Closed El Portal church to be born again with office and retail

Church has been boarded up for a decade

(Gridline Properties, iStock)
(Gridline Properties, iStock)

The sight of a boarded up church with fading yellow paint and white columns along Northeast Second Avenue in El Portal has become customary for drivers and joggers. But that won’t be for long.

The former Rader Memorial United Methodist church and school at 205 Northeast 87th Street, closed for 10 years, will be born again as an office and retail site with restaurant space.

Miami-based Elm Springs, through its Sanctuary Village affiliate, bought the property for $5.5 million and is planning the adaptive reuse aimed at revitalizing the property.

The 28,947-square-foot church and school were built in 1952 on 2 acres, according to a press release. The building has a cathedral with high ceilings and 20 classrooms.

Local investors Seth Gadinsky and Samuel Soriero, both of whom lead Miami Beach-based real estate companies, are the sellers. They bought the property in February 2016 for $3.2 million, a deed shows.

The duo had opened the door to the property’s redevelopment, as they obtained entitlements to turn the site into a mix of uses, said Alfredo Riascos of Gridline Properties, who represented the sellers in the deal.

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“They had realized the full potential of this building and the ample parking, and they went on a quest to fully entitle the property and upzone it into a true mixed-use commercial retail and restaurant property,” Riascos said.

Their plan took a turn, as areas in Miami to the south of the church turned hot, prompting them to test the sale market. The Little River and Upper East Side submarkets have become an adaptive reuse hotspot. The Citadel food hall opened in a former industrial property a few blocks south of the church.

They picked Elm Springs, because it’s plans are in line with the sellers’, Riascos said.

Gadinsky is principal of Gadinsky Real Estate, a real estate development, leasing, management and consulting firm. Soriero is principal of Group 10 Capital Management, which manages investment partnerships, with a focus on real estate, as well as direct lending and medical service-related companies, according to its website.

This won’t be the first South Florida church to be turned into a commercial mixed-use project. Miami developer Eduardo Pelaez, through his Wellmeaning Investments, in June bought the Fourth Avenue Church of God near Fort Lauderdale’s Flagler Village for $2.4 million. He plans to redevelop the site into a food hall with retail.