The following is a submission by Jennifer Garcia of Garcia Design Studio in Coral Gables.
My wishful thinking and blinded admiration of Coral Gables tricked me again! One would think that with all the hype Coral Gables gets for historical preservation and aesthetics, that new construction could be close-to-perfect. For the most part, I can proudly state that most new developments have been positive and have typically changed the cityscape for the better – infill of vacant properties; creation of quality public space; improving intersections and leveling the transportation playing field. Unfortunately even a forward-thinking city doesn’t get everything right all the time. Case in point: the Northern Trust Bank property at the northeast corner of Biltmore Way and Segovia.
Not familiar with the intersection? It is a relatively new round-a-bout, now receiving funding for civic monuments; bookend for the Segovia median/bike lane project; and centerpiece for future Biltmore Way Streetscape Project.
Where once stood a mod￼￼￼￼est 1960’s corner building, with parking appropriately in the rear and side, now is an elaborate surface parking lot. I have to admit that when they were constructing the new building in the former parking, I thought they were infilling the old lot! To my disappointment, once the new building was up, the old building came down to make way for their new parking lot. Now the new bank building sits on the east part of the property, and the parking at this “major gateway” corner creates several issues: