Coconut Grove, my onetime home, has seen a few ups and downs of the old roller coaster in the 25-plus years I’ve been in Miami. My esteemed colleague Elaine Walker took this recent look. Is it up or down?
Elaine finds it’s hit a trough. I think it depends on where you look, as she points out below. Commodore Plaza was a ghost town two years ago. Now the sidewalks are crowded with diners. Try getting a table at George’s for lunch any day.
Here is what Elaine wrote:
The last few years haven't been kind to Coconut Grove.
The area's anchor CocoWalk is in foreclosure. The movie theater closed last fall. The Coconut Grove Playhouse remains shuttered. And the Coconut Grove Convention Center is no longer a tourist draw.
Increased competition and a recession have translated into fewer Grove customers. And no longer is Coconut Grove the only game in town for entertainment.
Mary Brickell Village stole away business, as did the renaissance of other neighborhoods such as downtown South Miami and Miracle Mile in Coral Gables.
The combination has been too much for many business owners. Vacancy rates are up as shops and restaurants throughout the urban village have given up.
``What empty windows will do to a place is create a sense of urgency,'' said David Collins, executive director of the Coconut Grove Business Improvement District. ``It's clear that if we're ever going to work together, it's now.''
But if you have to hit bottom before you can start improving, then maybe Coconut Grove is poised for recovery.
Read all about it here.