The state recently had an appraisal of the playhouse done, but its confidential under an exemption to Floridas public-records law, Gillespie said. The county appraisers office puts the propertys market value at $5.8 million.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, however, has said the county cannot buy the playhouse. Gimenez tried for months to take over the playhouse under a deal with the old board that called for the county to settle its outstanding debts. But one set of developers, the Aries Group, rejected the countys offers, effectively scuttling the mayors effort and prompting the state takeover.
Under a previous reopening plan developed by Aries and the theater board, GableStage would have managed a smaller, rebuilt playhouse behind the theaters historically protected facade. Development on the parking lot would have supported the theater.
The playhouse, housed in a landmark 1927 Mediterranean Revival theater, was widely considered South Floridas leading regional theater company when it closed. It was also an economic engine for nearby Grove restaurants and bars, some of which closed after the theater folded.
The FIU-county plan cites the economic, historic and cultural pluses of reviving the playhouse, though how exactly that would shape up remains to be determined. If the state approves the transfer, Spring said, the county would hire architects and consultants to evaluate the existing building and determine what size auditorium would be economically feasible.
One thing thats not contemplated in the short run is any accompanying development, he said. Under a rough budget developed for the proposal, the $20 million earmarked by the county would suffice for renovations or reconstruction. Ticket sales, donations, grants and a projected $132,000 in parking revenue a figure Spring called conservative would cover annual operating costs of $2.6 million.
Spring and GableStage artistic director Joseph Adler said the relative simplicity of the plan means it could get rolling quickly.
I support this totally and think it will put things on a fast track to bring theater back into Coconut Grove, Adler said.