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The commission agreed that the new courthouse will be between NW 1st Street and West Flagler Street. It will be built on parking lots and green space between the library plaza and the existing courthouse. The next step is to solicit developers for the project. A bright and shiny new developer is asking for $30 million a year to build and run the courthouse. The County expects to offset the expense by selling the old courthouse as a hotel or whatever else will make money. While the courthouse staff including its judges, all want a new courthouse citing unsafe work conditions at the existing courthouse with its well documented mold and leak issues, future property developers and investors may see this as a money pit and not worth as much as it is expected to bring in. Then what? We may have to pick up the tab if this gamble does not pay off. I guess progress can’t be stopped and we must embrace the future (crossing my fingers).

I personally love the old courthouse, but I must admit I am a victim of nostalgia. It was built in 1928, when style and elegance was the expected norm. Too bad nostalgia is not worth much or else the courthouse would be priceless. I remember going there as a small child and being enthralled with the beautiful old art deco iron gates at the entrances, the mosaic decorations of angels on the elevator doors, the interior architecture and checkerboard tiles of the lobby floor. The Hispanic residents of Miami nicknamed it “El Cielito Lindo” (the beautiful little sky) because when one looks up at it from the street, the building seems to disappear into the sky as the roof is pyramid shaped.

I worked in the courthouse as a young adult and the older staffers would tell me that the vultures that come down in the Fall and perch on the pyramid on top of the courthouse were the reincarnated souls of the attorneys and the judges who worked there.

Below is the rendition of the future Civil Courthouse in Miami. It’s nice and shiny, like every other building popping up in Downtown. To be clear, I say “it’s nice” the same way one would look at a new model car that is indistinguishable from every other new teardrop shaped car on the road today. It could never be as “NICE” as a black and chrome 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham with its poor mileage, dirty engine, and unsafe handling but we don’t care about any of that because we still love it. While the new building is nice, but it is soulless and invisible standing next to all the similar looking buildings. The most beautiful part of the new building is the ironic reflection of the old courthouse on its mirrored side. The old courthouse can be seen in the reflection of the building that replaced her like a beautiful older woman standing in front of a mirror, looking at her curves and reminiscing about how she attracted so many when she was in her prime.

I wonder if the vultures reincarnated from attorneys and judges will perch on the new courthouse.

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