents when building 3 went up. Just picture it in your mind. It had to get worse each time just because of the traffic and lack of space to store materials, park cars, etc. Every time the island became more populated by 1/3. The island is built in its entirety now. I wonder if he will cut a deal to store and park in the southwester side of the island. The new projects in the Grand on Bayshore have their employees park across the street where there is ample empty parking. That is not the story here. There is no way he can store and park machinery in just 2 tennis courts. Guys, we cannot take a risk on this. Once he demolishes we will only have ourselves to blame for not having stopped this project. We need to get deep into the City Commissioner’s ear. There is a lot of very smart and influential people in the island. As a team, we can dwarf any effort or influence Mr. Avila may have.

    Like

  30. Helen Dixon says:

    Well all you people who want to Preserve our island, get ready for special assessments for legal fees, purchase of the 7 acres and the upcoming 40 year building re-certification. All three would not be less than $100,000 per apartment.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Helen,
      Well worth the money compared to the loss of value from having the old buildings stay as they are. Not including the hassle of constructions and the fact they the new owners may continue to bleed us with fees.

      I can pretty much guarantee (with the same certainty with which you made your statement) that if we remodel and purchase the land, our property values will go up by +/- $100,000. Nicer buildings, completely private and under one owner. There are many ways with which to finance this. Trust me, you will get your money back.

      Sincerely,

      Your name

      Like

    • IKI says:

      Dear Helen
      We all understand your concern about special assessment and spending money to upgrade / maybe buy the island out but

      1 ) I do not believe that Mr Avila plan to spend any money on our tower whatsoever
      2 ) Buying the land if we can and upgrading it with new management can be done with very little cost to every owner and we can have financing in place very easily

      Value of your condo if we control the island and we mange it correctly will go much higher than $100 000

      legal fees will come close I am sure to $1000000 but divided by the number of unit this is just $2000

      I think if you give up now you will ( we will ) be in hell for 4 years without any certainty of what will be left of the club restaurant tennis… if anything left

      I am always as most of the people on the island for compromise mitigation but in this case i do not think there is any good option for us because he will not upgrade all of the tower and all your ideas for free

      I do not see today any good reason to let him build on GROVE ISLE

      BTW : $1000000 per condo is $51 M so there is room to do something amazing with that money.

      Like

      • Fernando says:

        You are absolutely right. I had forgotten the pool construction from my memory it was so bad. I live in bldg 3 in the 01 line. I had dust for over a year and several months after. I still have 5 HEPA filters around the apartment. This should be worse if it involves demolition. I work in Doral, they have been constructing the new Plametto / Dolphin overpass. 2 miles away and it’s a dust bowl.

        Like

    • Irene Warner says:

      The 40 year re-certification is a separate “issue” action that will need to be handled that has nothing to do with the current situation with the developer. I have faith that our Board along with the astute and involved participants in this project will consider at what point – if that occurs – we would be pouring $$ down a black hole and I for one am supportive of the current process and actions being taken by the Board and by this Preserve Grove Isle. My husband and I have limited resources as do I am sure many of the GI residents but I am not going to run scared or be intimidated by a developer who is only interested in his bottom line and lining his pockets.

      Like

    • Theodore 55 says:

      Helen, keep in mind that hopefully we may have the courts rule in our favor regarding membership fees and maintenance fees. We could potentially offset any special assessments with that money.

      Like

    • IKI says:

      Also for your information

      I use to leave in front of the pool in Building 3 during construction of was it just simple pool and trust me HELEN it was just HELL… noise dust computer broken…

      While I like to see a new building I do not believe you want to have 3-4 years of work on the island

      Like

    • susan says:

      Helen,
      You are definitely in the minority with your opinion, which is fine. I would suggest that before you throw out $100,000 per apartment figure, you provide the basis for that. There is nothing that prevents you from selling your apartment and moving before all these “special assessments” kick in.

      Like

    • Fernando says:

      Helen, you may have to come to the realization that “those people”, (which happen to be your concerned neighbors), are over half of the island. Everyone agrees with the NO DEVELOPMENT position. Preserve Grove Isle or its supporters stand nothing to gain financially by opposing this project except keep property values from dipping and preserve our way of life. I cannot understand why you are taking this position, but I am glad to know you’re one of a handful of residents who wish to go ahead with “some kind” of construction. How can you support this w/out having heard from the city or w/out even knowing for sure what Mr. Avila MAY end up building. Seems to me you’re blindly supporting this.

      Like

  31. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    IN RESPONSE TO HELEN DIXON. DO YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE CONSTRUCTION OVER THE NEXT THREE YEARS WITH THE NOISE, DUST, TRAFFIC ISSUES, ETC?
    DO YOU REALLY BELIEVE THAT THE DEVELOPER WILL HELP UPGRADE OUR OLD FACILITIES? WE HAVE A CHANCE TO WIN THIS BATTLE RATHER THEN SURRENDER.
    THE RECENT DECISION THAT ALLOWS US TO CONTINUE OUR LITIGATION MAY GAIN ALL A LOT OF MONEY AND MAY LEAD TO MAJOR COMPROMIZES. LET US CONTINUE OUR FIGHT AND DO NOT BE SO NEGATIVE ABOUT THE RESULTS.

    Like

  32. Helen Dixon says:

    One of the residents asking a question at the lawyers meeting last night said, “After all the money is spent on legal fees, where is the victory?” He was so right.

    The developer still owns the land and has legal rights to build something. As an island we should use this as an opportunity to gain an ally in upgrading our 40 year old infrastructure. Yes contruction will be inconvenient for all, just as anyone knows from upgrading our individual apartments. But when it is over, all will benefit in increased values as any real estate economist will tell you.

    What is painful is to see, is the division and rancor on the island. The petition people are very aggressive and treat those with another opinion with hostility.

    We have 65 hotel rooms now and dozens of public weddings. It would seem that 65 private residences would have less impact and provide more people to help pay the bills.

    Also whoever is anonymous, why don’t you sign your name?

    Like

    • Irene Warner says:

      While possession may be 9/10ths of the law, the developer still needs to be responsive and receptive to the overall needs of the community. I believe that he has not been acting in good faith and the concerns of the GI residents are valid and justified. While you may trust him to be upgrading our infrastructure, he may very well be builidng an empty monument. There are no guarantees either way, but we both need to find a solution based upon maintaining the peace and serenity of the island and there are too many unanswered questions and too many issues that have not been addressed. The picture he has painted is a “best case” senario for him and putting on the table a construction time period of 18- 24 months is just one of the items that I doubt can be met and what happens when it isn’t? How will you feel living in disruptive construciton for 3 or 4 years? Where is the guarantee that this is going to increase our respective units? The property is not part of the association so why would that property “pay more of the bills”? The proposed new structure to my knowledge will not be part of the Grove Isle Condo Association so what are we gaining monetarily? This needs to be played out and capituatling to the wishes of one owner is not the answer. Some investment in legal counsel is not wrong and I for one support a process rather than waving a white flag.

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      OK. Since you asked nicely,

      Yours Truly,

      Anonymous

      Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Helen, even though we disagree regarding our expected outcomes of the development issue, I am 100% in agreement with upgrading our current buildings. However, don’t expect him to be an ally in this endeavor. Even though the CITY or COURTS (not us) may determine he has the right to build something, that doesn’t mean he can build either one of his “proposed” projects. It doesn’t necessarily mean we will have the “beached whale” or the “ugly turrets around” the island.

      Perhaps he can keep the current footprint and height and just turn the hotel and spa into smaller condo/residences. If he is not interested in doing that, then he may consider selling it back to the residents. There is no easy way out of this. The more we express out thoughts and concerns, the more I agree with other bloggers that the best outcome is not to build and have the whole island under one owner, in other words, buy it back

      From now on I will sign as per your request,

      Sincerely,

      Your Name

      Like

    • IKI says:

      Helen

      I forgot to ask you something. In which building do you leave
      I assume on building 3 facing the construction?

      We are a community and what is good for one should be good for all.

      I do not want to have a construction in front of building 2 or 1 so…

      Like

  33. Alberto P. MBA says:

    These are a few of the comments I have from last night’s meeting:

    Presentations by both attorneys were well received and provided much needed information.

    Regarding the mediation meeting, the attorney cannot advise what position we need to take. We need to pick one of the four (or more) positions that are out there. We can all agree on the NO development at all position. Purpose is to listen to the other side. The mediation is non-binding. Residents had questions regarding the position of the City Attorney to offer an opinion only after the meeting. It seems unreasonable to go into a meeting without anything to mediate or to have a starting point.

    There are other avenues to challenge the development besides the entitlement argument.

    The proposal of the tower seems to be completely unachievable under the interpretation of current law and original building permits, certificates of occupancy and sales materials and presentations made by original developers to buyers. It would require a huge HUGE exception on behalf of City officials for the developer to build a tower.

