What's Next for the Coconut Grove Playhouse?

A large crowd showed up at Thursday's County Commission meeting to hear the latest on the Coconut Grove Playhouse. 

One interesting concept brought up was having a second theater on the site.

Actor Kevin Spacey's name has been battered around as possibly being involved as a consultant.

Earlier in they day, County Mayor Carlos Gimenez responded to criticism from County Commissioner Xavier Suarez. 

He mentioned that they have common goals in wanting the playhouse to be resurrected. The big question is will the building be salvageable? And will a second theater fit on the site?

Gimenez states in the letter, "Your position regarding maintaining the facade, configuration and size of the existing Playhouse and 'preliminary layout" will be shared with the county's professional architect, engineering and consultant team." He goes on to include traffic issues and a possible parking garage. And he says that the contract with GableStage could be canceled at any time, which made Commissioner Suarez feel much better about agreeing to include GableStage. He had not felt they were up to the task.

The design team is responsible for creating a masterplan. It needs to be fully funded.

The mayor went on to say that the 300-seat theater will be covered by county funds and private donations.

GableStage and FIU are mentioned often as being the entities that will run the theater. Mike Eidson, the Arsht Center trust chairman, also will be involved. The large audience was in favor of GableStage running the Playhouse. By a show of hands, they were the favorite.

The two hour meeting ended with agreement that the economic prosperity committee will decide on whether to have GableStage operate the theater and whether to use $2.4 million for a planning contract to design the project, this would include Coconut Grove-based Arquitectonica. Of course the main goal is to find out if all or any part of the current theater is salvageable.