Miami mayor vetoes plan to overhaul Coconut Grove Playhouse

County wants to overhaul building, build 300-seat theater

By Michael Putney - Senior Political Reporter

MIAMI - It's back to square one for the Coconut Grove Playhouse as Miami Mayor Francis Suarez vetoed a plan Friday to renovate the historic structure, which has been closed for years.  

The mayor rejected a plan approved recently by the Miami Commission in a 3 to 2 vote.  

The mayor said the plan didn't respect the historic character of the playhouse, which is owned by the state. 

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 are the only ones that have a viable solution right now," Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez said last week. "There is no viable solution right now from anybody else because they don't have the money, the capacity to do what they say they want to do."

"The people of the city of Miami voted for restoration, not demolition, 14 years ago," Carol Lopez Bethel argued at a commission meeting. 

Suarez said he's hopeful a rehabilitation plan agreeable to all parties can still be worked out.
 

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