Tag Archives: Hotel

Yet another plan for condominiums on Grove Isle

Grove Isle

Meanwhile…  one more peaceful afternoon on Grove Isle

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

The developer of 4 Grove Isle has submitted new architectural plans to the City of Miami. The developer is now seeking approval to build two adjacent 80 ft. high residential buildings.  The proposed structure wraps along the coast of the island from approximately the position of the current Spa, past the hotel and current pool, to the southeast corner off Building 3.  In addition, the new proposed “Jetsons Spaceship” club occupies the position of four current tennis courts and possibly the yacht club.   The Board and legal counsel are following these new events with vigilance.  The submitted plans are also available in the manager’s office of Building 1 and 3.

It must be emphasized that the Developer has NOT received permission to move forward on any development. This is an exercise to gain support for the developer from Grove Isle residents.

Grove Isle Wrap Around

Grove Isle latest plan have massive structures wrapping around the island – note the position of club house which take the space of four tennis courts and possibly the yacht club (Image source: developer’s architects)

Your attention is drawn to the fact that a number of issues still remain unanswered:

  1. In their Memorandum of Law, Weiss and Serota (Grove Isle Board’s lawyers)  relied on  the Settlement of 1977 to argue that Grove Isle is already fully developed. How does this argument interface with the new proposals before the City of Miami Planning Board?
  2. The Developer previously proposed an 18 story tower to the City of Miami.  Where does that proposal stand?  Has it been withdrawn, disapproved or is it still pending?
  3. The Developer modified the proposed 18 story tower to a 12 story tower.  Where does that proposal stand?  Has it been withdrawn, disapproved or is it still pending?
  4. Where does the effort of the Developer to rezone part of his property to Miami 21 T6-8 now stand?  (This would allow for the Tower).  Has that been withdrawn, disapproved or is it still pending?
  5. In the event of the  Developer possibly gaining permission to build 80 ft high multi-story residential condos, can he later build upward on top of  them if granted a rezoning or a variance?  Given the high density of the proposed buildings, is this a ruse to encourage residents of Grove Isle to support an 80 ft high multi-story project with a view to turning it into a fully-fledged high tower at a later stage?
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Grove Isle: Seduction… or Attempted Seduction

Grove Isle New Club Facilities are presented

Grove Isle New Club House Presentation

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

Call to Order

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

Maintenance Issues

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

Grove Isle Club

Grove Isle Club Members and Residents Listen

Timing of demolition of Club Facilities

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

New Club Facilities

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

Alternative club facilities during construction

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

Club dues during construction

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

Update Club Rules after construction

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

Q&A

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

Comments

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

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

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Grove Isle project risks damaging neighborhood

The Preserve Grove Isle campaign (PGI) is responding to local queries regarding the developer’s proposal for the 4 Grove Isle site.  Families living on the island have insisted that PGI share with the neighborhood some of the main concerns regarding the project.

A copy of the document being distributed follows below:

 Urgent Neighborhood Notice

A fourth highrise on Grove Isle has been proposed

Does this affect you?  Should you and your community be involved?

Grove Isle - Coconut Grove - Possible Impact

ONE IF BY LAND, TWO IF BY SEA: An additional development the size of one of the existing buildings on Grove Isle will require demolition of the hotel, spa, restaurant and the importation to the island of the materials for the new building, parking garages, roadways, pools and other amenities — either via S. Bayshore and Fair Isle Drive (LAND) or via barges coming down the channel from Vizcaya (SEA). If the latter, it will be necessary to dredge adjacent to the island in order to bring the barge to the island, given their draft and the depth of the water adjacent to the building site (click to enlarge image).

Although the sale of this property and its proposed development has been kept secret from our community, our goal has been to make the plan, its legal basis and its details transparent so that the communities impacted may participate in relevant discussions.

The detail: a developer wants to demolish Grove Isle’s club, boutique hotel, restaurant, lounge, spa and pool, in favor of an ultra-modern glass and concrete 18 story building on the northeast side of the island.

Video of meeting the neighborhood

Information campaign regarding 4 Grove Isle Project begins in the North Grove

We thought you would like to be aware that the proposal will likely:

  • cause as much as 2-3 years of severe disruption and inconvenience with many tens of thousands of tons of material being moved either by land or by sea requiring thousands of heavy truck movements and/or barges & dredging having a significant negative impact on the ecology of our marine environment, including manatee habitat.
how much does your building weigh mr avila?

Tens of thousands of tons will have to be moved in a highly restricted and sensitive environment

  • cause damage and inconvenience from demolition dust and debris, pile driving, deep escavations, and construction noise. This will negatively impact local houses, boats, porches, and trees.
  • further slow traffic on and access to South Bayshore Drive – especially during the construction phase. This will further impact access to the Coconut Grove Business District. It may require construction workers & subcontractors to use street parking in the neighborhood (off island).
South Bayshore Drive traffic and construction related street parking

North Grove: South Bayshore Drive traffic / construction related street parking

  •  Lead to the privatization of the island, excluding non-residents from use of the club and other amenities.

