||Chairman Suarez advised his colleagues that he had written a memorandum of understanding earlier this week delineating concerns he had about the Coconut Grove Playhouse and GableStage agreements; and had since received a response from the Mayor’s Office which he believed addressed and resolved most of the issues and areas of concern. He reviewed components of the response which proposed funding two theatres, a larger capacity theatre and a smaller theatre which would include an educational element. Chairman Suarez noted his concerns related to the long term agreement with GableStage had been resolved and the agreement now included a condition which allowed either party involved to terminate the contract for “convenience.” He added that a new agreement was needed for the “Coconut Grove Playhouse Foundation,” a non-profit organization established by Mr. Mike Edison.
Chairman Suarez stressed that the GableStage agreement, based on what was included in the terms and conditions to date; would bear no fiscal impact on the County. He stated it was his intent to hear from both Mr. Mike Edison and Mr. Joseph Adler about their proposals and noted that the County was already embarking on the design phases of the project which would include two theatres.
Commissioner Sosa voiced her confusion regarding the items being considered today (3/12). She noted that she was familiar with the plan to construct a 300 seat theatre that would be operated by GableStage and inquired if the foregoing proposed resolutions would change these plans. Commissioner Sosa expressed interest in understanding the fiscal impact these changes would have on the community, as well as the new projected timeframe.
Chairman Suarez advised his colleagues that the placement of Agenda Items 3G and 3H on today’s (3/12) Economic Prosperity Committee (EPC) Agenda helped advance the plans for the project and had not delayed the process.
Commissioner Moss requested clarification regarding the proposed resolutions (Agenda Items 3G and 3H) and inquired if future items would be forthcoming once the specifics were decided upon.
Chairman Suarez clarified that while Agenda Item 3G, the agreement between Miami-Dade County and GableStage Incorporated, would have no immediate economic impact on the community; Agenda Item 3H, the agreement with Arquitectonica International Corporation, the architectural, engineering and specialty consulting firm would cost the County excess of 2 million dollars for services rendered.
Chairman Suarez acknowledged and understood that his fellow Committee members may not feel comfortable voting on Agenda Item 3G because they had not been afforded the opportunity to review the specifics and details of the foregoing proposed resolution before today but voiced his hopes his colleagues would vote in support of the item thereby allowing it to be considered by the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) and not delay its consideration in Committee.
Chairman Suarez inquired from the County Attorney’s Office when the item would come before the BCC if it were forwarded by the Committee today with a favorable recommendation and questioned if the item could be forwarded without a recommendation.
Assistant County Attorney Monica Rizo advised the Committee members that the item would appear on the April BCC Regular Meeting Agenda and it was possible to forward an item to the BCC without recommendation from the Committee.
Commissioner Moss offered that today may not be the most appropriate time to hear from the public regarding Agenda Item 3G.
Commissioner Suarez requested speakers refrain from discussing specifics related to Agenda Item 3G and spoke about the need in the future to facilitate a discussion regarding “naming rights.”
Commissioner Levine Cava requested clarification regarding which items would be considered by the Committee members today and opened up for public comments. She noted that Agenda Item 3G included a requirement that the architectural firm perform an evaluation and feasibility study to determine whether a second, larger theatre could be constructed on the site and inquired if the administration and department would base future decisions and actions regarding the larger theatre upon receipt of the completed report.
Discussions ensued between Chairman Suarez and Commissioner Levine Cava regarding Agenda Items 1F1, 3G and 3H.
Assistant County Attorney Terrence Smith read the foregoing discussion item, Agenda Item 1F1; and the foregoing proposed resolutions, Agenda Items 3G and 3H, into the record. He reminded the Committee members that the public needed to be afforded a reasonable opportunity to comment on the above listed Agenda Items.
Commissioner Sosa inquired if Chairman Suarez would be able to request a waiver from BCC Chairman Monestime for Agenda Items 3G and 3H to being placed on upcoming BCC Regular Meeting Agenda, in the event quorum was lost.
Assistant County Attorney Monica Rizo confirmed that Chairman Suarez could request a waiver of the foregoing proposed resolutions, Agenda Items 3G and 3H, out of Committee and unto the upcoming BCC Agenda in the event quorum was lost.
Commissioner Levine Cava reiterated her request for clarification regarding what items were being considered and voted upon by the Committee members.
Chairman Suarez clarified that there were no items on today’s (3/12) Economic Prosperity Committee (EPC) Agenda pertaining to a final decision regarding construction of a second, larger theatre. He noted however that the public would be able to address or comment on any issue pertaining to the management and operation of the Coconut Grove Playhouse by GableStage.
