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2005-10-09
Miami, FL. Coconut Grove Releases Anti-Home Depot Film.

Residents of the Coconut Grove neighborhood in Miami, Florida have put their battle against Home Depot onto film. The world premiere of "Don't Box Me In" was released October 7th. at a gala event at the Women's Club, attracting more than 600 people to two showings of the 32 minute film, directed by filmmaker Richard Fendelman. In the film, Home Depot spokesmen describe their 150,000 s.f. development as an "urban concept," and call their existing Home Depot store two miles away "an embarrassment" to the company. Residents charge that Home Depot is a warehouse, and is not a permitted use in the C-1 limited commercial zone. They note that City Commissioners had the power to scale back the project to make it more compatible with the unique, small business environment in the Grove -- but failed to do so. A citizen's group called The Grove First has been battling the project for nearly a year, and according to group founder, Attorney Marc Sarnoff, the residents are prepared to take their case to court as soon as they have exhausted their administrative remedies with the City Commissioners -- which could happen before the New Year. Sarnoff says the group is determined to protect the unique sense of place in Coconut Grove. Home Depot officials refused to be interviewed for the film, as well as most city officials. A notable exception was Miami City Commissioner Tomas Regalado, who assailed Home Depot for its lack of cooperation. "They are not good neighbors," Regalado says in the film. "It all boils down to one thing... This is an administration that is very developer-friendly." Regalado said he has "seen the anguish of nearby residents" in dealing with the Home Depot in his district. Commissioner Johnny Winton, by contrast, who represents Coconut Grove as part of a larger district, told the media that as far as he was concerned, "the Home Depot battle is done," and said it was time to move on. But The Grove First says its time for Home Depot to move out. Ironically, Commissioner Winton, who voted for the Home Depot plan, came out against Wal-Mart this week in midtown Miami. The Miami Herald quoted Winton as saying Wal-Mart just didn't fit the ''image'' the city wanted for Midtown Miami. ''Whether they like it or not, Wal-Mart has an image problem. That image is not what we want this development to be.'' Considering Home Depot is just Wal-Mart with a hammer, Commissioner Winton's inconsistent stands have left him with "an image problem" as well.


The Coconut Grove is one of the jewels of Miami, a distinctive neighborhood that helps make the city such a diverse and vital community. It's small shops and boutiques, and sidewalk cafes draw in tourists that come to the city. Given the fact that Home Depot has an existing store on SW 8th street, there is clearly no market need to build another unit. Home Depot acquired the Coconut Grove site as part of a larger acquisition sale when Kmart sold 18 of its underperforming stores. There are 7 Home Depots within 25 miles of the Coconut Grove site. According to the company, Home Depot builds its stores so close to one another that they cannibalize as much as 30% of their own sales in some markets. This week's film premiere was one of the most creative and entertaining anti-big-box events I have ever attended, and I was honored to be part of the film. The DVD "Don't Box Me In" is available for shipping and handling costs. Go to www.thegrovefirst.com for further details, or call 305-442-9235.

What you can do: The Coconut Grove is one of the jewels of Miami, a distinctive neighborhood that helps make the city such a diverse and vital place. It's small shops and boutiques, and sidewalk cafes draw in tourists that come to the Miami area. Given the fact that Home Depot has an existing store on SW 8th street, there is clearly no market need to build another unit. Home Depot acquired the Coconut Grove site as part of a larger acquisition sale when Kmart sold 18 of its underperforming stores. There are 7 Home Depots within 25 miles of the Coconut Grove site. According to the company, Home Depot builds its stores so close to one another that they cannibalize as much as 30% of their own sales in some markets. This week's film premiere was one of the most creative and entertaining anti-big-box events I have ever attended, and I was honored to be part of the film. The DVD "Don't Box Me In" is available for shipping and handling costs. Go to www.thegrovefirst.com for further details, or call 305-442-9235.










 
 
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