Grove Isle condo owners fight to stop demolition of hotel, restaurant and spa

New owners want to redevelop the private club into The Markers Grove Isle, a collection of five-story buildings and new hotel and spa offerings

Rendering of The Markers Grove Isle
Rendering of The Markers Grove Isle

Three years after settling a lawsuit with the development firm that built Grove Isle, the luxury condominium’s unit owners have launched a new legal battle against a proposal to redevelop part of the waterfront site.

The Grove Isle Association last month filed a petition requesting Miami-Dade Administrative Judge Jennifer Bailey force the city of Miami to cancel a demolition permit issued to Grove Isle Associates, the company that built and owns the Coconut Grove hotel, the restaurant, bar, indoor health spa, swimming pool and tennis courts. According to court documents, Grove Isle Associates plans to tear down the existing structures to make way for multiple five-story buildings, as well as new amenity facilities at the current site of the tennis courts, to be called The Markers Grove Isle.

Attorneys for the association and Grove Isle Associates did not respond to requests for comment. The city of Miami’s Attorney’s Office declined comment.

The association contends that a 2015 permanent injunction against Grove Isle Associates and its owner, Grove Isle Yacht and Tennis Club, stipulated that permits for construction of the new facilities must be obtained before the demolition permit is approved.

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According to the association’s petition, the ruling concluded that a restrictive covenant in place since Grove Isle was developed in the 1970s by Martin Margulies requires the developer-owner to maintain and operate the hotel, restaurant, bar and spa, as well as make sure unit owners can access the facilities.

The petition states Grove Isle Associates received a conditional demolition permit on Oct. 15, 2015 that took into account the permanent injunction. However, in August, the city’s planning and zoning department went ahead and “undoubtedly issued in error” the demolition permit to Grove Isle Associates, according to the petition.

Grove Isle Associates, which intervened in the petition against the city, claims the association failed to cite any city code prohibiting the issuance of the demolition permit and that the city doesn’t have a “ministerial duty” to provide unit owners with relief. In its response to the petition, the city claims Miami-Dade Circuit Court does not the jurisdiction to reverse the demolition permit approval.

The latest court skirmish three years after Grove Isle Associates and the association settled a lawsuit which unit owners alleged they were unfairly assessed for common area maintenance, including to maintain the bridge between the Grove Isle Hotel & Spa and residential areas, as well as security and other upkeep for facilities.

According to court documents, Grove Isle Yacht and Tennis Club purchased Grove Isle Associates in 2013. Corporate records list Hector Fernandez-Rousselon, Coral Gables-based Pinto Realty and Key Real Estate Development Group as the managers of Grove Isle Yacht and Tennis Club.