Miami-Dade County sues Miami over Coconut Grove Playhouse veto

Lawsuit seeks to quash mayor's veto, claims 'due process' violated

By Peter Burke - Managing Editor

Miami-Dade County is suing the city of Miami to determine the future of the Coconut Grove Playhouse.

MIAMI - Miami-Dade County is suing the city of Miami for halting a long-planned renovation project for the historic Coconut Grove Playhouse.

Mayor Francis Suarez vetoed the plan last month after city commissioners voted 3-2 in favor of renovation.

The 62-page lawsuit, filed Monday in Miami-Dade County court, seeks to quash the mayor's veto.

Miami-Dade County, Florida International University and GableStage had put together a $23 million package to overhaul the building, while preserving the theater's facade, and to build a 300-seat theater.

"We're the only ones that have a viable solution right now," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez told Local 10 News last month. "There is no viable solution right now from anybody else because they don't have the money."

But Suarez said the county's plan "does not preserve 1-square-foot."

The city, county and preservationists have been at odds about what to do with the languishing building, which has fallen into disrepair since it closed in 2006.

"We're in disagreement with the back and the usefulness and the functionality of the back," Gimenez said.

Suarez has argued for total preservation of the state-owned playhouse, which first opened in 1927.

In its lawsuit, the county argues Suarez's veto "violated the essential requirements of the law and due process."


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