Historical

TBT - Ocean Drive, South Beach in 1980 - Before & After

TBT (April 23, 2015) - Ocean Drive 39 years ago was very quiet compared to Ocean Drive in 2015. A CVS has now opened at 728 Ocean Drive and where Scarface was filmed.

The photo on the top left is what Ocean Drive looked liked in 1980. South Beach was a quiet area were many retirees lived including the buildings in the photos. The Art Deco buildings were falling into disrepair and the public was calling on the city to demolish them. Fast forward 35 years later and Ocean Drive is one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet. The Art Deco buildings were saved and Ocean Drive is now lined with restaurants and palm trees. 

TBT - Demolition Photos & Video Of Miami's Tobacco Road

Demolition Of The Oldest Bar In Miami - Tobacco Road

Demolition Of The Oldest Bar In Miami - Tobacco Road

TBT (November 19, 2014) - 4 years ago this month Tobacco Road was demolished after 102 years of history. We previously showed a photo tour of the building before it was torn down and a photo tour of the building as it was being stripped inside. After the lot sat empty for years, a pizza place recently opened on the site and the land will eventually be part of the the Brickell City Centre expansion with a 54 story condo.

Over the past 10 plus days, demolition has taken place on the 102 year old Tobacco Road. The demolition crew was Thunder Demolition with Group 3 Contractors. 

The bar held the first liquor license in Miami and now debris from the building is all that remains on the site. 

During the demolition, the team from Thunder Demolition was able to save the original Dade-County Pine from the building. Employees from Tobacco Road plan on using the original wood to make coasters, cutting boards and tables to preserve the history of the original location. General Manager Joel Rivera and employees still need to raise $50,000 and are doing this until December 2 through Kickstarter. They need any donations possible to help move into a new location across the lot.

Photos of bar during operation can be seen here. A video of the bar during operation can be seen here. Photos of the bar right before demolition and all the items removed can be seen here.

Demolition Video

TBT - Photos Of Tobacco Road Miami Before Demolition

Inside Tobacco Road Before Demolition

Inside Tobacco Road Before Demolition

TBT (November 18, 2014) - After the final call and closing of Tobacco Road on October 25, 2014 after 102 years, demolition of the inside of the building began shortly after. Many of the memorabilia in the bar, including the neon sign, dade county pine wood used on the bar, many of the posters and signs were saved before the building eventually was torn down.

On October 25, 2014, Tobacco Road had its final last call and closed its location at 626 South Miami Avenue for good after 102 years. 

Shortly after, employees began removing items from the bar such as framed photos, the 40 foot bar and the famous neon sign into storage. 

General Manager of Tobacco Road, Joel Rivera, is trying to relocate Tobacco Road across the lot into a new space, but needs $50,000 to do this. Rivera and employees are trying to raise the money through kickstarter and have only December 2 to do this. Any money donated will help save Tobacco Road and keep the memories going in a new location.

Below are photos of Tobacco Road before demolition began and after items were removed from the bar.

For photos of the bar during operation click here. For a video look of Tobacco Road click here.

TBT - One Final Look - A Photo Tour Of Tobacco Road

The Famous Neon Tobacco Road Sign

The Famous Neon Tobacco Road Sign

Our first TBT piece was originally posted October 27, 2014, two days after the final call of the oldest bar in Miami - Tobacco Road. Since the closing and demolition of Tobacco Road, it has been announced that the Tobacco Road lot will be part of the Brickell City Centre expansion, which will include a 54 story condo at 570 feet and another 62 story condo across the street at 654 feet.

On the morning of October 26, Tobacco Road had its final last call and turned off the famous neon sign for the final time in its 102 year old location. 

The building has been around since 1912 and has been a bakery, burlesque club, gay club, gambling den and of course a place for live music. Tobacco Road was the only place in Miami where lawyers, politicians and doctors could drink next to bikers, vagrants and drug dealers. 

Tobacco Road was hurting for business the last few years with the construction of Brickell City Centre surrounding the bar and after having the property bought for $12.5 million in 2012 by developer Carlos Mattos. 

The new owner is trying to raise money through Kickstarter to move across the lot to a new location and save the historical items in the bar.

Click here for a video of Tobacco Road and here for a more comprehensive story of the bar.

Tobacco Road Photos

Historic Preservation Board Approves Coconut Grove Playhouse Plans

Coconut Grove Playhouse

Coconut Grove Playhouse

Miami's Historic Preservation Board voted 4-1 in favor of new plans that would demolish the auditorium of the Coconut Grove Playhouse, but restore the front façade of the building to its original 1927 design by architect firm Kiehnel and Elliot.

The new plans would tear down the existing theater with 1100 seats and replace it with a new modern 300 seat theater with an open courtyard separating it from the front V shaped building. Also included in the plans would be a new parking garage, 35 residential units and retail on the ground floor of front structure. 

Preservation architect Richard Heisenbottle - who is also involved in the restoration of the Miami Marine Stadium - argued that the whole structure can be saved, including the original pieces covered over by a 1950's renovation by Alfred Browning Parker. 

Miami-Dade County has budgeted $20 million for the work.

New Preliminary Architectural Plans For Coconut Grove Playhouse Revealed

Coconut Grove Playhouse

Plans have been revealed by The Miami Herald that would restore the long abandoned Coconut Grove Playhouse and add a new modern theater. 

The new designs were created by the Coconut Grove based firm Arquitectonica and would involve restoring the original V shaped building in the front, but demolishing the theater in the back and replacing it with a new modern 300 seat theater. Also included in the plans are a new parking garage that would hold 500 parking spaces and would be built on the current surface parking lot on Main Highway. 35 residential units are also included in the plan with 26 1 bed/1 bath and 9 2 bed/2 baths.

Miami-Dade County has budgeted $20 million for the restoration and construction of the building that will not start at least for another two years while full architectural designs are created.

A historical assessment of the Coconut Grove Playhouse can be viewed here and preliminary plans can be viewed here.

Miami-Dade Commonwealth Building Looking To Add 10 More Floors

Miami-Dade Commonwealth Building

The Miami-Dade Commonwealth Building located at 139 NE 1st Street in Downtown Miami was sold for $9.2 million in November 2015. The 43,265 square foot 7 story building was purchased by Immocorp Capital and Wynwood with plans to restore the building. 

Originally built in 1925 at 17 stories, the Miami-Dade Commonwealth building was badly destroyed in a hurricane in 1926, which reduced the building down to 7 stories after restructuring. 

The developer, now under the name Dream Downtown Miami, wants to restore the façade of the building and add 10 stories for a total of 98,574 square feet that would include a rooftop pool.

The architect on the project is RJ Heisenbottle Architects.