    We need to unite and voice our opinions to the City Officials, they have a say on what will happen regarding the development. Only the City gets to approve the development. Then many other departments get to review the actual plans. Grove Isle cannot pick and choose which one they want. The 5 tower proposal has not even been submitted to the City. The renderings were grossly exaggerated and it may not even conform to Miami 21 despite the developer’s assertions.
    Regarding the club, the courts have only agreed to open the case. If they decide to rule in our favor it may be upwards of $10mm, only monies owed after 2008-09. There may be reimbursement for damages caused by accelerated deterioration due to excessive use of our facilities by non residents. The residents have been paying for all of the maintenance cost of the island.

    Preserve Grove Isle asked to have a representative included in the mediation meetings.

    We need to get an answer on whether or not the sale of the land/club was in any way in illegal by having failed or omitted to properly notify the Board and the residents. If so, what can happen to the current developer and previous owner?

    Like

  34. Harry N. says:

    The last meeting held by the developer struck me as being a bit weird. It seems like if somehow the integrity of the architect was in question. Shouldn’t we have been presented, perhaps, with their attorneys or a construction expert to address the many issues that really concern the residents? I don’t think anyone doubts the professionalism and quality of work
    of the architects. You could make a point for having them present to discuss the aesthetic impact of the project. But the real questions and answers need to come from someone else. Maybe his attorneys are also waiting to see what the zoning board thinks. Maybe they don’t want to risk making any kind of assertions that they will have to regret later on.

    The more I think about it, the more questions I have. I am sure a building contractor, bridge expert, structural expert, waste removal or environmental expert would field the questions better than the developer did. This issue is way too big to have it reduced to picking and choosing between the aesthetics of two proposals. It’s not about which is prettier. Come on, we are not that naive. Again, I echo the feelings and perceptions of other residents when I say the developer is just putting on a dog and pony show. Don’t misunderstand me, I know he is very smart and resourceful, it just seems like this one project has been hatched too prematurely. They seem to be piecing it together as they go along. That is also one of the reasons why I cannot take at face value many of the promises, bells and whistles that they are using to gain support for this project.

    Like

    • Fernando says:

      Very well said Harry. I agree with you that the architect’s work has not been an issue.We would’ve gotten more pertinent information from engineers etc.
      I am also very pleased with the Board’s understanding of the need to keep everyone informed in a timely manner of what is going on. I also want to thank PGI for their work on this website. It is very complete and up to date. It allows for all comments, opinions and concerns to be shared between neighbors (and hopefully some other parties that have an interest in this). It is through this site and the sharing of all sorts of information that I have been able to stand strong on my belief in opposing ANY development in Grove Isle besides remodeling.

      Like

      • Alberto P. MBA says:

        Yes, and this type of presentation doesn’t do much for developer’s cause. They still seem hell bent on trying to frame this issue as the lesser of two evils. No concern for any of what has been said repeatedly, and that is the preservation of the lifestyle, amenities, security, tranquility and property values that we currently enjoy. Yes, for building 3 it is also an issue to have their views blocked and see their property values go down the drain. Can’t blame anyone for being upset over that. We need everyone to come together and support one another on ALL the issues that affect us and concern us.

        Until now I haven’t read or heard any arguments in favor of any development with the exception of getting over this and moving on by allowing the developer to trash the island. Someone had a concern about legal fees, but that has been addresses very clearly by Mr. Wilder. Not sure how much security we can have, but yes there is room for improvement. That still doesn’t mean we need another tower to guarantee that. Issues with privacy? restaurant and spa guests. That can also be be solved. What cannot be solved is the irreparable damage (which is unquantifiable) that will happen if anything else is built on the island.

        I want to remind and urge ALL my fellow neighbors to send your development opposition letters to our city officials. You may find names and links in the home page. Keep doing it for as long as it takes. We have what seems like a formidable adversary looking only after HIS own interests and united we can stop him.

        Like

  35. Irene Warner says:

    Thank you Fernando for your comments and for validating my observation about the softer tactic the developer is now attempting to take. I have saved copies of his earlier email and there was nothing neighborly about his attitude. He was accusatory and insulting in the initial email – as my husband reminds me on many occasions, pay attention to the person’s actions and not their words.

    Like

  36. Fernando says:

    Fellow neighbors. It is nice to see this amount of activity in our blog. It is also nice to see how membership and hits have steadily increased. Almost everyone that has offered an opinion is against any development. I would encourage if there is anyone that is for the project to offer opinions or insights. The developer claims to have some kind of support. I think overwhelmingly we oppose any development. I am also surprised by their new tactic of trying a softer approach. Too little too late. We already saw enough to recognize and see through the smoke screen that has always been there. If at first you don’t succeed by frightening, then switch to winning them over. Seems like they will try ANYTHING to win a little support. I trust we are making the right decision by opposing and I hope the City does the same by enforcing current laws and regulations.

    Like

    • susan says:

      On March 25, Weiss Serota wrote a memo on the developer’s March 20th presentation. The last sentence said “Arriving at a recommended course of action at this time is premature given that future action of both the owner/developer and unit owners depend on what the City Attorney opines.” Why would we even consider non-binding arbitration at this time given that opinion? It smells like Commisioner Sarnoff is trying to placate Avila who probably is a major campaign contributor. I hope you all remember this when he is up for reelection. And I hope the Board remembers this as well.

      Like

      • Alberto P. MBA says:

        I’m sure a couple hundred if not a couple thousand votes from GI residents and our north Grove neighbors can make a difference in an election.I think the city officials are already so well known that contributions will have less of an effect than angry and motivated residents will at the ballot box. The theory has been proven wrong before but Grove residents have never been so fed up with local government and developers as they are right now.

        Like

  37. Harry N. says:

    Anonymous and Mr. Tieleman this is with a LARGE dose of sarcasm too. I suggest we keep it serious from now on.

    Like

  38. Anonymous says:

    I got a new best friend, Eddie Avila.

    Let me tell you why:
    He has changed his tone. He now greets me as “”dear neighbor ” and even signs off as “sincerely”.
    He’s looking after my best interests
    He’s giving me choices, a voice, considering my input
    He’s concerned about the Save Grove Isle’s distortion of facts
    He doesn’t want me to be scared and confused by them
    He wants to be my new neighbor…a reinvented Señor Rogers!
    Boy, he thanks us for my support.
    He’s “fielded my questions”
    He threw a nice shindig at the tennis event.
    He’s even opening NEW A NUMBER OF VIEWS FOR BUILDING THREE RESIDENTS.
    How he is going to do that, I don’t know, but it seems to me he can perform miracles
    I hope the city bends over backwards to grant him an exception and ignores all current laws, rules and regulations, changes in circumstances
    After all, he’s Eddie, one of us and hopefully one of them.
    I have never had a neighbor like this. I like this guy, I really do.
    I hope he keeps building all over the island. ;-).

    Like

    • Henri-James Tieleman says:

      Dear Mr. or Ms. Anonymous,

      It is not clear what profession you currently practice, but in the business world, being nice is a must, if you want to earn the trust and the support from the other party going potentially against your interest or in this case the GI Residents and foremost, if that particular party or Mr. Avila, is clearly seeing that his project and his investment is potentially being jeopardized.

      Indeed, It is not a friend you found, but a person that is desperately seeking your support for his own financial interest.

      Moreover, this tactics is also called doing/making politics, and accordingly, you should not be too naïve about such kindness, but at least slightly cautioned from such an attitude towards you or other residents. Follow the $ sign, and you will understand many attitudes and its consequences….

      Personally, I wished you would adopt a certain level of solidarity considering that not having or allowing this project to take place, would benefit far more, to the majority of the residents, including you, if you would only analyse more carefully the clear negative consequences, that we would all endure and loose financially at the expense of your new friend. Therefore, supporting us would be correct on your part.

      Best Regards,
      Henri-James Tieleman

      Like

      • Anonymous says:

        Thanks Mr. Tieleman. I was hoping it would have been interpreted for what it was meant to be, a sarcastic piece, (hence the wink). Trust me, I could not agree with you any more. I have read your posts and I agree with every single one of them. Read mine, I’m on your side.
        I’m was trying to convey the new fuzzy feeling of the Developer’s last letter. Didn’t work on me, i can assure you of that.
        This is my position:
        NO NEW DEVELOPMENT ON GROVE ISLE UNLESS IT IS FIXING THE HOTEL, CLUB AND THE REST OF WHAT THE PREVIOUS OWNERS HAVE LET DETERIORATE. MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, GO CONDO BY REPLACING THE HOTEL… SAME SIZE AND SAME SPACE.

        Like

        • Anonymous says:

          In other words, the same as what we currently have, just replace the hotel rooms with some 20 condo apartments (or as few units as he can fit into the current structure). Remodel the rest. I would also prefer for the association to buy the land and keep everything the way it is, under ONE owner. Anything else will be a migraine headache and lower property values.

          Like

          • Anonymous says:

            Mr. Tieleman,

            by the way….

