By Susan Cumins, CREW-Miami Communications Director
From new residential and mixed-use projects to planned parks and infrastructure improvements, Coconut Grove is riding a wave of activity that will benefit residents, property owners and the neighborhood’s workforce.
At CREW-Miami’s monthly luncheon held on June 19, “Coconut Grove: Rebuilding Its Competitive Edge,” an expert panel moderated by Suzanne Amaducci-Adams, a partner at Bilzin Sumberg, discussed how private and public investment is shaping the next chapter of Coconut Grove’s historic waterfront community.
Panelist David Martin, President and COO of Terra Group, discussed his latest project, Grove at Grand Bay, consisting of two luxury residential towers. The interest the Grove project is receiving from prospective buyers reflects the housing boom Miami-Dade is experiencing. Mr. Martin noted that all the units in the first tower were reserved, with about 50% of the buyers being locals; the others are foreign nationals from countries including Canada and Belgium.
Miami District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, whose district encompasses the Grove, talked about efforts to create additional parks in the Grove. He told luncheon attendees that the convention center property is expected to be razed in October, once the TV show Burn Notice finishes filming its final season. He said the site is slated to become an exciting waterfront park that area residents and visitors will enjoy.
A mixed-use development spearheaded by Pointe Group Advisors is planned along Grand Avenue, the Grove’s main thoroughfare and an important neighborhood connector. CREW-Miami President Margaret Nee, who serves as Pointe Group’s Vice President of Development, discussed the progress of Grove Village on Grand, a multi-block project in the works since 2007. Pointe Group has closed on 30 of the 100 parcels it intends to build on, and expects to take title to the remaining ones in the coming months. Grove Village will include market-rate rental homes plus new retail and office space that will continue to reactivate the area.
The Old Grove’s bohemian character remains intact enough that Sapient, a global advertising, marketing and technology firm, decided to move its South Florida operation there from South Beach. “We needed more space and we wanted to be somewhere really cool,” said Doug Dietz, the firm’s Southeast Marketing Delivery Lead. He has plans to create hip office spaces with lighted exterior features that will add a “Times Square feel” to part of the Grove. Sapient’s workforce is projected to expand to 400, and those employees and their families will likely reside in the Grove, as well as patronize businesses in the village center.
This influx will benefit the businesses and property owners who have united to form the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District (BID). Its purpose is to fund marketing initiatives and to increase the area’s safety and amenities. Panelist Scott Silver, Chair of the BID’s Capital and Infrastructure Committee, described how the district has raised funds for street improvements and expects to increase revenues to carry out additional initiatives as the Grove’s current and planned developments are completed.
Panelists agreed that this is an exciting time to live and work in Coconut Grove and that the projects they discussed are only the beginning. As Mr. Martin put it, “We are on the cusp of something special — a real renaissance in the Grove.”