If you’ve noticed the orange barrier fencing mesh around the city’s historic plazas and entrances, it is for a very good reason.
The historic plazas and entrances of Coral Gables, built in the early 1920s and so important to the city’s architectural heritage, are being restored. Approximately $1.6 million is being funded for the restoration of Granada Plaza, Granada Entrance, Balboa Plaza, Segovia Plaza, Commercial Entrance, Ponce de Leon Plaza and Columbus Plaza.
The works include the architectural renovation and conservation of the structures, which includes the renovation of the fountains and the retrofit of all light fixtures. Renovation has been ongoing since November 2016 with an anticipated completion date in the fall of 2017.
Currently under renovation:
Granada Plaza (Alhambra Circle and Granada Boulevard);
Granada Entrance (SW Eighth Street and Granada Boulevard);
Balboa Plaza (S. Greenway Drive, Coral Way, Anderson Road and De Soto Boulevard);
Segovia Plaza (N. Greenway Drive, Coral Way and Segovia Street);
Commercial Entrance (Alhambra Circle, Madeira Avenue and Douglas Road);
Ponce de Leon Plaza (Granada Boulevard and Coral Way), and
Columbus Plaza (Coral Way, Indian Mound Trail and Columbus Boulevard).
Designed by landscape architect Frank Button and artist Denman Fink, the plazas and entrances were constructed between 1923 and 1926. Originally eight entrances were planned but only four were completed: Douglas Entrance, Country Club Prado, Commercial Entrance and Granada Entrance.
The Commercial Entrance and Granada Entrance will be restored as part of this project. The plazas were designed for both motorists and pedestrians. For the motorists, they identify major intersections, disperse traffic, and provide an instance of light when emerging from the canopy of trees. For the pedestrian, the corners of each plaza have visual attractions such as stuccoed pillars, fountains, pools, gates and walls with sitting ledges. They are made of oolitic limestone, concrete, brick, stucco, wood, and wrought iron and were weathered to give them a centuries-old Spanish look.
Denman Fink once said, “…it is just that quality of age-old development that is the real keynote for the Coral Gables development.”