Chairman Suarez inquired if the Committee could proceed to vote on the foregoing proposed resolutions, Agenda Items 3G and 3H, or if a public hearing was necessary.
Assistant County Attorney Terrance Smith advised the Committee members that a public hearing was necessary.
Discussions ensued between Chairman Suarez and Assistant County Attorney Monica Rizo regarding the waiver process. Ms. Rizo advised the Committee members in the event quorum was lost before the vote was taken on Agenda Items 3G and 3H; the items would remain in Committee and could not be waived unto the upcoming BCC Regular meeting agenda.
Chairman Suarez stated he would schedule an emergency EPC Meeting in such an event to ensure the items were considered and waived unto the next BCC Regular meeting agenda to avoid delays.
Discussions between Chairman Suarez and Ms. Rizo continued regarding the proper process for scheduling an emergency EPC Meeting.
Upon conclusion of the above discussions, Chairman Suarez opened the public hearing and invited Mr. Joseph Adler and Mr. Mike Edison to address the Committee members before hearing from the remaining speakers.
The following persons appeared before the Committee:
1. Mr. Joseph Adler, 7060 SW 48th Lane, Miami FL 33155 acknowledged and thanked all “GableStage” advocates for being present and for their continued support. He also recognized the supporters of “Save the Playhouse” and spoke about the importance of community involvement and civic responsibility. Mr. Adler requested the Committee members approve the “GableStage” management and operation agreement for a 300 seat theatre located on the site of the Coconut Grove Playhouse (CGP). He spoke of his extensive personal and professional experiences, involvement and knowledge of the CGP. Mr. Adler stressed that GableStage has never publically supported or voiced an opinion regarding the demolition of the CGP building and stated he believed such a decision should and would be made by the appropriate experts.
Mr. Adler pointed out that GableStage has been actively involved in the project for the past seven years and has had its plans approved by both local and State government. He spoke of his personal achievements and recognitions as well as the numerous accolades GableStage has been nominated for and/or awarded. Mr. Adler highlighted GableStage’s commitment to using local talent and its role in creating a “regional” theatre. He provided a brief history of the organization underscoring its fiscal responsibility and told the Committee members that GableStage was prepared to assume full artistic and financial responsibility for the operation of the theatre. Mr. Adler concluded by reviewing the benefits CGP would gain from a collaboration and relationship with GableStage.
2. Mr. Mike Edison, President of the Coconut Grove Theatre Foundation, provided a brief professional background and detailed his personal experience and involvement with the project. He spoke of his admiration for Mr. Joseph Adler and the accomplishments of GableStage but noted that the issue at hand was not about GableStage but rather preserving and restoring the iconic CGP. Mr. Edison recalled a list of legendary actors who had all graced the stages of CGP at one time or the other and highlighted Kevin Spacey’s commitment to the Playhouse. He stated that his intent was to simply restore the CGP back to its original glory as a large flagship theatre for the Miami community.
Mr. Edison spoke of his proposal to create a tax-exempt nonprofit organization (501(c)) and his personal investment in financing a feasibility study to explore the possibility of building a second, un-subsidized theatre. He informed the Committee members that the feasibility study found that it was possible to build and operate a successful theatre without public subsidy.
Mr. Edison noted that he was in receipt of a memorandum from the Mayor’s Office which appears to support his plans for the creation of a 501 (C). He reviewed specific components and requirements included in the memo and voiced his enthusiasm at the prospect of moving forward and working alongside the County to preserve and restore the CGP, as well as construct two theatres and a garage provided funding was secure.
Chairman Suarez noted that an educational component was guaranteed regardless of the proposal adopted.
Commissioner Moss noted that both Mr. Adler and Mr. Edison were “giants” in the artistic and theatrical community and voiced his hopes that they could both work together to create something special at CGP.
3. Ms. Natalia Coego, 2238 Monroe Street, #207, Hollywood FL 33020 appeared in support of Mr. Adler and the GableStage management and operating agreement.
4. Mr. Gregg Weiner, 2238 Monroe Street, #207, Hollywood FL 33020 spoke in support of Mr. Adler and the GableStage management and operating agreement.
Chairman Suarez voiced his concerns about losing quorum and requested speakers be mindful of the allotted time.
5. Ms. Greta Shulack, 7550 SW 102nd Street, Pinecrest FL 33156 spoke about the importance of promoting Art in South Florida and called for more emphasis to be directed to encouraging and growing the Arts rather than on theatres operating as businesses with a primary focus on profits.
