A rooftop garage could save historic Miami church

First Church of Christ Scientist
First Church of Christ Scientist

A Miami-based developer has offered to renovate the First Church of Christ Scientist, convert its sanctuary to retail space and apply for a historic designation, with one caveat: a garage must be built on top of the church for a condominium next door.

Fifteen Group presented their plans for the garage and tower to the city’s historic preservation board last week.

The garage would sit slightly behind the church’s front facade on beams sunken into the building. Fifteen Group wants to build a 46-story condominium on the sliver of open land next to the church, which leaves no room for a parking podium or a separate lot, the Miami Herald reported.

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The garage’s exterior would be translucent glass to minimize the garage’s presence, the publication reported.

The board and preservationists were less than thrilled with the presentation. Even with the architect’s efforts, the garage overshadows the church. Board members voted for the architects to return again with a refined design, the Herald reported.

The church, at 1836 Biscayne Boulevard, was built in 1925 and designed by August Geiger. It was sold most recently in November for $14.3 million by a company tied to Miami-based QueensFort Capital at a $8 million profit. The building was purchased by a company tied to Fifteen Group. [Miami Herald]Sean Stewart-Muniz