It Takes A Village: Finding Sanctuary in El Portal

The Egret’s Senior Columnist Raquel V. Reyes explores a timely – or timeless – topic of interest to the greater Miami Shores community. Enjoy!

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R.V. Reyes head shotI recently had the pleasure of conversing with Seth Gadinsky of Gadinsky Real Estate, LLC. He and Sam Soriero purchased the Radar Memorial Church site in February of this year with plans to open a mixed-use complex. Their development is called The Sanctuary at El Portal. The building will be converted into studios and an event space. It was reported that they intended to launch in December for Art Basel and its satellite fairs. The Egret asked me to follow up on the development’s progress.

You have an ambitious timeline. Will your December deadline be achievable?
Probably not. We are still fielding inquiries and want to head in the right direction. So, we are taking it a little slower. We should start the plans in July which puts our timeline into 1st quarter next year.

The building has not been fully occupied in a long-time. What state of disrepair is it in?
The last owner started interior demolition and stopped. It’s in pretty rough shape but the bones are wonderful and it will be great again.

Doesn’t the building have some asbestos issues?
No, it was cleaned out before our purchase of the property.

The Sanctuary will be an event venue and have studio spaces that will lease at approximately $25 a square foot. Will the studios be only for visual artist or are you expecting to attract small design firms, performance artists, and other such “creatives”?
We have been approached by people from all walks of life. So, it will not be relegated to artists only.

I know residents along the parallel streets will want to know— what is the plan for managing the parking and traffic during events?
We have not studied that but rest assured we are sensitive to balancing the desire to activate the property without reducing the quality of life for residents.When we have an event, we will take precautions to avoid spill-over.

I am curious as to how the beverages and food for events be handled? Will there be an on-site restaurant or will it be catered for events?
We are planning for an on-site restaurant serving three meals a day that will have the capability to service the events, as well, but probably not on an exclusive basis.

How do you see the residents and neighboring communities engaging with The Sanctuary?
This will be the best part. We are close to a deal with an operator who wants this to be a place for residents. They will serve coffee in the morning and go through dinner at night. They even want to clean up the playground in back so kids can run around while their parents enjoy some time off.

Lastly, what is your vision of the area’s future?
We want to help El Portal continue on its current trajectory as a hidden gem in this bustling city. What it needs is a central place of identity and hopefully we will accomplish this.

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Raquel Reyes is a writer living in Miami Shores. Check out for more information about her.


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