Members of historic Miami Beach church vote in support leasing portion of property

12/22/2013 4:08 PM

12/23/2013 2:12 PM

The congregants of Miami Beach Community Church showed “overwhelming” support Sunday to lease out a portion of its historic property in order to bring in $100 million for the financially-strapped church, according to the church’s Senior Pastor Harold Thompson.

Nearly 90 members of the church, which has been on the corner of Lincoln Road and Drexel Avenue for almost a century, voted to support contract negotiations with Tristar Capital to build a multi-story building on a portion of the courtyard fronting the Lincoln Road Mall. The final vote was 79-9 to support a 50-year-lease of church property.

“I think that the church is enthusiastic about the possibility of being an even a greater ministry in South Beach,” said Thompson. The church has been running at a deficit of about $30,000 a month.

“We view this as an opportunity to overcome some of our financial difficulty,” he said, adding that the goal is to grow its membership from what is now about 170.

The congregant vote was only the first step in a long process, said Thompson.

Now, the church will have to work out a deal with the developer and get city approval for development on the site. Because it’s a historic property the church might face some difficulty. It would need approval by the city’s Historic Preservation Board.

Thompson is hopeful that deal will get support from the city.

“I hope they hear the church’s voice,” he said. “We are looking toward our future.”

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