Anyone who has spent time on Giralda Avenue – especially on the now pedestrian mall of Giralda Plaza – will have noticed the odd-ball on the block: The Church of Scientology between Miss Saigon Bistro and Mara’s Basque Cuisine. For years, it has quietly processed converts to its unique vision on a retail street devoted mostly to dining.
Now the 1947 building, a former U.S. Post Office, is being converted to four restaurants, including the block’s first rooftop eatery. Purchased last year by the Gables-based Maven Real Estate group for $3.9 million, the renovation is revealing 19-foot ceilings and fluted 25-foot columns that had been covered up.
“Most of the older buildings [on Giralda] are like bowling alleys, narrow and dark,” says Maven’s managing partner Marc Schwarzberg. “We have towering ceilings and wide spaces, and we’re worked to preserve that.” The transformed building will be sheathed in glass to let in the light, and, so far, will house a Catalonian-style tapas bar, a Coyo Taco outlet, and an Italian restaurant. Opening is scheduled for Q1 2019.
Other restaurant transformations in store by the Maven Group: A former architect’s office next door at 116 Giralda, and the historic La Palma building on Alhambra Circle. Stay tuned.