6. Mr. Bruce Leslie, 1504 Bay Road, Miami Beach FL 33138 noted that he was the General Manager of the Coconut Grove Playhouse in the late 1990s and spoke about the infrastructural and design issues plaguing the building.
7. Mr. Nathan Kurland, 3132 Day Avenue, Miami FL 33133 spoke in support of restoring and reopening the Coconut Grove Playhouse (CGP).
8. Mr. Robert Holtzman, 20500 W Country Club Drive, #316, Aventura FL 33180 appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
9. Ms. Marlene V. Jones, 7420 SW 125th Street, Miami FL appeared in support of preserving and restoring the CGP façade as much as possible.
10. Mr. Hendrik Milue, 1244 Sorolla Avenue, Coral Gables FL, appeared in support of GableStage and spoke about the difficulties associated with operating a large (700 seat) theatre.
11. Mr. Max Pearl, 11850 SW 73rd Avenue, Pinecrest FL 33156 noted that he created the “Save the Coconut Grove Playhouse” Facebook page in 2009 and spoke in support of restoring the old CGP pursuant to the voters’ mandate.
12. Mr. Stephen Neal, 501 NE 107 Street, Miami FL 33161 appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
13. Mr. Timothy A Barber, Director of Lyric Theatre, 819 NW 2nd Avenue, Miami FL 33136, voiced his confidence and support for Director of Cultural Affairs and Senior Advisor to the Mayor Michael Spring and staff to craft a viable solution.
14. Mr. Steve Anthony, 6912 Almansa Street, Coral Gables, FL 33146 appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
Chairman Suarez spoke of the advances in technology and how these advances could be used to preserve more of the CGP than previously thought possible.
15. Mr. Hector Roos, 1925 Brickell Avenue, #1604, Miami FL 33129 read a letter written by Rosa Palomino into the record voicing her support of the GableStage management and operating agreement. He also noted his excitement regarding the reopening of a regional theatre.
16. Ms. Ann Anthony, 6912 Almansa Street, Coral Gables FL 33146, appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement. She also recognized the work done to date by Mr. Spring and staff.
17. Ms. Cynthia Joyce Clay, 240 NE 118th Street, Miami FL, appeared in support of constructing a larger theatre which would offer more diversity and accommodations such as rehearsal rooms.
18. Ms. Melanie Schoninger, 3242 Mary Street, S218, Coconut Grove FL 33133 appeared in support of preserving and restoring the CGP.
19. Mr. Al Alschuler, 2430 Brickell Avenue, #104A, Miami FL 33129 appeared in support the GableStage management and operating agreement.
20. Ms. Stephanie Leigh, 3400 SW 27th Avenue, Apt 601, Coconut Grove FL, appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
21. Mr. David Kwiat, 11207 SW 114th Lane Circle, Kendall FL appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
22. Ms. Celita Lamar, 4821 Ponce De Leon Boulevard, Coral Gables FL, spoke in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement and the establishment of a regional theatre.
23. Ms. Andie Arthur, Executive Director for South Florida Theatre League, 7020 Rue Grandville, Miami Beach FL, appeared in support of the establishment of a regional theatre under the management and operation of Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc.
24. Mr. Howard Rogut, 500 South Ocean Boulevard, Boca Raton FL 33432, appeared in support of restoring the CGP and establishment of a “resident” theatre. He expressed interest and recommended pursuing the “two theatre” business plan that was being proposed.
25. Mr. Michael Yawney, 748 NE 81st Street, #3, Miami FL 33138 voiced his support of the GableStage management and operating agreement and expressed concern regarding the “two theatre” proposal.
26. Ms. Gloria Murcoff, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Aventura Cultural and Arts Center, 2000 Island Boulevard, #1709, Aventura FL 33160, appeared in support of the Mr. Adler and the GableStage management and operating agreement.
27. Mr. Sylvan Seidenman, 15315 SW 167th Street, Miami FL 33187, appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
28. Ms. Freda Tschumy, 3610 Bayview Road, Coconut Grove FL appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
29. Ms. Gail Garrisan, 525 NE 8th Avenue, Ft. Lauderdale FL 33301, appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
30. Mr. Benjamin J. Chiszar, 2060 NE 194th Terrace, North Miami Beach FL 33179 voiced his support for the GableStage management and operating agreement but stated he believed the CGP should be restored to its original grandeur and size.
31. Mr. David Coulson, 820 Alhambra Circle, Coral Gables FL 33134 voiced his support for the establishment of a regional theatre under the management and operations of GableStage Inc.
