Opinion: Another Obscene Attempt By Our City To Continue To Over-Develop Our “City Beautiful “

Lisa Maroon

Third generation property owner of a commercial building on Ponce de Leon Blvd and longtime Coral Gables resident

Once again I find myself writing in concern of yet another obscene attempt by our City to continue to over-develop our “City Beautiful“. The issue at hand this time is regarding Applicant RC Acquisitions, LLC and P&J Enterprise Holdings, Inc. proposing to develop a 16 story Mixed-Use at 3000 Ponce, 216 & 224 Catalonia, 203 University Dr, and 225 Malaga. With out a doubt, the size, density and scale of this development is abusive to our City’s original plan and the livability of its residents.

My mother was a shop owner for 15 years on the Ponce Circle so I am very familiar with the Ponce Circle”s charm of yesteryear, which no longer exists thanks to the City’s poor judgement in its allowance of the hideous over-development of the “Plaza Coral Gables”. That development has negatively changed the landscape of the Ponce Circle forever. The Ponce Circle now has the appearance of Gotham City; dark, drab, ugly and depressing. And the downfall of the Ponce Circle may continue with the proposal of the “Ponce Park Residence” 16 story mixed-use development, and the Allen Morris groups unreasonable requests, which (if the past has taught us anything) will surly be approved by the City, to the dismay of us all. 

This developer is asking for approval of 1. Street Vacation, 2.Alley Vacation, 3.Change of Land Use, 4.Development Agreement  , 5.Transfer of Development Rights, 6.Conditional Use for Mixed-Use 7. Tentative Plat. These are all unreasonable requests, which should not even be considered. This developer, along with all the others, should only be allowed “right of use” privileges (even better a moratorium should be placed on development). Instead developers are given cart blanch to do what they will. Unfortunately our City continues to sell us all out to the highest bidder instead of preserving its residents quality of life.

As a 3rd generation property owner of a commercial building on Ponce de Leon Blvd, this issue of overdevelopment is a big concern for our family’s rental income and livelihood. This proposed development project and all the other projects are pricing us out of the market with obscenely higher and higher increases in property taxes thus putting a strain on us and our tenants. When my family member approached a commissioner with these concerns, she was answered with an insulting and heartless remark from the commissioner,  “you could always mortgage your building or just sell it”. This answer from this commissioner is of course consistent with the City’s position of the developer first, residents don’t matter mindset. 

Sadly the City’s disregard for the will of the residents, City tradition, and peaceful living has been shown to us in many horrible fashions. Some examples include, allowing “ Plaza Coral Gables” development to be built to it’s awful, hideous, and humongous size and scale, in spite of one resident not willing to vacate their home of 40 yrs.  If the City had any decency and care for its residents they would have scaled back this project in favor of the resident. Instead they allowed developers to build around this home engulfing it by this project, without any regard, conscious or concern for this homeowner. Another example, squeezing out a small city landmark restaurant owner of 30 years in order to rent to the highest bidder. This even in the face of much opposition from the business owner and residents. These acts are heartless, appalling, and should horrify us all.

Apparently, our City is being sold out for monetary gain with no regard for the consequences it brings. These obnoxiously oversized, extremely dense and unnecessary buildings being allowed in our quaint City against the residents will, are eroding the charm of Coral Gables one project at a time in warp speed right before our eyes and will unfortunately leave negative consequences on our City for generations to come.

This continued over-development is very disheartening and more than concerning. It’s an atrocity to the residents to have the City run in this manner, without conscious, or regard for the impact and consequences we all feel from the City’s poor development planning. 

I hope and pray this proposed building development “Ponce Park Residents” (and all others to follow) will be miraculously voted down and rejected by the City. No longer making its residents feel like outsiders with no say so, while just a few make all the decisions. Hopefully our City government won’t continue to side with developers any longer, and instead govern for the residents well being, giving us a sense of community, and maintaining the charm of our City and preserving the quality of life and pleasant living we all long for. 


11 thoughts on “Opinion: Another Obscene Attempt By Our City To Continue To Over-Develop Our “City Beautiful “

  1. It will never end…. not until the residents have more of a powerful say along with the P&Z and Commissioners. Why must a resident always resort to reliance and trust of their politicians, why can’t certain matters of this magnitude be put to the vote of residents? Remember when pickups were not allowed for many years in the Gables, the politicians simply ignored the residents until pressure mounted by one owner, all the way to the Fla Supreme Court, only then did the city put it before the Residents who quickly voted yes. You need to vote for those that favor the power of residents over the power of the politician.

  2. Doing your mom proud, I see! I hope Shirley is well. Glad to see the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Totally agree.

  3. A 38-year dedicated resident of Coral Gables, I am in complete agreement with Lisa Maroon’s opinions and comments.
    As voters, we must be vigilant about all aspects of Coral Gables, most importantly our City Commission, that lured us here and, so far, keep us here. Our votes matter. It is our individual responsibility to be TRUTHFULLY informed.

  4. In agreement with those that have expressed their concerns regarding the over development of the Gables. Totally against buildings that do not represent what the Gables is. I too have lived here for 10 years and can’t imagine living anywhere else. Let’s not destroy what we have. Maintain and upgrade what we have if anything if the buildings keep getting bigger, this is not what the city represents with the charm and architecture left behind from before. Change is good with a certain sense of responsibility minding and preserving where we live. I’m sure most of the residents would like to still live in the City Beautiful not in other environment like South Beach, Brickell, Grove etc. What would the city name be then?? We as residents should stand together and vote against this scenario each time we are able to do so. Voice over matter.

  5. One can feel the pain reading Lisa’s words and it is very painful seeing how we are losing, if it isn’t lost already, the Coral Gables that we all have loved and cherished. We are rightfully upset with the developers and elected officials for what is happening to our City, but let’s stop for a second and be really honest with ourselves. IT IS OUR FAULT !!! We keep electing politicians who, as we very well know, will say anything in order to get elected and then do whatever is convenient for them. Let’s look and VOTE FOR THOSE WHO JUST WANT TO SERVE THE CITY AND ITS RESIDENTS !!!!!!!

  6. It’s Coconut Grove 2.0. The exact same thing is happening there. Commissioners Stripping the charm and sense of place and replacing it with buildings constructed specifically for the individual gain of the developer and $/sq ft with their hands over their ears when residents push back. It will never end until some one organizes residents across the city to put forward political candidates who support the residents and the residents stay involved everyday. Not an easy task.

  7. Definitely very sad that elected officials do not seem to care about residents concern for the over development of what used to be a beautiful mostly residential city. There is no mechanism in place to truly have our interests and not “special interests” be more important to politicians as by the time elections come up, they have already voted in as they see fit and can move on to whatever career path they choose and I truly feel they do not care about citizens. At the end of the day, most cities need to generate more revenue, because the irony of having higher density population, only creates a need to spend more and without raising property taxes significantly to long term residents, those in power seem to resort to acquiescing to Developers and the money…..it’s all about the money!!! Shame on all of those who do not see all the long-term negative impact, not just to our residential charm, but to the ennvironment as well.

  8. Coral Gables is the only area within the greater Miami boundaries that has a certain atmosphere and character, up until now. Developers don’t care about that, and apparently neither does City Hall.

  9. I just moved out here because of Coral Gables’ cozy walkable, residential feel in a small urban setting… and still can’t believe it might turn into the next Brickell if something isn’t done.

  10. Totally agree with Lisa!!’ Why aren’t the elected officials listening to the residents!!! This overdevelopment needs to be curtailed!!!

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