MIAMI — (Florida International University)- A closed Liberty City theater that activists hoped would become part of a Seventh Avenue redevelopment project may be demolished.
About $5 million in Miami-Dade County money originally intended to renovate the Carver Theater, at the corner of Northwest Seventh Avenue and Northwest 61 Avenue, was withdrawn when officials found that buying and repairing the building would cost more.
The renovation was to have been part of the Seventh Avenue Transit Village redevelopment project. The theater’s fate now is uncertain.
“We have discussed maybe doing a parking lot if we can’t get it refurbished,” said Liza Mendez, a Realtor from Pedro Realty, which handles the property for its owners. “It would be nice because there is no parking lot in the area.”
The theater property at 6016 Northwest Seventh Avenue is owned by a partnership that also owns property at the corner of Northwest Seventh Avenue and Northwest 62nd Street.
The property is worth about $434,000, according to the Miami-Dade property appraiser. The partnership bought it in December 1996, but county property records did not indicate the price. Partnership members could not be reached for comment.
The Transit Village is a county project to redevelop the block bounded by Northwest Seventh Avenue and Northwest 62nd Street by replacing existing buildings with a complex that is to include affordable housing units and retail space, along with a transit hub for buses, taxis and jitneys.
Plans for the project include space for a community theater.
The Carver Theater is located across Northwest Seventh Avenue from the project.
The theater, mostly used by whites when it opened in the 1940s, closed in the early 1960s.
It later served the black community, but eventually closed and has stood empty for years.
When the Transit Village project was proposed, members of the Miami Worker’s Center, a community activist organization, pushed for the building to be rehabilitated.
“We wanted it to be redeveloped and for there to be community theater,” said Whitney Maxey, an Worker's Center organizer.
Mendez agrees with county officials that renovating the theater would be costly — she could not say exactly how much — but wishes it could be.
“It would be great to put it back as a theater and put it back to its glory,” Mendez said.
In the meantime the property's owner is considering options that include razing the building in favor of a parking lot.
“We are kind of waiting to see what happens with the Northwest Seventh Avenue Transit Village,” Mendez said.
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