We have made legal progress with the city to the point that this development plan is on hold for further review. This gives us and the wider community time to reflect on the full impact of this development proposal on the residents of the island, of North Coconut Grove and Coconut Grove in general and to make our voices heard.

Many existing residents and neighbors are fighting the developer’s plan and have given us, the “Preserve Grove Isle” movement, their support to carry our message to the Coconut Grove neighborhoods and civic associations. Our opinion poll shows that the majority of residents of the island are against all high density development.

Please contact us to help stop or at least shape what is being proposed for our neighborhood via our e-mail address:

savegroveisle@outlook.com

Tell us how your neighborhood could participate in this issue and control its impact on the north grove.  Please take a moment to object to the proposal by writing letters to Miami and environmental officials immediately.

CITY OF MIAMI
Mayor Tomas Regalado: tregalado@miamigov.com 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, Florida 33133
District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff: msarnoff@miamigov.com 3500 Pan American Drive, Miami, Florida 33133 305-250-5333

Assistant City Manager: Alice Bravo (abravo@miamigov.com) Planning Director Francisco Garcia: fgarcia@miamigov.com 444 SW 2nd Avenue, 3rd Floor Miami, Florida 33130 305-416-1470 General Number for Planning Department: 305-416-1400

Assistant Director: Luciana Gonzalez (LGonzalez@miamigov.com )

Zoning Chief: Paula De Carolis (pauladecarolis@miamigov.com )

Zoning Administrator Irene Hegedus: ishegedus@miamigov.com 444 SW 2nd Avenue, 4th Floor Miami, Florida 33130 305-416-1491

Land Development, Chief Antonio E. Perez (AEPerez@miamigov.com) 444 SW 2nd Ave 3rd Floor Miami, FL 33130

FLORIDA DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION
Biscayne Bay Environmental Center – Pamela Sweeney 305-795-3486
Biscayne.Bay@dep.state.fl.us

MIAMI-DADE DERM
Sean McCrackine 305-372-6789
mccras@co.miami-dade.fl.us

TROPICAL AUDUBON SOCIETY
Laura Reynolds & Susan Shapiro 305-667-7337
biscbaycoalition@tropicalaudubon.org

 

URGENT NOTICE IMAGE

Urgent North Grove Neighborhood Notice regarding 4 Grove Isle

__________________________________________________________________________________________________

Grove isle was planned in the 1970’s, built in the early 1980’s, and has remained unchanged for the past 30+ years. This developer believes that a settlement for development with the city of Miami in 1977 that allowed construction of what is currently on the island now allows the demolition of the hotel and building of a new highrise tower under zoning laws operative at the time of the settlement. Others now contest that any development, if any at all is allowed, must conform to current zoning laws—Miami 21. It is crucial that a robust public planning review process under Miami 21 is undertaken whereby the developer is required to provide all the requisite information so that the planning department and the public have an opportunity to review and comment on that information. This is a legal matter that is currently in dispute.

Demolition Grove Isle must write to officials

The proposed 4 Grove Isle project has wide implications for the North Grove & Coconut Grove in general.

 

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Grove Isle Board provides update regarding 2009 litigation case

The Grove Isle Condominium Board today issued an update on the status of the litigation that was initiated in July 2009.  This litigation addresses 

  • the private versus public character of the Grove Isle Club facilities and the accessibility of Grove Isle to non-residents and non-members of the Grove Isle Club
  • the assessment of annual Club dues as apposed to the initial membership fee provided for in the Declaration of Condominium
  • the Association’s responsibility for the payment of total costs and expenses for maintaining, managing, and operating the bridge, gatehouse, security systems, roadways, and other amenities including providing security service and lighting for the benefit of all Grove Isle. 

Recently a three-judge panel of the Third District Court of Appeal said the Grove Isle Association lawsuit was wrongfully dismissed with prejudice by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge John SchlesingerPlease see the attached document from the Board to read further about the current status of this case (please click on image to open document).

Grove Isle Condo Association Memo - 3 April 2014

Grove Isle Condo Association Memo – 3 April 2014 (click on image to open)

 

 

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Coconut Grove Village Council to be updated on Grove Isle developments

Preserve Grove Isle is expanding its information base regarding this unpopular Grove Isle development to our friends and neighbors in “The Grove”.   Background regarding the proposal will be discussed at the next  Coconut Grove Village Council meeting.  This is scheduled to take place on Tuesday March 25th  at Frankie Rolle building [3750 South Dixie Highway] at 7pm.

