Unity on the Bay may worship in ways more conservative religious sects look down upon, but they can't deny that God's good fortune has clearly blessed it in the real estate department. The iconic Edgewater church with a bayfront view has decided to put the two-acre lot its called home since 1961 up for sale.
According to the Miami Herald, Unity has previously resisted advancements from developers. Church leaders have turned down deals as rich as $40 million before, but given the state of Edgewater's red-hot real estate market and the church's current physical state, they decided to sell. Despite earlier specific interest, the property will go on the open market without a defined asking price.
While not directly on the bay, it has an unobstructed view of it. The property sits at the apex of the Edgewater and Omni neighborhoods, and indeed its parking lot is the only shortcut for pedestrians and bicyclists who wish to avoid Biscayne Boulevard while traveling between the two neighborhoods.
Even as some developers become more cautious as the market stabilizes, industry pros tell the Herald that the church's unique location will certainly cause someone to take a big bet on it. Another big luxury condo building will likely rise.
Church officials say that the current home needs repairs anyway, and that the sale would help them move into a larger space somewhere in Wynwood or elsewhere along the Biscayne Corridor. They hope to add a performance arts space and an area for yoga at a future location.
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The church says it came to the decision after a vote including more than 120 members.
“We give thanks that Unity on the Bay’s right and perfect future home is manifesting under the guidance of God," read a statement from Senior Minister Rev. Chris Jackson.
Though the church believes in the divinity of Jesus Christ, it doesn't necessarily label itself as a Christian church. Weekly events include a Reiki healing circle, chakra clearing, and the practice of yoga and qigong. The church hosted a mass same-sex marriage ceremony in January after the practice became legal in Florida. Its sixth annual gala was co-hosted by drag queen Tiffany Fantasia. Regular charity efforts include distributing fruits and vegetables to the "food insecure" for free.
Of course, the church's planned exit from the neighborhood only underscores the neighborhood's changing face. Though, that was already quite clear, dwarfed as it is by the giant towers that have sprung up around it in the past decade.