The recent Historic Preservation Board approval of the Miami Beach Community Church's retail addition may be reconsidered, as political drama swirls around the issue of whether the courtyard it would be built in is worth preserving or not... and the city commission may be requesting a reevaluation of the approval. That request is being prepared now by city staff, Curbed hears, with the rehearing potentially happening as early as July.
Historic Preservationists say yes, of course it's worth preserving, even though the land was never really 'finished' and previous plans to construct a larger church in the spot or a more elaborate courtyard never really came to fruition. Sure, it's not holy ground for any particular reason, and it's not a grave yard, but it's not like this square of grass sat empty and unused on a prime stretch of Lincoln Road for almost a hundred years.
With the church completed by architect Walter DeGarmo in 1921, the courtyard was a hot spot for garden parties and church socials. Rosie the Elephant cavorted with Harvey Firestone, the tire baron, there, probably for one of Carl Fisher's publicity stunts. Fisher's neighboring Lincoln Hotel had guest rooms facing the courtyard, across Drexel Avenue. Historical photos show church services and community meetings being held in the lawn, with the church itself as backdrop. Oh, and according to historic preservationists, deed restrictions originally put in place by Carl Fisher, but subsequently lifted decades later, said that no commercial establishment should ever be built on the site.
· Miami Beach Community Church coverage [Curbed Miami]