            Best Regards,

            YOUR new BEST friend

            🙂

            Like

          • Alberto P. MBA says:

            When we purchased our unit a couple of years ago we remember the seller’s realtor telling us that although a small chance that something like this would happen, the worse case scenario would be limited to something like what already was there. Pretty much the same height and locations where things currently stand. We thought either a remodeled hotel or 3-5 town homes or villas.

            Like

        • Henri-James Tieleman says:

          It is very nice indeed to read that you agree and I would hope that many more residents would too.

          It is not a question of opinion, as stated Dr. Gordon from building 3 on March 20th meeting, but rather a question of being correctly informed about all the consequences, which as far as I am concerned, are well hidden for financial gains and endless benefits, at the GI Residents expense.

          Indeed, an opinion has to be substantiated by facts, and the Preserve Grove Isle Committee have generated more facts than we could have imagined on this project and this, on both sides of the spectrum, which I doubt that any supporter in favour of the 4th building project, would be able substantiating, while still protecting not only building 3 interest, but every GI Resident as well.

          Best Regards,

          Like

  39. Len Scinto says:

    Hello All:

    You may be interested in watching on Youtube “Don’t Box Me In” a documentary by R Fendleman about the Grove First and the Home Depot Issues in the Grove a couple of years ago…Good blueprint for community based organization and actions.

    Good Luck

    Len

    Liked by 1 person

  40. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH MR WILDER. I HAVE A VERY IMPORTANT FRIEND IN THE DEVELOPMENT WORLD WHO TOLD ME THE SAME THING. HE ALSO SAID THAT ABOUT WEINER CAUSING ME TO SELL MY APARTMENT IN BUILDING 3 FACING EAST.

    Like

  41. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    THIS DOES NOT ONLY APPLY TO CLUB DUES BUT TO MANY MAINTENANCE CHARGES OVER THE YEARS FOR THINGS THAT MR. WEINER OWNED. AT THE VERY LEAST EACH OWNER SHOULD RECEIVE A LOT OF MONEY BACK BUT I BELIEVE THIS HELPS PRESERVE GROVE ISLE IN SHOWING THE COURTS WHO WE ARE DEALING WITH.
    I BELIEVE THAT WEINER INDEMNIFIED THE NEW DEVELOPER FROM ALL LAW SUITS SO THERE IS CERTAINLY A RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THIS SUIT AND FUTURE LITIGATION THAT MAY BE NECESSARY.

    Like

    • CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

      THE ABOVE IS IN RESPONSE TO WHAT AL LEON REFERENCED.

      Like

    • Webster says:

      Bringing the mediation issue and the club lawsuit, Anonymous recommends the meeting suggested by Comm. Sarnoff be for a trade between monies owed to Association and the developers land. Simple, but worth considering something among those lines. The island MUST belong in its entirety to current residents. This shared ownership has proven to be a real nightmare.

      Liked by 1 person

  42. AL LEON says:

    THE LAWSUIT ABOUT OUR CLUB DUES IS ALIVE. GO TO ATTACHED LINK.
    http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202648511482/#.UzQXev_XFx0.mailto

    Liked by 1 person

    • AL LEON says:

      SORRY, LINK DOESN’T WORK. HERE IS WHAT ARTICLE SAID..

      Grove Isle Condo Association’s Suit Wrongfully Dismissed
      John Pacenti, Daily Business Review
      March 26, 2014

      Third District Court of Appeal
      Third District Court of Appeal

      A state appellate court on Wednesday revived a lawsuit by a condominium association in Miami’s Coconut Grove against a hotel and spa operator.

      A three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal said a lawsuit filed in 2009 by the Grove Isle Association Inc. was wrongfully dismissed with prejudice by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John Schlesinger.

      The association represents unit owners on Fair Isle, a private island dominated by the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa. The lawsuit, among many claims, said condo owners were unfairly assessed for maintenance of common areas, such as the bridge between the hotel and residential areas, dating back to 1979.

      Judges Leslie Rothenberg, Barbara Lagoa and Thomas Logue allowed the association to resume its litigation but barred issues before 2004 when the statute of limitations kicked in.

      The panel also said Schlesinger wrongly denied the association’s motion for leave to amend its complaint.

      Read more: http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202648511482/Grove-Isle-Condo-Association%27s-Suit-Wrongfully-Dismissed#ixzz2xAbTwoNO

      Like

      • Robert Wilder says:

        On Monday, I am going to have my Corporate IT person attach the 26 page Opinion from the 3rd District Court of Appeal issued on March 26th. If you are not a lawyer (as I am not) it helps to read it several times with a highlighter. But if you want to be part of what is going on at Grove Isle, I suggest you do it. In the meantime if you want to read the Opinion now, if you Google Miami 3rd District Court Decisions, with a few clicks you can see the full decision on line. I encourage everyone to read it.

        Like

  43. Irene warner says:

    Correct and good and appropriate response. The developer would like nothing better than to shove his plan down the throats of GI residents as well as surrounding neighbors. It appears he wants nothing better than to intimidate, bully, and pressure us to capitulate to him.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      The developer has made many assertions that he has the right to build either an 18 story tower or several 5 story buildings, anywhere between 50-65 residences.

      I would like to offer an opinion and I hope it is fact checked. I may be wrong. In the Memorandum of Law form Weiss-Serota they make several observations worth noting before any conclusion is reached. I have taken the liberty to edit this for the sake of time. Remember this is not a legal document, it is just an interpretation on my behalf and I am not an attorney or developer. (I’m just a simple country boy)

      After a settlement agreement was reached between original developers and the city, the amended permits provided for what we currently have today; three towers, club, tennis, marina, hotel, etc. Following construction and completion, the developer closed out the building permits and certificates of occupancy.

      The language used in the settlement agreement did not act as a guarantee that such maximums could be achieved ad infinitum into the future.

      Two additional zoning ordinances have been enacted since. In each, height of building is limited to 5 stories.

      Purchase of property does not constitute a sufficient change in position to justify a vested rights claim. Vested rights do not exist in perpetuity.

      EVEN IF THE CITY WERE TO RECOGNIZE SUCH VESTED RIGHTS THROUGH SOME NEW PERMIT OTHER THAN THE BUILDING PERMITS, ANY SUCH RIGHTS HAVE BEEN LOST BECAUSE OF CHANGE IN CIRCUMSTANCES, WAIVER ON THE PART OF THE APPARENT HOLDER OF ANY RIGHTS, ABANDONMENT FOR FAILURE TO EXERCISE THOSE RIGHTS.

      It is telling that no description of any future phases such as currently proposed by the developer was included in either the building permits, filings with Planning and Zoning, condo docs, or sales literature. The entirety of Grove Isle was developed at the same time, without any portion left vacant for future development.

      The point in change in circumstances is worth a careful read.

      Even assuming there remained rights, the then-owners failed to object constituted waiver of their right to assert that any such rights into the future. No objection to changes in zoning laws in 33 years.

      Here is what I believe to be the most important part:

      Considering due to lapse of reasonable time, The State of Florida clearly disfavors open ended agreements. Even under the best case scenario of the maximum 30 year duration under Development Agreements, any rights conferred by the Settlement Agreement expired in 2007.

      The only express references where current law can POTENTIALLY BE AVOIDED is if the City recognized such rights to be valid, then Miami 21 must be met.
      I understand the Conclusion reads the Developer is limited to a maximum five stories and other limitations imposed by Miami 21. But I interpret this as happening ONLY under a best case scenario for the Developer which hasn’t even submitted the 5 Story development plans to the City; therefore I would consider his threats and proposal worthless at this time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Robert Wilder says:

        While you have it mostly right, it is important all GI residents understand that there are technical and legal nuances relating to Miami 21 and the provisions of the 1977 Stipulated Settlement Agreement you refer to. The good news is I have had conversations with Weiss Serota and they clearly understand all he nuances. Avila is a skilled, probably well capitalized, politically connected Miami developer who has invested $24 million in this venture. Please don’t underestimate him and consider his threats as worthless. He is a formidable “player” and we need to act accordingly.

        Like

  44. Helen Dixon says:

    I was embarrassed to say I live at Grove Isle after the disastrous meeting Thursday night. I do not know who the woman was that commandeered the microphone in the name of fairness. This small group of people only care about their own views and economic interest while espousing they care about all residents. The board should have purchased the seven acres years ago and we would not be now facing this issue. The tower is obviously the best alternative and we are sorry the upper floors of building three will lose their unobstructed views. We need to make peace and move on. With the 40th year inspections, the Association does not need to even think about spending huge legal fees in protracted litigation.

