Friday, June 27, 2008


From the Miami Herald:

The scrapped demolition of an office tower in downtown Coral Gables — stopped three months ago by county environmental inspectors who found asbestos in the building — has been reset for Saturday.

Residents who live near Ponce Circle Park will hear a loud siren about 7:30 a.m., followed by a series of bangs when the gutted office tower at 2801 Ponce De Leon Blvd., will implode.

The tower is set to become part of the Old Spanish Village complex.

Gables Assistant City Manager Maria Alberro Jimenez, who has been meeting with representatives from Ponce Circle Developers LLC twice a week, said the builders took care of the asbestos found in an interior staircase.

”They have obtained all necessary clearances from all federal and state and local agencies,” Jimenez said Monday.

”Everything has been taken care of. They have clearance letters from DERM,” she added, referring to the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management, which had stopped the implosion scheduled for March 29.

The building is coming down to make way for a 16-story office tower that will be part of the 900,000-square-foot mixed-use Old Spanish Village project being built over nearly seven acres just east of Ponce Circle Park. The City Commission approved it last year.

My old place was a block from the demolition site. Good thing I moved.

I’ve seen the renderings for Old Spanish Village, and as far as I can tell, they’re replacing one eyesore with another.

I’ve always wondered why architects and developers have thought that recreating what’s considered to be a blighted neighborhood in one country is upscale and “quaint” in another. Is there a shopping mall and condo development somewhere in Spain that looks like parts of downtown Miami, complete with boarded-up storefronts, weedy vacant lots strewn with trash, and homeless people wandering the streets to add “atmosphere”?