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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Latest Visit to the E.W.F. Stirrup House

The E.W.F. Stirrup House on May 14, 2013
Dateline May 14, 2013 - It's almost a nervous tic. Anytime I am near Coconut Grove, I visit the E.W.F. Stirrup House and take new pictures. 

Yesterday, after dropping a friend off at the Miami airport, I drove the 7 miles to Charles Avenue. The latest pictures reveal is that nothing has been done to the E.W.F. Stirrup House since the meeting of the Charles Avenue Historic Preservation Committee on the 27th of February. At the time I wrote:
Yesterday a crew was cleaning up the Stirrup property by removing the vines and bushes that had grown all over the back of the house. This blog has documented how the property becomes an unruly garbage dump between citations from the City of Miami. The property is always cleaned up before fines are levied. Then it's allowed to slowly fall into disarray until the next city inspector posts a citation on the property about all the garbage, weeds, and graffiti. Despite occasional landscaping, the vast Westerfield Archives has several year's worth of pictures that prove these bushes and vines have never been cleared away. This was not just another minor clean-up.

Could it be that Gino Falsetto realized that eyes would be on the E.W.F. Stirrup House again this week because of the Charles Avenue Historic Preservation meeting? After 8 years of inactivity, is it possible that Falsetto wants to be able to say at Wednesday's meeting "Things are happening," only to let it slid into disarray until the next time it gets cleaned up?
The E.W.F. Stirrup House on May 14th,
showing the damage caused by the last cleanup
I must be The Amazing Kreskin. What I predicted came to pass at the Charles Avenue Historical Preservation Committee meeting when an angry reporter (me) wondered why nothing had been done to the property in the 8 years Falsetto has had effective control of it. The representative of Gino Falsetto on the preservation committee jumped in by citing all the recent landscaping work that had been done. As I was about to ask a follow-up, and point out that the recent landscaping had actually damaged the side of the house, the chair of the meeting shut me down by saying the committee was looking forward, not backward. Since I was merely an invited meeting observer, and not a member of the committee, I held my tongue. However, I was angry that 8 years of neglect was being swept under the rug.

Still Life With Dishwashers, May 8, 2013
I must be The Amazing Kreskin. Another part of my prediction has also come to pass. Absolutely nothing's been done since that meeting. Well, that's not entirely true. Someone finally figured out how to close the lower windows on the side of the house. This is actual progress, since they have been open to the elements for many years. However, that's it!!! The upper windows are still open to the daily Florida rainstorm.

I must be The Amazing Kreskin. The third part of my prediction has also come to fruition: the property has, once again, slid back into being a garbage dump. A seemingly never-ending series of dumpsters come and go. Last week it was filled with several dishwashers, clearly the result of a renovation inside the Grove Gardens Residence Condominiums. However, there's no telling where and what the work might be because, as usual, I can find no building permits displayed anywhere. However, it's safe to assume that it's one of Gino Falsetto's restaurants on the ground floor of the Grove Gardens Residence Condominiums. He has three: The Taurus Bar, Calamari, and La Bottega by Carmen Trigueros. That's right! Chef Carmen's got her name right in the name of the restaurant for added pretentiousness.

Meanwhile, where are the promised renovations for the E.W.F. Stirrup House? Gino Falsetto has had more than 8 years to do something, ANYTHING, to the E.W.F. Stirrup House. It's time for the community to rise up and find a way to abrogate the 50-year lease Gino Falsetto holds on the E.W.F. Stirrup property. He's shown himself to be a terrible steward of a precious 120-year old Coconut Grove historical resource. He continues to allow the house to undergo Demolition by Neglect.

Those who allowed him to get his rapacious hands on this family heirloom need to find a way to get it back in order to honour the legacy of E.W.F. Stirrup and the original Bahamians who built Coconut Grove.

The only legacy being honoured today is that of rapacious developers. Might as well put up a statue to Gino Falsetto because, according to this website, he is the Master of everything at the east end of Charles Avenue and wants to create his own legacy, Le Coco Suprême. According to this anonymous author, who links to my blog quite often:
Map that accompanies the allegations: Legend: 1 = Playhouse,
2 & 3 = Vacant Lots, 4 = E.W.F. Stirrup House, 5 = Grove Garden
Residences Condominium 6 = Regions Bank, 7 & 8 = Vacant Lots,
9 = 2-Unit Residence, I = Bridge across Charles Avenue
This monster complex — dubbed Le Coco Suprême — will be the largest multi-use condominium complex in all of Florida: a 5.6 acre multi-use condo complex, the biggest Heafey and Falsetto have ever carried out here and in Canada. They want it to be their crowning achievement. It will dwarf what Heafey has done in Quebec. (In comparison, Cocowalk within walking distance up the street is 2.18 acres.)

The plan entails a 960-unit residential condo, a 360-room hotel, 200,000 sq.ft. retail space, 4 restaurants, a movie-theater complex, a gym, a bowling alley or ice skating rink, 3,800 space high-rise garage to also serve the downtown Grove, a bank (Regions), a Bed & Breakfast in the E.W.F. Stirrup House, a remodeled, brand-new miniature Goconut Grove Playhouse, and the current Grove Garden Residences multi-use condo complex. A bridge over Charles Avenue will connect everything. The high-rise garage will be on the north side (closest to downtown for access to all Coconut Grove downtown visitors) with an arcade of shops at street level facing Main Highway.
If that's true one of the few things standing in the way of his plan to erect another MONSTER condo complex, is the E.W.F. Stirrup House.


Further reading at Not Now Silly

Unveiling the One Grove Mural ► A Photo and Video Essay 

Happy Birthday Coconut Grove!!! Now Honour Your Past

Good Neighbours and Bad Neighbours ► Unpacking Coconut Grove ► Part Nine

A Charles Avenue Love Story ► Unpacking Coconut Grove ► Part Five

The E.W.F. Stirrup House ► Unpacking Coconut Grove ► Part Two