    Like

    • Fernando says:

      I respectfully disagree Helen. This is not a small group of people, it probably is over half the residents. These people include many residents from buildings 1 and 2. They have made clear that it is more than the views that concern them. Among many other things: security,island and bay shore traffic, property values, construction noise, dust, loss of property values, etc. After reading all the comments in this website, I do not see any other alternative but to block both projects. You must give this small group all the credit since they have done more to halt this project than anyone else. The board was caught completely off guard. I give them credit for their choice of legal counsel. Associations have reserves in their budgets to handle these things. Doesn’t mean we need to spend it but I have never felt we have spent dollars in a better way than having gotten the legal opinion. Don’t forget how the developer has behaved since the purchase. Read everyone’s comments. We do not need to make peace and move on. There is nothing to move on with. He has nothing approved. I for one will not give him a blank check. I commend you for openly stating your views wich run contrary to most of what is written here. I also felt embarrassed during the meeting but it had everything to do with the mob like reaction to the lady that “commandeered the mic.” She wanted to bring everyone up to speed with a meeting many residents could not attend or simply didn’t have their emails in the database. The silver lining against such a humiliating backdrop is the fact the she showed more class than a couple dozen hecklers.

      Helen, I wish I could convince you only on two things. One, we don’t need to move on, just yet.Two, it is way more than views. Everyone stands to lose with either proposed scenario.

      Like

    • Fernando says:

      Let me add that I do live in building three and yes, the blocking of views will destroy my property’s value and marketability. However, one could make the opposite argument and state that those who don’t really care stand to lose nothing because in many cases they won’t have to live with an obstructed view 120 feet away. Building 3 has one third of all residents, over 150!! Half on the east side. I would like to think my neighbors would be sympathetic. I can guarantee you residents of building 3,and many more would still want to stop this project even if it were on the other side of the island. Same issues for everyone. We must put ourselves in our neighbor’s shoes. If not now, then when? The only party that stands to win big in this mess is the developer, at the expense of everyone else.

      Like

    • Webster says:

      Helen, if one doesn’t stand for his or hers views and economic interests, what do you suggest property owners should stand for? What do you stand for in having the tower go up? We already know your stand on not wasting money on legal fees. (Same argument the developer made). Why is it wrong for residents to keep their views and economic interest? What do you think the developer is trying to do by building in that corner of the island? He is trying to maximize his views and economic interests! He is trying, solely for his benefit, to circumvent 30 plus years of changes in zoning laws. Unfortunately, it seems his bluffs,divisive threats and comments have found an eager audience with you. How can you accuse a homeowner of being selfish but give a free pass to the developer? Which by the way hasn’t earned much trust. I really hate to get into this type of argument with a neighbor in a public blog. But when it comes to my home, incendiary comments like yours are the last thing the Grove Isle residents need. Shouldn’t you wait to make conciliatory comments until the developer gets city approval. Are you really humiliated by your neighbor’s trying to preserve everyone’s lifestyle?

      Like

    • Harry N says:

      If homeowners don’t stand up for their property views and values, what do you feel they should stand up for?
      Why do you feel residents are being selfish for opposing any kind of construction?
      Wouldn’t you agree the developer is also looking at maximizing his condo’s view and economic interests by building in that corner of the island? However, you give him a free pass despite his threatening letters. He is trying (solely for his benefit) to circumvent 30+ years of zoning laws.
      Don’t you feel everyone in the island benefits from stopping any development?
      I know you stand for not spending money on legal fees, (which by the way is the same argument the developer has made).
      Wouldn’t you agree that having retained legal counsel has been the best course of action in view of the threat we now face?
      We should not make peace and move on, not yet. The developer has nothing approved. Since this is a comment and opinion blog, why do you believe the tower should go up?
      Wouldn’t you agree that at this moment we need to entertain opinions that will bring us together and not create a wedge between residents?

      Like

    • Dear H Dixon,
      Thank you for your comments. Your opinion is exactly in step with this developer’s plans…..forcing us to choose Plan A or Plan B. He knows that will divide the residents of Grove Isle. Please realize that there are many choices available to us…..we need to unify and reveal OUR choices. One of the best choices for us to want is NO further development on Grove isle. It seem that the great majority of residents do not want the struggle of 2-3 years of construction, nor the loss of our amenities. There seems to be a re-birth of realization regarding….just how beautiful this island is.
      Your comment suggesting that the Board of Directors should have bought this 7 acres of land …is perfectly right….imagine, no more litigation, extra costs, and no more opposition to our needs as an independent island. Imagine …one island…one owner….us. You say, “we need to make peace and move on…”, we don’t need to make peace with an outsider, financially motivated developer ….we need to unify and protect our island into the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Robert Wilder says:

      Helen,

      The legal fees we are incurring , while not insignificant, are really “petty cash” relative to what we are trying to preserve and the dollars at stake. For example, if the aggregate value of all the 510 condominiums on Grove Isle total $400 million (or $800,000 per unit on average) and if this development proposal by Mr. Avila reduces our home values by 10%, that is a $40 Million decrease in aggregate value. If we are successful in stopping or significantly altering this development proposal, the legal fees will be a good value.
      You should also be aware that in 2009 GI sued the Club and Club owner on 7 counts, the major ones which were that the annual club dues of $2000 per unit or more than $1 million per year (which we continue to pay) were not legally nor validly charged and that much of the costs of repair of the bridge ($4 + million) , security building, road, landscaping, and utility repairs, tennis court repair and all the common facilities repairs on the Club property which GI residents have been paying 100% of since 1979 , may be recoverable for the period starting in 2004-2005. The 3rd District Court of Appeals on March 26th (2 days ago) sent the case back to the Trial court; and if I am reading the Appellate court opinion correctly, Msrs. Wiener and Avila may owe GI more than $10 million. The only reason it is not $20 million is because Grove Isle residents were so passive and uninvolved from 1979-2009 (30 years) that the Statute of Limitations does not permit us to recover any costs further back than 2004-2005. Again, if we are successful, the legal fees will not seem significant relative to the outcome.

      Like

  45. Irene Warner says:

    Yes, we need to consider options b, c and/or d. The developer has attempted to bully and sidestep law, rules, regulations, as well as common courtesy.

    Like

  46. Irene Warner says:

    Well said and to the point.

    Like

  47. Anonymous says:

    Carole Brown made what I believe is the most relevant observation, especially now that the developer is trying to convince us that the 18 story bldg is better for us than the alternative 5 story buildings spread throughout their property.

    Carole Brown says:
    March 3, 2014 at 9:37 am
    The Legal Opinion does not address the Developer’s right to seek to build a number of 5 story buildings per acre with substantially more units under “Miami 21″. Does the possibility exist that he could successfully obtain approval for this?

    It’s like having us pick between two check payments : one for $20 and the other is two $10 checks. They both have non-sufficient funds at the time. At this point we don’t have to pick our poison. They have only empty bottles!!!

    We need for the board to get either a legal opinion or a preliminary opinion from the city before we entertain any other proposals from the developer. Let’s demand a board meeting 7 days from now and have them come prepared with answers. Maybe bring the lawyers, a real estate agent and a civil engineer. This uncertainty is tearing the island apart. The Board cannot fall asleep at the wheel again. One thing is not to disclose information regarding legal matters but they should not be keeping us in the dark regarding their meetings with the developer. This issue has to be decided by zoning and regulation and if necessary by attorneys. Not in private. The board has to be completely transparent in what they are doing and in handling this matter. We have already retained legal counsel. Use it.

    I praise the Board for their responses to the developer’s threats so far. I also praise them for seeking legal advise quickly. But they need to grab this bull by the horns now. Move quickly because we the residents cannot afford more negligence on their behalf. And by that I mean they should have been on top of this since the day the property changed hands. Caught completely off guard. Never informed the residents anything about that transaction. So much for information. The only agenda the Board must have is to allow the developer to build what the city approves and is best for us. In the meantime, no more keeping quiet regarding any back room meetings with the developer. We are already getting screwed by the government. Everything does come out in the open eventually, but now there are plenty of people who have plenty of skin in the game who are keeping track of this.

    This is in no way intended to be threatening, nor condescending. But you were elected and are accountable to us. We just want to keep you focused and make sure you follow through on all the things you put on paper regarding the response to the developer’s letters.

    Like

  48. Fernando says:

    If you watch the Grove Isle video on youtube (previous post) exactly 20 seconds into the video you will see the proposed building sits next to tower C at half the distance between A and B and B and C. How much of an impact will this have on the foundation of building C? How much worse will it make the existing wind tunnel that exists on the east side? Most of the east side building C will have its morning sunlight and warmth probably reduced by 50%. Is this bad for plants? Mold? Mildew?

    During seconds 45 through 50 you see that since the proposed tower sits all the way towards the southeast end of the island, building B columns 1 and 3 may have a good part of their city views and bridge views blocked. I’m almost if column 1 building A will be affected.

    The way the original building were layed out really offers the most amount of bay views for most apartments. Any project needs to keep in line and distance to reduce the number of residents impacted. Straight line being the most important to keep maximun bay views.

    Like

  49. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    I MUST DISAGREE FOR THE REASONS I HAVE ALREADY COMMENTED ON.

    Like

  50. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    I COULD NOT AGREE MORE WITH IRENE WARNER.

