The readers’ forum

Trolley building will beautify, improve West Grove


While much has been reported about the Coral Gables trolley building under way in Miami’s West Grove neighborhood, many pertinent facts pertaining to the project’s origin and construction have been misrepresented or glossed over.

The facts are as follows:

• The West Grove property is specifically zoned for auto-related commercial use, which is consistent with the development now in progress.

• The trolley station received all necessary permits and approvals required to begin construction.

• The parcels of land acquired for the development of the trolley station were largely inactive. Two properties contained vacant commercial buildings, one was deemed an unsafe structure by the city of Miami, and another was an abandoned single family home.

• The properties acquired were purchased from locally-based, willing sellers for prices at or above current market values.

• Consistent with city of Miami permitting requirements, all adjacent property owners and homeowners’ associations registered with the local NET office were properly notified of the warrant application filed with the city.

These stakeholders were made aware of their rights to appeal the application; however, no appeals were filed.

The trolley building’s developer, The Astor Companies, is delivering a project that is respectful of its surroundings and nearby residents, including using a traditional Bahamian design that pays homage to the West Grove’s heritage and the addition of new landscaping that will beautify the area. The Astor Companies has also pledged $200,000 for improvements at nearby Armbrister Park.

The development will activate formerly-vacant properties, improve the surrounding neighborhood with new landscaping, and bring a new, well-designed building to the area.

Mario Garcia-Serra, attorney representing The Astor Companies, Miami

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