City commissioners passed a motion Tuesday night in Fort Lauderdale to declare the First Evangelical Lutheran Church a historical site.
The church, which is nearly 100 years old, will now have its original structure preserved.
But it will no longer be a place of worship. The developer, Itay Avital, will repurpose the interior and surrounding lot for retail spaces and rental units.
"I think we're very happy with the decision," Avital said. "This is going to be a great project and it shows a good compromise where you can actually combine an historic or an important structure together with something else. This is a good example for other developments."
First Evangelical Lutheran Church is on SE 3rd Avenue.
Tuesday night’s motion passed under two conditions: that 3,000 square feet of open space be maintained between the church and the new structure, and that the stained-glass windows currently at the church must be installed at the new building.
"They're designating the facade and were happy about that" Robbin Haines Merrill said. "It's the history of the architecture and the integrity of the building, that we're most concerned about and why we came here. We still have to maintain that to push for the preservation of it."