    Like

  51. Fernando says:

    Good point if he can’t build he will need to unload quickly to reinvest asap

    Like

  52. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    I THINK THE DEVELOPER AS ALL OF THEM DO IS LOOKING FOR A HUGE PROFIT AND THEN GET OUT. AT LEAST 300 TO 400% OF THEIR INVESTMENT.
    THAT WOULD COST THE OWNERS A LOT OF MONEY EVEN IF WE COULD GET A FINANCIAL INSTITUTION TO HELP US. MANY OF THE OWNERS LIVE ON SMALL
    INCOMES AND I CANNOT IMAGINE THEY WOULD TAKE ON MORE DEBT.

    Like

  53. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    OKAY BUT KEEP BLOGGING

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      This new comment may be politically incorrect…as Fernando mentions below, there are probably a dozen things that will present themselves like stronger wind tunnels, mildew,lack of sunlight and warmth. But the dust and traffic jams may affect our senior members more than the rest. Is there something that can be done do have GI granted….. The equivalent of a retirement community and receive some special consideration? A special status?

      Like

  54. Irene Warner says:

    Construction will be a nightmare and there could never be sufficient security during that time. The issue is what can and will be permitted for the developer to build. All the rest is commentary – important perhaps but we must keep your eyes on the ball – the issue is what will be built, how will it be built, how will it impact our lives during construction and what is the finished product going to look like and how will it impact our lives thereafter. Privatizing the island is only going to benefit the developer and his intent to build a monument to his ego.

    Like

  55. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    THERE IS NO ONE INCLUDING THE ASSOCIATION THAT WILL PAY THE PRICE THAT THE DEVELOPERS WILL WANT. THAT IS A PIPE DREAM. AGAIN THE SECURITY ISSUES ARE FAR OUT WEIGHED BY THE MANY CONSTRUCTION ISSUES. WITH OUT SEEMING RUDE
    I THINK IT WOULD BE APPROPRIATE FOR ANONYMOUS TO GIVE US HIS OR HER NAME. HE OR SHE HAVE STRONG ARGUMENTS WHICH THEY POST.

    Like

    • Anonymous says:

      Hi Charles, I have used anonymous for very important reasons. I would like to keep it that way. Don’t worry, I am a resident. I hope you understand. However, if it is bothersome to anyone I can either change the name 😉 or stop blogging. My name wouldn’t make a difference; I have no idea who half the people here are anyways. The important thing is the exchange of opinions. The strong arguments I’ve made are not intended to be offensive.

      We seem to agree on the problems caused by the whole construction thing. We also seem to agree that security, to a lesser extent , is also a problem. I just think that we should not buy into the developer’s claim of better security once the island is closed. Although building and closing may result in better security down the road, in the short term we will be exposed having less security due to traffic generated by the construction.

      No offense taken and please understand my position. Let me know if you are o.k with this.

      Like

    • Henri-James Tieleman says:

      Dear Dr. Smithen,

      Why are you assuming that no one would purchase this particular area? If a company is set-up with whoever from Grove Isle Residents, keen in investing towards this particular company, it would then be able managing this particular land in a reasonable and sound business, along with an interesting ROI for its investors.

      The issue today, is not the development or the new owner of the land, it is foremost the unreasonable construction and greed leading to disturbing the current Grove Isle Residents and its culture, and as correctly mentioned by Fernando, the clear devaluation of all of our property for the many clear reasons already mentioned many times.

      Indeed, this land was sold for $24M USD, if I am correct; considering that any houses across from the marina can reach $6.5M, or in other words, a good deal for 7+ acres of water front; IF you one can refrain from being greedy.

      Moreover, such a transaction with a solid business plan, can be 100% sustained by many financial institutions, allowing this particular company to enjoy an extremely nice retirement plan or a simple investment.

      Nevertheless, the main issue that we should focus on today, is leading this new construction towards a reasonable, LEGAL and agreeable manner to all of us residing on Grove Isle. Though, we should remain open to alternative solutions, and foremost stick together about what we want and how want to move forward.

      Lastly, I still hope that a meeting can be organized along with the Board, the Preserve Grove Isle Committee and all the Residents, towards exchanging, brainstorming and leading to a strong solider group.

      Sincerely Yours,
      Henri-James Tieleman

      Like

  56. Webster says:

    My point exactly. We can handle any security issues now. They just need minor improvement. Once any development begins it will be very hard to control anyone coming or going. If people want to privatize the island they must be aware insecurity will increase drastically for the next 2 to 21/2 years. If that is the only issue to support any new development, it’s not worth the trade or gamble.

    Like

  57. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    SECURITY WHICH IS ADEQUATE IS OF FAR LESS IMPORTANCE THAN THE DISASTEROUS CONSEQUENCES OF CONSTRUCTION,VIEWS, DUST,NOISE, TRAFFIC,ETC

    Like

  58. Webster says:

    Is it possible to have someone post a summary of what is being spoken at the board meetings?. Unfortunately not all of us can attend all the time. Just two or 3 paragraphs summarizing any news or developments presented by the board as well as any important comments or suggestions from the residents.
    Thanks.

    Like

  59. Fernando says:

    I know some residents seem to prefer the issue of island privacy over construction and loss of property value. I believe we have great security but there is room for improvement, especially perimeter patrolling.

    Many issues can be solved by installing keypads at the door and parking entrances (the sides that face the walkways).

    My point being, it is dangerous to trade a small security issue for a bigger one. Pedestrians, cyclists and joggers get tuned back all the time. Any new construction will bring way more traffic, noise and dust. We will lose more than one or two tennis courts and we will have dozens of contractors on the island. None of them under the watch of our security.

    Like

  60. anonymous says:

    I know some residents seem to prefer the issue of island privacy over construction and loss of property value. I believe we have great security but there is room for improvement, especially perimeter patrolling. Although I don’t want to make this comment a membership fee issue, I feel I need to bring it up. I doubt there is a way to run the amenities without non-resident members or hotel and restaurant guests. The solution is to cater the last two to a more fitting crowd. However, fully aware of the repercussions my comment may have, I strongly believe that if you haven’t paid your membership fees in a while, you should not have a vote on the issue, whether against or in favor. The lack of profitability of the club, spa, tennis, and hotel may in part be attributed to lack of membership fees.

    If we are not supposed to pay them, then let’s solve that issue. If only a few want to pay for it, then raise the price but provide better facilities and service. My point being, it is dangerous to trade a small security issue for a bigger one. Don’t think the new construction is only traffic, noise and dust. We will lose more than one or two tennis courts and we will have dozens of contractors in the island. None of them under the watch of our security. Just some food for thought.

    Like

    • anonymous says:

      By the way, some parts of my previous comment assumes the Association or someone besides the developer buys off the current owner. Some more food for thought.

      Like

  61. Bob Denholtz says:

    After reviewing the condo docs I believe it states that the developer must locate the club/restaurant allowing it to have an “open bay view”. Based on their current plan this is not the case — please comment.

    Like

  62. NE Florida Girl says:

    Just FWIW – my husband and I owned/lived in a unit on a high floor on the east side of building 3 from 1985 to 1995. My husband also worked on the original litigation that led to the settlement agreement. IIRC – during the years we spent in Grove Isle – the developer violated provisions of the settlement agreement regarding club operations (hours of events/people allowed to attend events/etc.). I recall some of the annoying things – but can’t remember after almost 20 years which things were specific violations of the settlement agreement. Perhaps a current resident remembers these things too – and a lawyer can check whether they violated the settlement agreement. If so – I think the developer (and his successors) might have waived any possible rights they might to rely on the settlement agreement.

    Also – the original developer was Burton Goldberg. He lives in California and has reinvented himself as a healthcare guru :): http://www.burtongoldberg.com/cancer-conquest-preview.html. He’s an older gentlemen now – and I don’t have a clue what he might remember – or whatever he remembers might help/hurt which side of this dispute. But someone should perhaps depose him/take a statement from him now – because I doubt he’ll last as long as this litigation!

    My husband and I have lived in NE Florida for almost 2 decades now – and have no dog in this fight – except that I still have a friend or two at Grove Isle.

    Like

  63. Irene warner says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful comments and response.

    Like

  64. Webster says:

    In case someone missed it please go to the website’s home page and read the latest article dated 3/4/14 in which The Preserve Grove Isle Committee addresses most of the concerns that have been brought up in this blog. If you need to make a comment regarding their response to the developer’s latest e-mail, please do so by clicking on comments (in green).

    I not only agree with everything they have stated but also with the comments made so far. The only “best neighbors” we can hope for are the ones that currently live in the island. I have also lost complete trust on anything the developer says. Since the beginning they have managed to antagonize many residents by:

    • No formal introduction of the investors or development group and lack of communication and consultation regarding their intentions. (We were lucky to have discovered this because by now all this would be a mute point and we would probably be looking at demolition of club/spa/hotel this summer or fall).
    • Not communicating with our Board the fact that they had submitted paperwork to the city.
    • The hastily put together presentation in December.
    • The condescending and threatening tone of all their communications.
    • The fact that they have perpetuating all the misinformation regarding the project.
    • The apparent lack of professionalism regarding the work that has been presented to the residents.
    • The ill intentions of dividing their island’s residents for their personal gain (divide and conquer approach).

