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Historic West Grove awaits trolley settlement

Miami Times staff report | 8/14/2014, 9 a.m.
Residents in Miami’s oldest Black neighborhood are working on a settlement after a lawsuit was filed against a developer for ...
Black residents in the West Grove have been left with an empty trolley garage after Coral Gables decided to build one within their city. Photo by Erick Johnson

Residents in Miami’s oldest Black neighborhood are working on a settlement after a lawsuit was filed against a developer for illegally building a trolley garage in the Coconut Grove.

The lawsuit is one of several legal battles that has occurred since Henry Torres built a 12-bay trolley garage in the West Grove despite complaints from Black residents. Torres’ company Astor Cos. , built the trolley garage anyway at 3320 Douglas Road.

The garage would have been used by a trolley that would travel through Coral Gables but would not stop through the West Grove.

The complaints led to an investigation by the Federal Transit Administration, which found that Miami-Dade County, the city of Miami and Coral Gables violated the 1964 Civil Rights Acts because a study was not conducted to determine whether the trolley garage, a mass transit project partially funded with federal money, would adversely impact minorities. in the area.

On Monday August 4, Coral Gables’ City Commission approved a settlement that would allow the city time to find a new location to build a trolley garage. Under the settlement, the city would sell the land at 301 Altara Ave. to Astor, who would then lease it back to the city for at least eight months and no more than a year.

The arrangement leaves West Grove residents with an empty parking garage. Community leaders said a second settlement between the West Grove and Astor is close to being

Part of the settlement limits the use of the building to prevent it from becoming an auto repair shop. Residents would have 90 days to buy the property for $4 million before Torres can put it on the market.