Residents of Palmetto Bay will have a chance to view the greatly enhanced facility called Thalatta Estate during a grand opening celebration at the park on Sunday, Feb. 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Located at 17301 Old Cutler Rd., the facility now will have the added function of being available as a rental facility for weddings, banquets, special events and other private functions, as well as a public park and site for official village events.
Special events coordinator Mary Fernandez is excited about the possibilities of the newly completed facility.
“It’s a new venue for special events that offers something so unique,” Fernandez said. “Your wedding planner or party planner can come out and see this place and be wowed by the fact that it’s on the water. It has a historical component to it with the old home and the fact that we put so much thought into how to make it such a special event venue. These are all things we’re proud of.”
Although great pains have been taken to keep the remodeled structure of the property’s old carriage house true to its historical appearance, new areas have been worked into it that include a reception lobby area, an upstairs room with closet and mirrors for the bride plus other special features.
“We have a catering kitchen, which is an advantage to the caterer who in turn can provide better quality of service to the renter of this place,” Fernandez said. “It has the capacity for outdoor lawn parties. It has a capacity for a more intimate daytime luncheon in a covered terrace as well as a more traditional wedding ceremony by the water, or sweet fifteens — quinces, bar mitzvahs, anniversaries, birthdays. It really is a flex space in that we can imagine it being used in all these different types of occasions.”
The facility could handle events as small as a 20-person luncheon or as large as 150- 200 people out on the lawn for a tented wedding ceremony and reception, according to Fernandez and Fanny Carmona-Gonzalez, Parks and Recreation director.
Edward Silva, director of the village’s Department of Building and Capital Projects, said they had to take apart the original structure’s carriage house and rebuild it extensively to correct numerous deficiencies common to a very old house. He credited former Mayor Eugene Flinn and the council members for leading the way.
“First and foremost the mayor and council gave us directions,” Silva said. “They did a master plan, looking at the facility and having the foresight to develop a plan that we wanted to build to.
“Staff followed their lead and we have done this project in-house, putting our collective minds together and trying to make this the best facility we possibly can have in this area. By doing it in-house we saved the residents money.”
Besides the kitchen facility, air-conditioned public restrooms have been added to the park along with additional electricity for outdoor lighting and equipment, and parking spaces. They completely revamped the entrance and intensively landscaped the grounds, according to Silva. The small pool has been turned into a reflecting pond with waterfall.
“I can tell you that when the gates are open I haven’t had a single resident yet come by here and say they didn’t like it,” Silva said. “Everybody has absolutely praised this facility.”
The roughly four-acre property was acquired in 2005 after a Herculean effort by council and staff to secure outside funding to cover most of the cost of the old 1926 estate originally designed and built by the Connett family, saving it from developers who would have likely demolished it.
Special displays at the grand opening ceremony will demonstrate how Thalatta Estate would look for special events.
For information or to tour the facility, contact Mary Fernandez at 305-234-6383 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.