    These are by no means all the reasons why we should not even consider the old Russian proverb of “Trust, but Verify”. It’s all going to have to be verification from now on.

    Like

  65. Sheppard Faber says:

    As a real estate attorney in Miami for over 45 years. I was impressed with the thoroughness and quality of the memorandum prepared by the law firm retained by the Association. I have also been impressed by the quality and rapid responses of our Board to the communications put out by the development group. I am confident that our Board is dealing with this situation in the best way possible and thank and commend them for the job they are doing,

    Like

  66. Fernando says:

    I just read our board’s response to the developers latest communication. Thank you for letting the resident’s intentions be known and communicating it in an affective and professional manner.

    Like

  67. Irene Warner says:

    The developer is interested in one thing only – PROFIT! Their behavior and attitude are proof that they have no intention of being a “good neighbor” or are they concerned about our Grove Isle community or Coconut Grove community or any community.

    Like

    • Fernando says:

      That is exactly why he doesnt want to abide by Miami 21. He will make more money building one structure on the best corner of the island. His lack of concern for the Grove or its residents pales in comparison to his lack of concern for zoning ordinances. “The beached whale” is going to be a whole lot of stink.

      Like

  68. Fernando says:

    Has anyone seen any legal document from the city granting the developer any rights to build anything? They quote the legal memorandum put together by the attorneys representing the residents but nothing else. Why do the only quote our attorneys? Can we see a copy of the e-mail from the city official that gave them the go-ahead?

    Like

  69. Peter and Joe 601 Bldg 3 says:

    When will it be possible to see a land outline of where the beached whale will be placed In relation to building 3 as they claimed that the yacht office would not be touched??

    Like

    • Webster says:

      hahahaha, Its definetely not like the picture in their last presntation. It is right over the current club’s pool, tiki bar and restaurant. Half the distance of what we currently have between buildings a, b and c.

      Like

  70. Irene warner says:

    this is all smoke and mirrors in my opinion. they are intimidating, vengeful and are only concerned with getting their way. see my email response to them which I posted on this site yesterday for further comments.

    Like

    • Webster says:

      The developer is trying desperately to build something, anything. They want to make their case for the taller tower by saying it will have less of an impact on the island. Its not about the impact. Its about him making more money by selling bay views and building just on structure. It is not about what is convenient for us. At the end, it really doesn’t matter if he draws 2 couches and calls it a club. Its all about building within the current zoning laws. He doesn’t get to pick or chose which scenario is better for him.

      Like

  71. Irene Warner says:

    I just sent the following email in reply to the very offensive email from the developer. I presume others also received it?

    The email was threatening, and vengeful to say the least.

    I find your email and attachment to be disgraceful, offensive, inappropriate and vindictive.

    What you are stating is to your advantage solely and not to the current residents nor to the over all impact to Grove Isle and the surrounding community.

    While you may disagree with Miami 21 – I do not and neither do many others!!!!

    I believe your option is “FAR WORSE for the vast majority of residents” and the City of Miami attorney who wrote in your support is not the final decision maker.

    Your email is manipulative, vengeful and circumventing any honorable, ethical or moral approach to any development on the island. Further, I find your statements to be narcissistic and totally egotistical.

    You haven’t even started to address how ANY construction would be planned out and how would the materials, workers, equipment gain and have access to the property nor have you indicated any concern for how this would impact our daily lives, from the standpoint of noise, dirt, traffic, wear and tear on our roads, parking, etc. etc. etc.

    Irene Warner-Katz

    Like

  72. AL LEON says:

    TODAY I RECEIVED AN EMAIL FROM FOUR GROVE ISLE. THEY, IN THEIR ARGUEMENT FOR WHY THEIR PROJECT IS A GOOD THING FOR US INSTEAD OF MIAMI 21 REQUIREMENTS, SHOW A ROOM AS THE PROPOSED NEW ” CLUB “. IS THIS ALL THE CLUB IS, JUST A ROOM? WHERE IS OUR $MILLION PLUS IN MEMBERSHIP DUES SPENT? ON TOP OF THIS THEY SAY SEPARATELY THEY ARE ALSO SUBSIDIZING THE CLUB WITH THEIR OWN FUNDS. WHAT ARE WE GETTING FOR ALL THIS? ANYONE KNOW?

    Like

  73. Theodore 55 says:

    Today’s Miami Herald has an interesting article on the S. Fla luxury condo market. Despite the recent boom of luxury condo sales ( over $1,000/ft2), there is an over-supply in South Florida. Nearly 3 dozen luxury units in S. Fla have asking prices of more than $6,000 /ft2. A statistical sales review suggests a growing disparity between increasingly sticker-shocked buyers and optimistic sellers. Based on 2013 figures, luxury units sell at approx. 18 units per month. Currently, there is almost 3 years or 34 months of inventory. Generally, says the article, a healthy condo market has 6 months worth of inventory. This situation of a buyer’s market may not guarantee buyers will pay the arbitrary prices developers are asking for.

    Like

  74. Webster says:

    I would like to know if there has been any approach on behalf of Grove Isle Associates to look into the posiibility of a plan “B”. I guess once the appropriate city officials review all the documents and consider our attorneys arguments, GIA will realize that the only option is to remodel the club and facilities. This option is obviuosly what all residents have been clamoring for years. I doubt they will contemplate this scenario. It then moves into 5 story building(s). But there are so many zoning restrictions that he may not be able to build it(them) anywhere on the island, not even on the tennis courts. Is it possible to propose a buy back? Have our Association or interested investors run these facilities as they exist today?

    Like

  75. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    IN RESPONSE, I ALSO AM VERY CONCERNED ABOUT UNCONVENTIONAL RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE DEVELOPER AND THE CITY OF MIAMI. THEY HAVE A LOT OF INFLUENCE AS THEY DEVELOPED MANY PROPERTIES DOWN TOWN. I WILL BE GIVING THE NAME OF A REAL ESTATE AGENT ACROSS THE INLET SO THAT OUR COMMITTEE CAN GET IN TOUCH WITH THE 5 BUILDINGS. I THINK WE NEED TO STRESS THAT WE DO WANT A CLUB AS WE DO NOT WANT TO BECOME ANOTHER JOCKEY CLUB.

    Like

  76. anonymous says:

    Spoilage of the type weiner had tends to attract this type of problems. In total darkness they find a crack and uninvitedly come in. Light reveals their presence and sometimes it wil make them scatter away. They will however go somewhere else to feed and multiply. You can’t help but feel creeped out by their sense of entitlement and invulnerability.

    Remember not to leave anything spoiling under the sun and seal all cracks.

    Like

  77. Evan Katz says:

    “unconventional” channels are a grave concern and developer totally ignoring Miami 21. When should the facts be conveyed to our neighbors across the bridge as well? This is a potential negative impact to more than Grove Isle current residents.

    Like

  78. Anonymous says:

    Wow Evan and Irene! Thank you.

    Like

  79. Evan Katz says:

    In response to the email and letter sent by the developers we responded with this email:

    In reply to your angry and offensive email, please don’t threaten to close the club – make it a promise and close it! Be assured that we will not miss it and welcome its closure.

    It is more than a view that we are all concerned about – it is a change in lifestyle and changing the tropical environment and ambience while adding congestion to both South Bayshore Drive and our island to name just a few real concerns and objections.

    The entire issue of how any building can be constructed and built on the island is also of paramount concern to us.

    Our legal rights need to be protected and preserved and whether you have the legal right to develop the current proposal is still unknown unless you have made side agreements with parties unknown to the public and the city and county residents.

    Dr.Evan Katz & Irene Warner

    Like

    • Alberto P. MBA says:

      This is a very good point that has been raided by Mr. Katz. The blog hasn’t brought up enough the issue of the developer’s rights to even build in the island and much less their proposed project. Yes, It is addressed in the legal memo.

      Since the very start their lack of communication has always baffled me. Their new website doesn’t come even close to alleviating our valid concerns regarding the legality behind their actions.

      Their assertions of going full steam with the construction with no regards from our association’s valid concerns and a city approved permit is really disturbing. I hope that for all the parties concerned the new owners haven’t done anything through “unconventional” channels.

      It seems at this point they have taken their gloves off….along with their Mr. nice guy masks.

      Maybe its the time for them to get Mr. Weiner back on the phone and have the uncomfortable conversation regarding that refund.

      Like

  80. Theodore 55 says:

    I didn’t see anything wrong with the association seeking legal advice. That is their responsibility when something like this presents itself. Much information was revealed that most of us had no prior knowledge about.

    I found the letter in question extremely condescending, threatening, and in very poor taste. Up until now I gave the developer the benefit of the doubt. Now i know for sure who these people are, how they behave themselves and how they plan to “work in everyone’s best interest”.

    Like

  81. Webster says:

    The developer’s letter received today mentions that the committee would like unit owners to believe that ALL 510 residents are on the side of preserve grove isle. The developer even argues that preserve grove isle assertion is completely false. Well, i haven’t found anywhere on this website where it says that PGI represents ALL 510 residents.

