Miami Church Wants To Close $240M Brickell Land Sale. What’s Blocking The Deal?

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Miami’s oldest Presbyterian church stands to gain $240 million by selling 2.2 acres to developers who want to build an 80-story condominium tower on the last waterfront property in Brickell.

However, a member of First Miami Presbyterian Church, Cary Tolley, is standing in the way. Tolley, who filed a complaint in October, won a preliminary battle last week before the Presbytery of Tropical Florida, the overseeing body of the church at 609 Brickell Ave.

The Presbytery of Tropical Florida remains determined to close the property deal. Its leader, Rev. Daris Bultena, called the potential residential tower a “historic partnership” with two developers. Should the sale eventually proceed, it would clear the way to build more residences in Miami’s financial district. Other developers are rushing to meet demand for high-rise living in the Brickell neighborhood.

A settlement could occur before that hearing.

“As Presbyterians, we believe that you always try to resolve differences in as graceful a manner as you can,” Tolley said. “I want to explore any and all possibilities before we have to go to the hearing.”

Tolley’s goals are to force another vote of the church’s congregation about the land transaction and he wants to see if the developers would reduce the size the condo development. But another obstacle could scuttle a potential sale — the pending $7 million tax lien on the church’s Brickell property. The Presbytery of Tropical Florida will meet several parties in March, including Miami-Dade County Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia and Tax Collector Peter Can, to dispute the tax lien. Jerry Gomez, county assistant tax collector, said the office is awaiting a final order or court judgment in order to determine tax amounts due and deadline dates.

Source: Miami Herald