Will the unique culture of Miami’s Coconut Grove survive?

By Suzette Laboy, Associated Press : sfchronicle – excerpt

MIAMI (AP) — With its artsy vibe, lush landscapes and free-roaming peacocks, Coconut Grove has long been known as a bohemian paradise.

It’s also Miami’s oldest neighborhood, established along the shores of Biscayne Bay in 1873 before the city existed. Located nearly 5 miles from what is now Miami’s downtown, its streets are shaded by thick canopies of trees and its housing stock includes some of Miami’s oldest homes.

But as new architecture goes up and its business district revitalizes, Coconut Grove is at risk of losing its unique history and tropical culture. Older homes are being turned into mansions of concrete and glass. Locals are fighting to reduce the size of new construction and preserve green space…

orge Perez, one of the most influential names in Miami real estate, has called Coconut Grove home for over 35 years and says he’s committed to maintaining its historic charm. His company, The Related Group, along with The Terra Group, are behind the new Park Grove project, a 297-unit luxury condo development on the Coconut Grove waterfront. The project features three wavy towers, a restaurant and “lush landscaping that the Grove is known for,” Perez says, along with a park “filled with sculptures that will be very much in the spirit of the Grove.”…(more)

Coconut Grove was one of the choice distinations for Beaux Artists leaving Pinellas Park for greener pastures. They found friendly open-hearted fun-loving easy-going creative spirits there.

Now the Grove is facing the same devastation all cities are as unfriendly groups like The Related Group bring their bag of tricks to gentrify the neighborhoods they want to overtake. One of their tricks is to make deals with local governments to replace public parking with bike rental stations to gentrify neighborhoods.

Don’t know how successful they will be getting people out of their air-conditioned cars in Florida, but I’m sure they will try. I’m also sure the Coconut Grove folks will fight back to preserve what they love the same way we all do.

 

 

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