Almost everyone I speak with says the same thing. Many of us were away for the summer and while we were gone, the City made plans to demolish two of our bayside restaurants, Scotty's Landing and the Charthouse (below).
Rendering of the proposed replacement restaurants ( "Shula's" and "Oceana") below. Then, they will replace them with a Shula's Steakhouse and an up-scale seafood restaurant, "Oceana".
The City's proposal creates 400,000 sq. ft. of parking and 140,000 sq. ft. of retail/restaurant/commercial space, including another restaurant behind Scotty's. A huge, $20-million dollar parking garage will be erected on Bayshore Drive.
When I explained this to my neighbor he asked, "Who could support such a stupid proposal?"
I replied that our city commission had.
In July they voted to give their developer friends a 80-year lease for these six acres on the bay.
The good news is that it's not a done deal. In fact, because it's such an obviously inside deal, one in which only one party is being given the opportunity to make millions off our precious, public park land, we get to vote.
On November 5, when we choose our next mayor, we will be asked to approve the City's plan. If it passes they will begin tearing down the best thing in this town and replace it with "Oceana".
If it fails, the guys that work for us in City Hall will have to come up with a better idea.
I'm still gathering information, trying to keep an open mind about the whole affair. This week I will be meeting with a local official to get the city's point-of-view.
I do know that Scotty's is one of the coolest place in town. It's where I take out-of-town guests for a taste of Coconut Grove. Yes, it is in need of an upgrade but we expected that to come after Scotty's current 35-year lease was renewed.
Tearing down Scotty's is like going to the dentist because you have a cavity and the dentist decides to rip all your teeth out.
It makes no sense but the dentist makes more money.
On November 5th, tell the dentist "No!". Vote against the City's proposal.
The view from Scotty's Landing this morning