February 3rd, 2016 5:50 PM by Nour Ailan
Bal Harbour Shops has purchased the Church by the Sea’s lot for $30 million, marking another step forward for Whitman Family Development’s expansion plans for the upscale shopping center.
Miami-Dade County records show the now torn down church, formerly the oldest in Bal Harbour, sold last week to Bal Harbour Shops LLLP. The 27,000-square-foot property was part of a contentious battle between the Miami-Dade County’s historic preservation board and the church, the latter of which agreed to sell to the Whitman family. The board voted against protecting the church from demolition in November. It was torn down in December.
The church has been a key part of the neighboring mall’s renovation and expansion. The $400 million project will include a new entrance, wider sidewalks, a new canopy, landscaping and some new exterior walls. The upgrades will also include the addition of Barneys New York, expansions of existing Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue stores, and new luxury boutiques. Bernard Zyscovich of Zyscovich Architects is the lead designer on the project.
Whitman has also agreed to build a new home for the congregational church.
Last year, Whitman president and CEO Matthew Whitman Lazenby said that “without exaggeration the last 40 years have been spent trying to negotiate a deal with the congregational church,” and that Whitman’s plans ensure “that the Village of Bal Harbour remains the center for luxury living.”