Gardner also vowed to anchor the project with a supermarket at the site of a weekly farmer’s market, where the troubling sign now sits. Without the supermarket, Gardner would lose the special use permit he received from the city as part of a deal he struck with residents, explained Jihad Rashid, president and CEO of the Coconut Grove Collaborative.
The project was expected to start at the eastern end and progress in phases. But Muskat said his group is tired of excuses.
“So the latest excuse by Peter is, ‘I can’t start to build because there’s no guarantee I can rent because of the sewer issues.’ So that’s somewhat legitimate, but supposedly (the county) was going to (repair it) in a year and if Peter started building, he’d be done in a year and a half. And the (contract) expired before the sewer issue,” Muskat said.
But Dougherty said the sewer issue has made financing trickier.
“All these things are moving in tandem,” she said. “You need a lot of money to get construction financing and no one gives it to you if they know at the end of the design, there’s no way to hook up.”
And if another buyer comes along in the mean time?
“I’m not worried,” she said, “because anybody who buys that is going to have the same problem.”
Regardless, Muskat said the neighborhood deserves to have the issue resolved.
“The only reason the signs are back up is because I can’t get a commitment,” he said. “I’m a native. I would like it if we could build a nice project there. Whether he does it or someone else, I would like to see a nice project there.”