Brickell parents want the church to vote against condominium plans

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A view of the rear of the Key Point Christian Academy behind the First Miami Presbyterian Church on Brickell Ave. in Miami, Florida on Tuesday, October 12, 2021.

Special for the Miami Herald

Parents of students at Key Point Christian Academy – which would be demolished if the Miami First Presbyterian Church’s proposed property contract is approved in a vote this weekend – said Friday they were not happy with the plan.

“People go here from preschool through eighth grade, so … it’s a family community,” said Lindsay Keller, a 30-year-old mother who lives near EPIC Miami Residences in Brickell. She said her seven-year-old daughter Gabby loves the academy, especially oreo milkshakes and fries after school from the food trucks in the parking lot behind it.

Keller said she received an email Thursday saying the church is considering a proposal to approve the development of part of the property that includes the academy. The email stated that the Church has the best interests of the school children and their families in their hearts, and that they intend to honor the three-year contract of the Church and the school.

Over 250 students attend the academy, which is attached to and beyond the church on Brickell Avenue. classes starts at $ 13,919 for preschoolers and about $ 17,000 to $ 17,500 for elementary and middle school students. Students are also required to select a $ 2,000 organic food plan per the academy’s registration package.

Diana Cazacu, writer and psychology student, has a 4-year-old daughter, Emily, who is attending the academy. Cazacu said she was in a parent group chat where they expressed disappointment over the possible land sale. Her main concern: Emily finding a new school after making friends and getting used to her teachers and classwork.

“I live in Brickell so it’s very convenient for us to have the school, church, and location,” Cazacu told The Miami Herald. “There are so many buildings around; I don’t think they need it. That’s enough.”

Cazacu, who has attended First Miami Presbyterian Church for four years, said she plans to tune in for a zoom vote on Sunday’s proposal from church members. She said she would fight back.

First Miami Presbyterian Church, the city’s oldest organized ward, sits on one of the last available waterfront lots in Brickell. Though the church cannot be demolished or relocated as a historic site, it is considering selling its parking lot and academy building to 13th Floor Investments, a Brickell-based company. Proposal documents suggest that the church will receive $ 240 million.

Brickell residents and workers have raised concerns about increased traffic and the downsizing of one of the last remaining green spaces in the high-rise area.

Gabriella Petersson, a 31-year-old who has two children at the academy, shares a different opinion. She said she agreed with the Church’s urge to sell part of the property.

“Honestly, if I were, I know a lot of people who don’t like them, but I think if I was offered the money, I would, too,” said Petersson.

Her daughter Isabelle (7) and her son Mateo (5) have been attending the academy since they were two years old. When the school is closed, she finds another one for her little ones.

“People always complain, they complain about the parties here and everything,” said Petersson, who lives in an apartment building in Brickell. “You can move to Coral Gables, move to another neighborhood. The skyline here is so beautiful, it’s really nice what they’re doing here, so I’m not against it. “

While seeing the limited real estate available in the area and the influx of people moving to Miami, Keller also expressed concern about the increase in traffic despite living less than half a mile from the school.

“I don’t feel like they are accommodating to all of the people who are moving here,” she said. “We barely make it over the bridge … to get to school on time on some days.”

Kalia Richardson is a Fall 2021 intern for the Miami Herald’s Breaking News team. Previously, she wrote for The Independent Florida Alligator, North-Central NPR Affiliate WUFT News, and worked for the Orlando Sentinel in the Justice and Security Department. Kalia was born in 305 and is attending the University of Florida.


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