Church members approve First Miami Presbyterian land deal for 80-story Brickell condo

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Members of the First Miami Presbyterian Church voted Sunday in favor of a land sale that would allow a towering condominium to be built behind the historic building at 609 Brickell Ave.

The Rev. Dr. Christopher Benek, part of the church’s leadership, moderated a meeting over Zoom for two hours with just over 100 members on Sunday. The Miami Herald monitored the meeting.

Sixty-eight members voted in favor of the deal while 42 member opposed the proposal.

“There have been many times when we don’t know what the future will bring,” Benek told worshipers on Zoom. “Time and again you have delivered us.”

The condominium would replace the church’s waterfront surface parking lot and the elementary and middle school Key Point Christian Academy. The property would be developed by the Brickell-based real estate firm 13th Floor Investments.

“I firmly believe that up until now we have used the property to the best of our opportunity,” said one member in favor of the plan. “We have given it the college try. With the purpose of expanding, this is a no-brainer. If the deal is done correctly, this can serve for our benefit moving forward.”

Another member supportive of the project said, “I am trusting God that he’s put the right people in place. I don’t want to pass up the opportunity to pass on God’s will.”

Those against the plan largely wanted more time to decipher the details of the development.

One member said, “What I’ve learned is that deals shouldn’t be rushed and that process matters. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a Realtor or financial expert who would say you wouldn’t get the same amount or more in a month or two.”

The project would be built on one of the last remaining waterfront properties in Brickell, with views of Brickell Key, Biscayne Bay.

According to the proposal, the church would receive about $240 million.

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