Developer proposes new plan for historic church

Former Christian Science church in Miami.
Former Christian Science church in Miami.

A developer proposes to convert a former Christian Science church north of downtown Miami into a multilevel grocery store while building a residential tower on top.

The developer, Fifteen Group LLC, plans to build a 38-story residential tower atop the former First Church of Christ, Scientist at 256 Northeast 19 Street.

Miami’s historic preservation board will review the developer’s plan on Tuesday.  The former church, a Neoclassical Revival structure built in 1925, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The developer’s plan is different from a preliminary one the historic preservation board approved in March. A significant concession by Fifteen Group LLC that involved building setbacks was absent from its latest development proposal. Another change is the developer’s plan to demolish the rear of the church rather than restoring its exterior.

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The board may be unable to preserve the structural character of the church, though, because the Miami City Commission voted in the 1980s to remove the church from a list of historic properties that cannot be redeveloped.

So if Fifteen Group and the Miami’s historic preservation board reach an impasse, the developer may be able to raze the church and build on a vacant site. [Daily Business Review] – Mike Seemuth