Developer proposed passenger drones over the West Grove
A little-known developer with big plans to redevelop a stretch of West Coconut Grove’s distressed main drag says he has closed on several parcels and is ready to start building.
Ricky Trinidad, president of Metronomic, Inc., a firm with a handful of small projects to its name, startled Miami’s development community last year when he unveiled a $74 million blueprint to erect a dozen mixed-use buildings along Grand Avenue, the commercial heart of the historically black community.
His most fanciful flourish: a plan for a landing pad atop one building for passenger drones, a technology he says is now under development.
Trinidad, who previously announced he had signed a $25 million contract to buy 15 sought-after lots along Grand, said this week he has closed on the purchase of four of those parcels, on the 3300 block of Grand, for $6.3 million. Trinidad said he will hold a ceremonial groundbreaking later this month for the first building in his Grand Plaza plan, a five-story “luxury” rental apartment building with 20 units and two ground-floor retail spaces. The building will include a parking garage with car lifts.
A spokeswoman for Trinidad, Lucia Gonzalez, said by email that he expects to close on a second set of parcels “very soon” and plans to begin construction on that first building after that.
Separately, Trinidad earlier announced plans to build a boutique hotel on the site of a former gas station across from a CVS drugstore on Grand. The hotel site sits between the lots he’s buying and the informal line between the mostly low-income West Grove and the affluent, mostly white Coconut Grove’s commercial village center. Gonzalez said work to remedy ground contamination linked to the gas station was almost complete and hotel construction would begin within 60 days.
The properties Trinidad controls are part of a former assemblage on Grand where other developers had planned an ambitious Bahamian-style village in a nod to the century-old neighborhood’s immigrant founders. That plan fell apart amid litigation and bankruptcy filings after the last recession hit, tying up ownership in the courts for years and foiling some high-profile bids for the land. Trinidad said he was able to reach a purchase agreement with several owners after lawsuits and bankruptcy cases were resolved.
Trinidad’s plans have raised fears of accelerated gentrification in the West Grove, already beset by extensive displacement of residents. Most slum dwellings along Grand have been demolished, and some residential blocks surrounding it have been redeveloped to serve a luxury market.
Trinidad has promised that the next building in the first phase of his project will include what he describes as 50 “affordable” apartments, though he has provided no specifics on rents.
“Grand Plaza will be a community-oriented, technology-driven, sustainable and innovative development that will create a significant social and economic impact on the community of Coconut Grove,” Trinidad said in a statement. “And as a mission-oriented company, we are committed to creating a well-balanced and thriving corridor along Grand Ave for all its residents to enjoy.”