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Survey finds Grove voters prefer smaller, cheaper redevelopment of playhouse

Survey commissioned by GableStage found 78% favor county's $20M plan
February 05, 2018 02:15PM

The Coconut Grove Playhouse and Ken Russell (Credit: Wiki Commons)

The future of the Coconut Grove Playhouse is still undecided, but a new report shows that residents prefer a cheaper, smaller redevelopment plan.

Nearly 80 percent, or 312 of 400, of Miami residents surveyed by Bendixen & Amandi International favored Miami-Dade County’s $20 million plan to renovate and reopen the historic playhouse, according to the Miami Herald. GableStage, the theater company that would manage the playhouse under the county’s plan and stands to benefit from the proposal, commissioned the survey.

Voters picked the county’s plan over that of arts patron Mike Eidson. Eidson wants to restore the entire structure and build a 700-seat theater costing at least $48 million, more than double what the county is pitching.

Miami-Dade has suggested replacing the playhouse’s 1,100-seat auditorium with a modern, 300-seat theater. But in December, the Miami City Commission voted in favor of preserving the theater’s exterior facade.

As a sort of compromise, the city could contribute $10 million to the project, increasing the size to about 450 seats, county commissioner Xavier Suarez said. Suarez’s son, Francis Suarez, was elected in November as the city’s mayor.

The state-owned property stopped operating as a theater in 2006 after accruing overwhelming debt. Six years later, ownership reverted to the state, and the county partnered with Florida International University to create a plan for redeveloping and reactivating the theater.  [Miami Herald] – Amanda Rabines