Karelia Martinez Carbonell
Martinez Carbonell is the president of the Historic Preservation Association of Coral Gables
The November 9th City Commission discussion centers on replacing the classic garage along Andalusia Avenue between Le Jeune Road and Salzedo Street and behind the historic Miracle Theatre.
Back in October, during the presentation from Gensler, the design and architecture firm awarded the project for an estimated $2 million, Mayor Lago observed, “This concept that you basically showed us evolves into the possibility of retooling the parking hub…”
The parking garage #1, in its present state, was designed to blend in with its surroundings. The concept for “retooling” the garage will not only clash with the area’s traditional surroundings, but will, according to a resident, “loom over Miracle Mile and obstruct the beautiful open sky along that block and along Andalusia, in the center of what is intended to be a charming district.”
The position from many residents and preservationists is for the city to share, in an open setting, various design concepts. Constituents, as primary stakeholders of a historic city, must be given the opportunity to consider the possibilities of “retooling the garage” and the implications. The proposed concept will cost upwards of $40 million and stakeholders must have a seat at the drawing table.
Several points to consider
The proposed concept bypasses the City of Coral Gables Zoning Code Section 10-105. This section of the code requires that parking garages be screened [i.e. cars must be hidden from site]. It does not mean partially hidden, but completely hidden as required: “Parking garage openings shall be screened from surrounding properties and rights-of-way to minimize visible interior lights and car headlights.”
The proposed concept stands contrary to “preserv[ing] the traditional aesthetic character of the community” as per the Board of Architects mission.
The proposed concept does not adhere to Ordinance #153 which upholds maintaining the “harmony” of the architectural aesthetic of a community [i.e. the new garage will not blend in but obstruct the historical view shed of Miracle Mile; it will encroach on the skyline of the historic MiracleTheatre.]
The proposed concept to replace parking garage #1 will cost upward of $40 million but the real cost will be the loss of the historic architectural harmony of the downtown area. Before planning for the future, a city must respect its past. Consider the 1955 Gullwing. A timeless classic with wings to the future.
Commission Meeting Tuesday November 9th at 9 am/City Hall or ZOOM
Members of the public may join the meeting via Zoom at (https://zoom.us/j/3054466800). In addition, a dedicated phone line will be available so that any individual who does not wish (or is unable) to use Zoom may listen to and participate in the meeting by dialing: (305) 461-6769 Meeting ID: 3054466800. If you joined the meeting via telephone, you can “Raise your Hand” by pressing *9.
Time Certain 12:30 PM (Agenda Item F-7)
F.-7. 21-3306 A Resolution of the City Commission pursuant to Zoning Code Article 1, “General Provisions,” Section 1-104 “Jurisdiction and applicability,” granting Site Plan approval of a mobility hub, located at the site of Parking Garage 1, legally described as Lots 29 to 42, Block 2, Crafts Section, Coral Gables, Florida; providing for a repealer provision, severability clause, and providing for an effective date.