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Controversial Grove Playhouse Revival Plan Will Go Forward. Unless The Miami Mayor Vetoes It.

coconut_grove_theater.jpg
PETER ANDREW BOSCH
/
Miami Herald
The historic but closed Coconut Grove Playhouse as it appeared in July 2011.

A controversial plan to revive the historic, long-shuttered Coconut Grove Playhouse that requires demolition of its auditorium narrowly won the endorsement of Miami commissioners on Wednesday, but backers are not celebrating as the potential for a mayoral veto looms.

The 3-2 vote, which came after more than six hours of public testimony and debate well into the evening, is not enough to override a possible veto by Miami Mayor Francis Suarez. Suarez, who was at the special commission meeting early but only briefly, has not said what he intends to do nor spelled out a position on the playhouse issue. He has 10 calendar days to issue a veto.

Suarez is a political ally of Commission Chairman Ken Russell, who has tried to push the administration of Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez to save the 1927 theater’s massive auditorium. The county, which developed the $23 million blueprint for replacing the 1,100-seat auditorium with a smaller, stand-alone theater under an agreement with the state of Florida, says it’s obsolete and too large to be fiscally successful. The county plan would restore the signature, wing-shaped Mediterranean front section of the playhouse — actually a three-story structure — to its original look.

“It’s now in the mayor’s hands,” Russell told a supporter after the hearing ended.

Read more at our news partner, the Miami Herald