Bal Harbour Shops agrees to deal with Church by the Sea on expansion

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After nearly 50 years of talks, the Bal Harbour Shops will be expanding on the site of the Church By the Sea. The planned 200,000-square-foot expansion comes after a deal that gives the shops the right to acquire the tract at 501 96th Street on which the church has stood for almost seven decades. In exchange, Bal Harbour Shops will build a new, eco-friendly church on the land it owns nearby at the corner of Bal Bay Drive and Park Drive. “We reached a critical benchmark when the congregation voted in favor of the deal in June,” said Matthew Whitman Lazenby, operating partner of Bal Harbour Shops’ owner, the Whitman family. “But we could not begin to move forward with our expansion plans until we had this binding agreement.” — Alexander Britell