    I support PGI (Preserve Grove isle). I believe if residents support the new project they can either express their opinions on this site or create their own. Over 105 people follow this site, I assume most support it. Lets hear from the ones who don’t. Share your ideas, let’s make it constructive. Let us know why you support the project as proposed. I know I have spoken my mind and would appreciate EVERYONE’s opinion.

    In the meantime, read what we have to say, share our concerns and fears. They are just our opinions. We are not discussing strategy here. We are not threatening a fight. I don’t see why the new owners perceive this as a threat, have amped their “threatening” tone and decided to try to paint PGI as perpetuating confusion, misinformation etc. Even going as far as suggesting misleading our fellow residents and wasting budgeted money on the expected benefit of only the residents in bldg 3 east side.

    PGI acted quickly to improve communication by immediately setting up this website. PGI immediately posted a copy of legal counsel’s memorandum on its website and handed out copies at the last board meeting. I feel comfortable with that.

    i wish the developer would have been that quick and clear after the purchase of the club. For months I asked and heard nothing until the proposed building plans were discovered. I remember year ago, pretty much everyone was guessing why the new club owners hadn’t put together a letter communicating their intentions. Introducing themselves to their new neighbors. I guess now I know.

    Like

  82. Fernando says:

    Our attorneys have put together a legal memo that is based on zoning laws, legal precedence and the development agreement between city and original developers.
    On the other hand, the new owners are making their case based on subjective arguments: benefits of privacy, long term property values. To aid their case, they have resorted to reminding us we can ill afford to spend money on legal counsel. Also, that the benefits will only be enjoyed by bldg 3 at the expenses of everyone else.
    Our budget has a legal fund and is intended to be used for instances such as this.

    My view is not whether or not EVERYONE will be negatively affected but to have NO ONE affected at all.

    Like

  83. Fernando says:

    The developers letter makes it sound like the project is a done deal, they break ground in 7 months and that we should not waste precious budget dollars.

    Our cause is not a waste of time. The project,as of now, is on hold. This opposition is to be expected, especially since this whole deal seems to have been kept under wraps. Kinda to fast track it without any input from the residents.

    Like

  84. Fernando says:

    Just received letter from club. Very aggressive tone. I guess it was to be expected. But why is he trying to divide the residents between bldg 3 east and everyone else? Does he feel some kind of heat? Miami 21 and original deal may not allow him to build in the tennis courts. His website still is not clear on what the working hours may be. Even if he repairs the bridge it won’t get any bigger.

    I live in bldg 3. Of course I don’t want this project as proposed. I don’t want it on the tennis courts either. I just cannot believe this letter is meant to turn us residents against one another and have us fight against ourselves instead of trying to stop the proposed project.

    Like

  85. J Dixon says:

    We love the island and are here for some peace and quiet. So we are horrified about the prospect of this huge tower coming with years of disruption, inconvenience, noise and dust. We thought about changing our windows to reduce the impact of all the building work… the cost of which is at least $30K. This is all a really bad surprise – We do not know what to do.

    Like

    • Fernando says:

      I have some friends that lived in Grove Towers while they built the Ritz towers 2 blocks away. They told me the noise and dust were horrible for a full 2 years. This is not good news for anyone,specially our older neighbors.

      I am also concerned about the perpetual shade this would cast on the small corridor between both towers. Not to mention the wind tunnel that will be created.

      Like

  86. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    AS A CARDIOLOGIST WHO HAS BEEN ON GROVE ISLE SINCE 1996 AND OWNED 2 APARTMENTS, I AM VERY PLEASED WITH THE ARGUMENTS BY OUR LAWYERS. I WANT TO COMMEND THE COMMITTEE FOR THEIR CHOICE OF LAWYERS.

    Like

  87. Elizabeth says:

    Could someone sum up the analysis of Weiss Serota etc. and whether or not there has been a response by Avila group? Can we stop them or simply slow them down?

    Like

    • Elizabeth, we have great confidence in our legal council’s “memorandum of law”. Our website will keep you posted as new information becomes available. Thanks for your communication.

      Like

    • Carole Brown says:

      The Legal Opinion does not address the Developer’s right to seek to build a number of 5 story buildings per acre with substantially more units under “Miami 21”. Does the possibility exist that he could successfully obtain approval for this?

      Like

  88. Matt Wright says:

    Is it true that the City of Miami knew about the tower proposal many months ago? How come they did not let all of us know until now? No consultation… How is this possible?

    Like

    • Matt, it is a fact that the City of Miami knew about this application by the developer for over a year. I am not certain what the City of Miami’s responsibilities are in this application stage. But I am certain that it is up to us residents and our Board and Committees to remain vigilant and know what is going on. This website and comment platform will unite and update all interested residents in the future.

      Like

  89. Mita R says:

    I am very mad that most of the trees and greenery on this end of the coconut grove island may be lost – replaced only by the usual ribbon of palm trees along the sea wall. This is so sad for Grove Isle and the Coconut Grove story.

    Like

  90. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    IN RESPONSE TO RICHARD 1, AS I SAID PREVIOUSLY I AGREE THE LOSS COULD BE 40 TO 50%. I CAN IMAGINE THAT DOWN THE ROAD THE DEVELOPER WILL OFFER TO BUY APARTMENTS AT 50 CENTS ON THE DOLLAR. I THINK HE WANTS TO MAKE GROVE ISLE A MINI FISHER ISLAND.

    Like

  91. Fernando says:

    No. I’m not planning on selling and moving out. Where else in Miami can you find anything close to Grove Isle???
    That is why I salute the people who took the initiative to Save/Preserve Grove Isle.

    Like

  92. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT THE DEVELOPER OWNS 40% OF THE ISLAND
    AND WE OWN 60%. IT WAS SET UP THAT WAY 35 YEARS AGO TO BENEFIT
    THE ORIGINAL DEVELOPERS. AS MOST OF YOU KNOW FOR ALL THIS TIME WE HAVE BEEN PAYING FOR A LOT OF MAINTENANCE ON THE 40%.

    Like

    • Fernando says:

      Privacy should not be much of an issue. I know front gate turns around many joggers, bikers and drivers. Just actively patrol the island perimefert with a golf cart and place a card or key combination lock to keep anyone from using our pools or accessing the parking lot.

      Like

      • Helen Dixon says:

        There are many who live on the island who are growing tired of the shrill tone of the fight. We had the opportunity to buy the land and the board did not but they have other priorities like spending hundreds of thousands of association dollars to fight Mercy Hospital and over a million redoing the three card rooms. We should stop fighting and cooperate with our new neighbors. The building process will be a pain for all of us but when finished we will all enjoy greater values.

        Like

        • After consulting with several real estate people, we believe our property values may go down for the following reasons:

          1. We are at this time at the peak of the current Miami boom values which will not last forever.
          2. We will be the residents of the “old buildings” behind the new ultra modern glass high rise.
          3. An accelerated need to keep up aesthetically (porches, glass, paint, hallways etc., we should see substantial new assessments and costs.
          4. Intense prolonged construction reduces desirability for our buildings.

          This issue should be about our being able to negotiate a fair resolution for both sides….it is not only about an 18 story glass high rise …OR… an “island covering low rise option”.

          Lets discuss our requests as well…such as a club, dining, lounge, tennis, pool, walkways, access to property etc. etc. etc. There are many, many options to consider besides the two extremes currently given to us.

          Like

        • Irene warner says:

          Cooperating is one thing but to be treated as if we should just cave in to what a dictator wants is also unacceptable. We both need to work towards a compromise that we all can live with is also necessary. Any construction needs to be fully vetted first and foremost. We learn from the past and work to improve the future.

          Like

        • Z Slow says:

          Did values of older properties on Brickell Key really increase after all the new towers went in on that island? You can buy an apartment on Brickell Key for $159K now (its price was $145K in 2004)… Clearly the Board needs to give us its view on these assumptions.

          Like

        • Theodore 55 says:

          Wow. 3 million???

          Are these card rooms located in the PH level? Please tell us you’re kidding. However, we cannot do anything about that at this moment. We still have time to do something about this project (if the city allows it to happen). Regarding the board,it is an election and some of the members are out and some still there. Elect the members you believe will not repeat these mistakes. Definitely need to look into the card room since 3 bldg hasn’t started renovations that I know of. The residents didn’t start this mess. The developer did. What were we supposed to do? Take their word at face value. We now know that is not possible. I would much rather have a few people volunteering to save our property values and lifestyle than try to play nice neighbor with a developer, especially this one. Just because we had the chance to buy and we didn’t doesn’t mean we should keep perpetuating the mistake.

          I look forward to hearing more from residents regardless of tone. Many are standing up for everyone’s rights. I don’t mean to sound disrespectful but my wife and I have been making sacrifices to live here. We do not want to lose that. But if anyone thinks property values are going to go up once the building is up’ then I will gladly sell them my unit at the newer higher prices.