32. Mr. Ronald Canizares, 4100 Palmarito Street, Coral Gables FL, appeared in support of a smaller regional theatre operated and managed under GableStage Inc. and Mr. Adler.
33. Ms. Rosalyn Stuzin, 445 Grand Bay Drive, PH 2E, Key Biscayne FL, appeared in support of a smaller theatre and the GableStage management and operating agreement. She voiced her opposition to the “two theatre” plan.
34. Mr. Steven Weinger, Volunteer President for GableStage Inc., 1881 S Bayshore Drive, Coconut Grove FL 33133, appeared in support of the GableStage management and operating agreement.
35. Ms. Pamela Salem, 9333 Harding Avenue, Surfside FL, spoke in support of Mr. Adler and the GableStage management and operating agreement.
36. Ms. Ruth Greenfield, 752 NW 7th Street Road, Miami FL 33136, appeared in support of Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc.
37. Mr. Clark Nobil, 500 N Shore Drive, Miami Beach FL, voiced his support of GableStage Inc. and spoke of the entity’s strong financial standing and practice.
38. Mr. Brian Alonso, President of Dade Heritage Trust, 190 SE 12th Terrace, Miami FL advised the Committee members that the CGP was placed on the Trust’s “10 most endangered site list” for Miami-Dade County due to the condition of the building. He noted the Trust supported the “2 theatre” approach and offered assistance regarding historic preservation and restoration.
39. Dr. Dr. W.J. Bleckhman, 5250 SW 84th Street, Miami FL 33143, appeared in support of Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc.
40. Mr. John Kramel, Director for Tigertail Productions, 842 NW 9th Court, Miami FL 33136, voiced his support for the GableStage management and operating agreement.
41. Mr. James Randolph, 1030 NW 87th Street, Miami FL appeared in support of GableStage Inc.
42. Mr. Peter Haig, 100 Ashbury Road, #303, Miami FL, read a statement from Mr. Tarell McCraney into the record voicing his support of GableStage Inc.
43. Mr. Andrew Noble, 555 NE 30th Street #202, Miami FL 33137, appeared in support of GableStage Inc.
44. Mr. Richard Heisenbottle, 2199 Ponce De Leon Blvd, Coral Gables FL, appeared in support of the “two theatre” proposal, preservation and restoration of the CGP and the GableStage management and operating agreement.
45. Ms. Rose Pujol, 1755 Fairhaven Place, Coconut Grove FL 33133, appeared in support of GableStage Inc.
46. Mr. Javier Gonzalez, President of the Coconut Grove Village Council, 3622 Solana Road, Miami FL 33133 spoke of the Council’s involvement with the CGP project process and requested the Council be kept abreast of any and all new developments so that the community may be afforded the opportunity to comment and participate in the process.
47. Ms. Mei Li Kan, 7800 Carlyle Avenue, Miami Beach FL 33141, appeared in support of GableStage Inc.
48. Mr. Jonathan Rose, 5 Island Avenue, #11E, Miami Beach FL 33139, voiced his support for Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc.
49. Mr. Frank Wendeln, 10266 SW 59th Street, Miami FL, spoke in support of preserving and restoring the CGP.
50. Mr. Zack Myers, 10750 SW 11th Street, Miami FL, spoke in support of creating a regional theatre and using local talent and management.
51. Mr. Peter Evans, 285 W Mashta Drive, Key Biscayne FL 33149 spoke in support of creating a smaller regional theatre operated by GableStage Inc and Mr. Adler.
52. Ms. Sally Stern, 10425 SW 134th Street, Miami FL 33176, appeared in support of preserving and restoring the CGP.
53. Ms. Cornelia Turk Philipson, 8355 SW 89th Street, Miami FL 33156, appeared in support of Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc. She voiced her hopes that the character of the CGP could be preserved and restored under the management of Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc.
54. Dr. Oren Wunderman, 10850 SW 136th Court, Miami FL 33186, appeared in support of Mr. Adler and the GableStage management and operating agreement.
55. Mr. George Chivonny (phonetic), 2 NE 44th Street, Miami FL, appeared in support of Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc.
56. Professor Phillip Church, 7551 SW 96th Terrace, Miami FL 33173, voiced his support for Mr. Adler and GableStage Inc. managing and operating the CGP. He called for the preservation and restoration of the façade of the Playhouse and suggested repurposing the 2nd building/theatre into a museum.
Chairman Suarez closed the public hearing after no one else appeared wishing to speak.
There being no further questions or comments, the Committee members proceeded to vote on the proposed resolutions, Agenda Items 3G and 3H, as presented.