Coconut Grove Council Meeting

Coconut Grove Council Meeting Agenda – March 25, 2014

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Preserve Grove Isle: Meeting to discuss developer plans scheduled for March 20th at 6pm

The owner/developer of Grove Isle 4 and his architect, RTKL, will make a presentation showing the proposed 18 story, high rise tower and an alternative plan showing new condominiums in several 5 storey buildings replacing the hotel, restaurant, lounge, deck, club pool, spa, and many of the tennis courts.

Grove Isle Condo Assoc Memo 13 March 2014

Grove Isle Condo Association meeting now scheduled for 6pm on 20 March 2014

In connection with this presentation, please be aware of the following:

1.  The developer has no approvals to construct any new buildings on the Grove Isle 4 property at this time. It has not been determined, based on various legal agreements executed in 1977-1979  by the developer and others, when Grove Isle was initially developed and based on a recent memorandum of law prepared by our attorneys, that the developer has the right to expand the development on the Grove Isle 4 property.

2. The alternative plan layout you will see on Thursday is based on a series of 5 story buildings, which will cover MOST of the 4 Grove Isle property. We believe that plan will be purposely drawn to be extremely unattractive and therefore unacceptable to the Grove Isle Residents so that the proposed 18 storey high rise tower becomes the “preferred” plan.

Therefore, it is important to understand that both plans may be unacceptable to Grove Isle residents and various legal documents and agreements may prevent either development concept from being constructed.

3.  These two opposite and radical plans do NOT conform to Grove Isle or its surrounding neighborhood.

It’s time for the developer and the Board of Directors to put our current resident’s “well being” and “character” of our island ahead of corporate monetary interests.

Using current land use laws, compromise, and transparency are always more productive than this type of forceful, and deceptive tactics.

We hope that a satisfactory negotiated compromise can be openly reached.

Memo Image

Grove Isle Memorandum Regarding Developer Plan A and B

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Miami Herald: “Grove Isle condo owners upset about plans for fourth tower”

Grove Isle Residents unhappy with development

Miami Herald — Grove Isle Residents unhappy with development (March 7, 2014)

The Miami Herald has now picked up on our 4 Grove Isle situation. The story was published on the “front page” of the Miami Herald’s Business section today!  This is a giant step in spreading and explaining our deep concerns regarding this proposed construction.  Notably, it confirms that the City of Miami has NOT made ANY decisions regarding our island.

Thank you for all of your continued support and concern for the future of our GROVE ISLE.
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Preserve Grove Isle Committee responds to developer (Grove Isle Associates) e-mail dated 27 February 2014

AERIAL VISTA OF THE THREE RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS ON GROVE ISLE

AERIAL VISTA OF THE THREE RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS ON GROVE ISLE (click image to open video)

The recent email and letter (of 27 February 2014) sent to every owner/member of the Grove Isle Club by the new developer was replete with omissions and inaccuracies.

THE TRUTH

1. Their architect’s computer image is inaccurate as to the distance between buildings 3 and the proposed new 18 story glass and concrete high-rise. They have portrayed the distance as a substantial distance when, in fact, these plans call for the proposed building to be 40% closer to building 3 than building 3 is to building 2.

2. The developer DOES NOT presently enjoy a right to construct a residential tower on the island. Neither the City nor any court has made a determination that there is a right to develop as of this time.

3. The former deputy City Attorney (in February 13, 2013) did not state that the development group has the right to build what it presented. She merely commented on a letter espousing one view of governing documents. That argument and her position on it is currently under-re-evaluation by the City Attorney’s office based on our attorneys’ well-reasoned memorandum of law. Any development will not depend solely on the City Attorney, however, since it is the Planning, Zoning, and Building departments that make those decisions after following various administrative procedures, many of which are subject to appeal to the Planning and Zoning Appeals Board and the City Commission. None of this has occurred yet.

4. The developer is interested in doing what is BEST for the developer and not for Grove Isle #1, #2 or #3, and its existing 510 apartments It is beyond naïve to think that the developer is truly concerned about long time Grove Isle residents. He is concerned with maximizing his economic return on his $24 million investment. He should be aware that the gross value of the existing apartments on Grove Isle is well over $400 million dollars!

5. The developer has not submitted plans for new club facilities (or tennis courts). Rather, he depicted a rendering of a club room and state “Subject to Change”. How can anyone rely on a developer who fails to advise and show all of his plans in advance? Why not reveal exactly what they plan on building?

6. The developer’s threat of building more units if we don’t agree with his plans is merely an attempt to bully and threaten Grove Isle owners. Any proposal would have to be reviewed by the City’s Planning and Zoning Department. No such proposal has been submitted or reviewed.

7. The developer will not get the City or a Court to approve another 445 units. These threats from the developer must stop!!! If you want to be our Grove Isle neighbor, act like one and stop your threatening tactics.