          Like

          • Fernando says:

            I agree Theodore. First everything was kept quiet from us and second the developer has asserted many times he will build his tower after carefully considering our well being. How can someone possibly say that with no approval whatsoever. I don’t think any negotiating should be done at this point. Let’s hear from the zoning and planning department first. Then we take if from there. What we should be doing is coming up with plans b and c, just in case. I still believe that if it weren’t for the stink we raised, we would have never known about what the original docs contained; how they could be interpreted;how new laws including Miami 21 can affect anything that is built. But the little gold nugget was finding out they have no approval. What a power grab, bullying way of treating fellow neighbors. Thank God we called his bluff. And thank God for the residents that raised their voices and broke protocol during the December meeting (unveiling of the new tower).

            Like

  93. Fernando says:

    I know several people who lived in Brickell Key and moved out due to over construction and traffic jams (up to half an hour during rush hour). Our bridge is even smaller! I do not see how the bridge can be expanded since the shore entrance only allows for two lanes.

    If you have ever taken a boat ride around the eastern side of Brickell Key, you will see how intrusive and horrible the million dollar apartments look so close to the water. There is a picture on this site’s landing page that looks almost like the Tequesta Towers. A tall block of cement (adjacent to the walking path) followed by an even taller wall.

    As a resident, I feel that we have purposely been kept in the dark by the developer and previous owner, Mr. Weiner. I do not feel comfortable waiting for “promises” to materialize.

    Like

    • CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

      FERNANDO, IF I UNDERSTAND YOU IF WE ALL GAVE A $5K ANNUAL FEE WE WOULD BE GIVING THE OWNER $2,500,000/YEAR OR A 10% RETURN. THEY MAY BE INTERESTED AND IT IS A THOUGHTFUL IDEA BUT I DON’T THINK WE COULD GET ALL OF THE OWNERS TO PARTICIPATE AS MANY ARE ON FIXED INCOMES AND THOSE IN BUILDINGS A AND B MIGHT RESIST. I ALSO KNOW OWNERS WHO PAY NO FEES TO THE CLUB EVEN NOW. ALSO A 10% RETURN MAY NOT BE ADEQUATE FOR THE CURRENT OWNER. I ALSO BELIEVE THAT THEY WILL BE ABLE TO SELL ALL THEIR UNITS AS THEY WILL HAVE TOTAL BAY AND OCEAN VIEWS.

      Like

    • sarah mckellan says:

      I lived on Brickell Key in the “good days” before the original developer’s Master Plan was thrown out. It was a beautiful place to live; green space, walkable and a quiet oasis. It is now horrible, overcrowded and a traffic congested nightmare. The current proposal to build a new tower on Grove Isle is not only an aesthetic insult to ANY person overlooking the island by land or by sea (take a look at the aerial video: there is a balance and symmetry) but one that destroys a way of life that has existed for 30 years.
      We left an apartment that we really loved on Brickell Key because living there became untenable. Just leaving the island could take up to half and hour with the increase in traffic. Don’t let this happen to Grove Isle!

      Like

      • Mart W says:

        Sarah, I figure that older property values fell on Brickell Key when the original master plan was ripped up and the new towers were rammed in…

        Like

  94. Fernando says:

    am quite worried about the notion that is floating around regarding property values. Several residents really believe the new building will somehow translate into future grove isle buyers paying more to live in our 30 year old units. The new building will in no way increase our property value.

    It is safe to assume that bldg c east side has always had a better than average price per square foot. This “market premium” is due in large part to its city and bay views. This certainly has helped to keep prices high for everyone else because it is a fair market comp.

    We are just beginning to see east side owners putting units for sale at very aggressive prices. Once the view is blocked, it will only get worse. The increase in supply of units at bargain prices will not result in more sales. The new low prices may not attract buyers because our buildings on the outside are poorly kept and look very old; not too mention the conflicting styles (modern vs. tropical). Every unit owner (buildings A through C) will see prices go down. Remember, no one will compare us against the new building at $1,000/ft2. The new benchmark will be the sold and available units from the east side of building C. Many may end-up for sale at below current levels of $400/ft2.

    Who knows, maybe east units may drop 50% in price and bring everyone’s investment down. We cannot be fooled by a smoke screen and a “promise” of higher prices. In reality it won’t happen. Not the way the island is going to look. It’s a statement that was used to throw us off. This only helps to distract everyone from the nightmare that awaits us.

    I would really appreciate if my concerns are shared with the rest of the owners. Everyone has skin in this game. We can I’ll afford to loose the value and marketability of our homes.

    Like

  95. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    THANK YOU. I WILL CONTINUE TO MONITOR THE SITUATION CLOSELY AS BOTH
    MY WIFE AND I ARE COMMITTED TO PRESERVING THE CULTURE OF GROVE ISLE.

    Like

  96. CHARLES SMITHEN M.D. says:

    I HAVE BEEN LED TO BELIEVE THAT MR. WEINER HAS INDEMNIFIED THE MEXICAN GROUP FROM ALL LAW SUITS. HOW DOES THAT AFFECT THE LEGAL STRATEGIES?
    ALSO I BELIEVE THAT MR. WEINER STILL OWNS A SMALL PIECE OF THE FACILITIES.
    IS THAT CORRECT? HOW DOES HE OWN 25% OF THE AIR SPACE ABOVE BUILDING 3 IF THAT IS ALSO CORRECT?

    Like

    • Dear Dr. Smithen, Although we have heard some of these rumors or possibly facts… we have no way to corroborate their validity. We are committed to react to, and work with issues that are open and visible. There are plenty of open issues to confront at this time.
      Many thanks for your comments

      Like

  97. Fred Reichheld says:

    Could you please explain how it is possible that residents will lose their rights to access the walking path which circles the island (after all construction is complete)?

    Like

    • We don’t have your answer for that. We do not know what access, if any, we will have in that part of the island. It will probably be closed during the long construction and work zone period, due to safety.

      Like

  98. Dale Moses says:

    The email address for Xavier Suarez is incorrect. Please send us all the correct one so we can send an email on behalf of Preserve Grove Isle. Thank you. Dale Moses

    Like

  99. Alfredo Gutierrez says:

    What is the conclusion of the zoning law firm’s initial report? Are there any zoning issues that arise from the proposed project?

    Like

    • Mr. Gutierrz,
      This is a good question. Planning and zoning are always key issues on any development proposals. This is no exception in the “Preserve Grove Isle” situation. It is a bit early for us to give you any factual and definite information on this subject.

      Like

    • Fernando says:

      It’s funny how most of the renditions of the proposed building show it as if it was standing alone in the island. Nothing around it, a perfect 360 unobstructed view. You know why? ……….. Because no one pays good money to live in a condo with an obstructed view. If their investors saw bldg 3 sitting just 100 feet away the would probably walk away. If the island is going to look so good, include it in the renditions. There is a good reason why our towers are kept out of the picture. It won’t sell!

      So, can we really believe anyone is out there looking for our interest or sharing our concerns. Hard to believe considering the prospective buyers/ investors are not being shown the “ugly truth” either.

      Remember, once the developer sells… they are gone.

      Like

  100. Can you tell us what your alternative proposal would be for the island and all the property that has been purchased by Mr. Avila’s group? Until I know what the alternative might be, it’s hard for me to join in on opposing this development.

    My husband and I have been here for nine years and have only rarely used the activities and perks offered to club members, so a newer and bigger club wouldn’t be of much interest to us.

    Also, some issues, like the walking path, were addressed by Mr. Avila, who said that it would still be public. Do you have actual information that this won’t be the case?

    In summary, I feel I need more information, which I hope will soon be available. Like you, I love the island and would like to retain its character.

    Like

    • We feel and hope that the developer may have other, more acceptable, possibilities besides what he has given us to date.
      What this part of tropical Grove Isle can look like in the future is still unknown. We hope that there are other possibilities….with or without a glass high rise building…with or without a healthy functioning club…with or without long term construction….etc.
      The developer is the new owner, and we hope he makes good choices.

      Like

    • Matt Wright says:

      We are scared that we will be left with a huge building mass that is set forward as far as possible and eliminates all the green around the north of Grove Isle. The worst of what we see on Brickell Key maybe heading our way.

      Like

    • Henri-James Tieleman says:

      Dear Everyone,

      It is time organizing a meeting for the residents of Grove Isle, presenting/explaining all the facts, by the Preserve Grove Isle Committee and Grove Isle Board of Directors, in order to have everyone informed and accordingly ready to support this matter as it should. Information and understanding clearly all the legal sides is key to this matter, yet today, not clear to many of the residents.

      There should be a long Q&A, allowing to ask all of the unanswered questions from the presentation. Information is power, and it is not powerful enough today.

      Indeed, this will be the only way towards a solid Grove Isle Resident team, and confident residents, supporting both the Preserve Grove Isle Committee efforts on our behalf and the Grove Isle Board.

      Sincerely
      Henri-James Tieleman

      Like

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