Coral Gables may purchase a property that has remained mostly pristine since it was built more than 90 years ago.
At Tuesday’s meeting, commissioners gave the city manager and attorney the authority to negotiate a contract to purchase the H. George Fink Studio, at 2506 Ponce de Leon Blvd.
The city has some competition for the building and the purchase price would be about $2.7 million, including estimated closing costs. The building, built in 1925, is currently owned by 2506 Ponce de Leon LLC. City staff and others, including historian Arva Moore Parks, said the building is a worthy investment as it’s one of the oldest historic buildings in the city.
“It is the perfect place for the city of Coral Gables to highlight their singular contribution to the Mediterranean style of architecture,” Parks said.
Staff has not finalized the city’s eventual plans for the building but in the short-term Coral Gables plans to allow the current tenants to continue occupying the building. In the long-term, the Gables hopes to use the building as additional city offices or for more varied uses as a think tank to address issues like sea-level rise or as a maker space.
Fink was one of the key architects in creating the city’s look and designing the Mediterranean style that’s seen throughout the Gables. His studio is listed in the city’s planning code as the prime example of the design style.
The money to buy the building will come from about $1.1 million in solid waste delinquent collections and another $1.5 million from the city’s capital projects fund balance. The costs may also be offset by historic preservation funds and other grants.
“We’re not suggesting that the building is in such ideal shape, we are suggesting that this is an ideal building and the city needs to gain control of it,” City Manager Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark said.
▪ Gables Ponce III: The third phase of a mixed-use project in Coral Gables was given approval Tuesday.
The city commission voted to grant a mixed-use site plan approval for the Gables Ponce III project. The nine-story structure, at 363 Granello Ave., sits on about 1.7 acres and will include about 190 residential units, 12,246 square feet of retail and a dog park area that will be open to the public.
▪ Bahamian Village lawsuit: The city commission gave approval for the city attorney and outside counsel to work with Miami-Dade County regarding a lawsuit over a long-delayed development.
The lawsuit centers on the development of the Bahamian Village project, at 280 S. Dixie Hwy., in the historically black MacFarlane Homestead Historic District of the city. The lawsuit, between the county and Bahamian Village LLC, named the Lola B. Walker Homeowners Association in the lawsuit and which led to the city’s involvement.
The city has asked to be placed on the county commission’s next meeting agenda and filed to be named as a “friend of the court” in the lawsuit. City Attorney Craig Leen said the involved parties are also considering mediation of the issue.
▪ Metropolitan Planning Organization: City leaders gave authority for the city attorney to continue working on the city’s potential membership on the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization.
A 2014 U.S. Census estimate places the city’s population above 50,000 residents, the threshold for MPO membership, and the city plans to apply and explore potential costs for certifying the Census information for county approval.
“It’s really important for us to have a representation on there,” Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick said.
THE NEXT MEETING
When: 9 a.m. Jan. 26.
Where: Coral Gables City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way, Coral Gables.