8. There are numerous other issues that the developer will have to address before proceeding, that go beyond zoning and planning and land usage:

a. What happens to our bridge when heavy construction vehicles cross it?
b. How do they remove hundreds of tons of debris from Grove Isle?
c. How will they deliver hundreds of tons of building materials such as concrete, steel and glass?
d. How many parking spaces will Grove Isle #1, #2 and #3 lose with this construction and thereafter?
e. How does the developer’s plan impact our traffic and South Bayshore Drive traffic?
f. What does DERM have to say about this project?
g. Will this plan comply with sewer, water and other City issues?
h. How will this construction match or fit with existing structures? Will the tropical “state of the island” be lost?
i. Honestly, how long will this project take……we feel 2 years minimum.

The entire development approval process has many different paths. The length of time to complete this process is uncertain under normal circumstances, and will be made more so if the Grove Isle Association and residents are uncooperative. We feel we are in the beginning stages of what could end up being a protracted process. The developer’s only hope of developing within a reasonable period of time is to negotiate with us and ultimately provide a mutually satisfactory solution.

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Grove Isle Board respond to recent developer communications

As you may be aware, the Board and Committee has written two responses to threatening communications from the developer.  Copies of these are included below for your ease of reference.  The Committee awaits legal advice and will respond to developments regarding the project shortly.

Grove Isle Board response

Grove Isle Board response to developer (21 February 2014)

Grove Isle Board response to developer communications (28 February 2014)

Grove Isle Board response to developer (28 February 2014)

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Grove Isle proposed new tower — Condo Association receives legal opinion

Approximate Position and Oriention of Proposed Tower for Grove Isle

Approximate Position and Orientation of Proposed Tower for Grove Isle

The Preserve Grove Isle Committee is pleased to share with you the legal opinion received from attorneys engaged by Grove Isle Condominium Association.  The opinion concerns the legality of the demolition of the Glove Isle Hotel and Club and its replacement with a 18 story residential tower.   It is certainly an interesting read as it outlines the key aspects of the proposal and its (lack of) planning merit.   The attorneys have noted that the proposal marks “a stunning departure from established law in reversing more than 30 years of legislation.” 

Please click this link or icon below to receive your copy.

Legal Opinion Icon

Grove Isle Proposed New Tower – Condo Association Legal Opinion

Please ensure that you subscribe to our mailing list at the bottom of this page.  This way you will better informed and fully aware of developments as they happen — do encourage others to do the same.

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What do you think? Make your views known!

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Grove Isle residents seriously challenged by proposed high density development

Dear Grove Isle Resident,

Welcome to the first island wide e-mail and web based communications program. We hope to enable a better and faster method of communications in order to improve our Grove Isle quality of life.

A threat to Grove Isle

Grove Isle Under Threat

As most of you already know, there is a proposal to construct an 18 story glass and concrete high-rise building at the tropical tip of Grove Isle. The plans reveal that this structure will sit very close to Building Three and will replace the current Grove Isle Hotel, The club restaurant, social areas, bar and swimming pool.  We may lose our walking path and the right to access the area.

The construction time span estimate has ranged from 1 ½ years to 2 ½ years. Many people feel that this modern structure would forever change the tropical and special environment of Grove Isle.

The newly formed Preserve Grove isle Committee, supported by the Grove Isle Board of Directors has been established, together with this special newsletter and email, to oppose this long term construction. We feel that this glass building would be detrimental and destructive to the character and aesthetics of our tropical island.

Over the last few weeks a large number of residents have asked how to stop or alter this situation.  We formed the Preserve Grove Isle Committee to accomplish exactly that.

The first step in our opposition to this proposed building was to organize a powerful legal team to begin to formulate the needed steps in areas of zoning, land use and preservation of land style. This step has been taken and the work is in progress.

The next step is to activate the “social opposition” to this project, which we find to be very strong. To begin this step we ask you all to join us in our loud and vocal opposition to this by sending a very important and urgent message to a few important Miami authorities that need to hear our position. They will take our opposition to this project very seriously. Your voices will be heard.

Here is what to do:

SEND YOUR PERSONAL E-MAILS AND LETTERS IN A STAMPED ENVELOPE TO THESE MIAMI OFFICIALS. USE THIS SAMPLE LETTER OR USE YOUR OWN WORDS AND FEELINGS.

Demolition Grove Isle wriote officials

Yours,

PRESERVE GROVE ISLE COMMITTEE

Disclaimer:  All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on our website is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our mail, website or links.  This site and e-mail’s commentary, opinions, and recommendations represent the casual, personal and subjective views of the authors and are subject to change.  You may opt-out from this site or mailings at any time via the options on the contact page or the ‘follow’ dialogue box at the bottom of this page.
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