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Construction near on Scandinavia-inspired Fern Creek 20 townhomes, subs sought

A rendering of the 20 townhomes planned for roughly one acre of land on N. Fern Creek Avenue, between Park Lake Street and Woodward Street.
A rendering of the 20 townhomes planned for roughly one acre of land on N. Fern Creek Avenue, between Park Lake Street and Woodward Street.(Mark Kinchla)

Fresh off redeveloping the former United Pentecostal Church near Lake Eola into the upscale Samsara townhomes, developer Mark Kinchla is taking the modern industrial design lessons learned there and applying them to a blank one-acre canvas on N. Fern Creek Avenue.

He expects to break ground in the next two weeks on construction of the first half of 20 fee-simple townhomes fronting N. Fern Creek, set between Park Lake and Woodward streets in Downtown Orlando's Colonialtown Mills 50 arts district.

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A developer and general contractor behind multiple residential infill projects downtown, Kinchla is still fielding subcontractor bids on the "Fern Creek 20" from the foundation up, he told GrowthSpotter on Thursday.

Highlighted in blue are parcels totaling almost one acre on N. Fern Creek Avenue, between Park Lake and Woodward streets, where construction should start in the coming weeks on new townhomes.
Highlighted in blue are parcels totaling almost one acre on N. Fern Creek Avenue, between Park Lake and Woodward streets, where construction should start in the coming weeks on new townhomes.(Orange County Property Appraiser)

"We're just going through the last few comments with the city, and should have our (construction) permits issued in the next 10 days," he said. "For our first phase of 10, our focus is to get the model up in 120 to 150 days, then complete the rest of the units in seven to 10 months."

Kinchla filed a determination request on Sept. 6 for Orlando's Appearance Review Board for the 20 single-family attached townhomes on a 0.98-acre site.

He and wife Kathy Kinchla, an associate with Keller Williams Realty, acquired the site's six parcels in late June for $995,000. Demolition has taken down all of the old homes but one, where a dental office's lease runs through July 2017.

Kinchla said it was through that church renovation into the five Samsara townhomes over the past year that he developed new ideas for modern industrial design and layout.

Details on the projected construction cost per square foot for this new product, and how it compares to the builder's single-family product line.

"Mark is big into repurposing old buildings, like he did with the church into Samsara near Lake Eola," Kathy Kinchla said. "These new ones will have an element of repurposing as well, with features like older wood and industrial design."

Inspired by Scandinavian design, the three-story townhomes on N. Fern Creek will feature reused brick on the front and back walls of each unit, which were collected from the site demolition. Exposed block on the side walls will maintain attention on that brick, galvanized aluminum ceilings of up to 16 feet will feature exposed ductwork, and floors will be polished concrete.

At an average size of 2,125 square feet, the homes will be clustered in four buildings of five units, with a courtyard between the central buildings. Pre-construction pricing will likely start at $360,000, Kathy said.

Local custom home builders Tracey Smith and Michael Madden have tabbed Phil Kean Design Group for a 10-unit modern brownstone townhouse project in Downtown

Three different floor plans in each cluster will rotate the living area between the third, second and first floors, to minimize noise from entertainment systems in neighboring units. All the townhomes will have the option to install an elevator, or three large closets in its place.

Kinchla developed five townhomes directly across the street from this site that are now under construction (734-742 Fern Creek Ave.), which Kathy successfully pre-sold at an average of $363,000.

"We already finished three (townhomes) on Illinois Street this past year a block north (of the Fern Creek 20 site), and we built another five directly across on Fern Creek," Kinchla said. "We're leading an evolution of that neighborhood."

Civil engineer on the project is Ryan Blaidia with Connelly & Wicker, and the architect is Stanley Hoelle out of Daytona Beach.

Have a tip about Central Florida development? Contact me at bmoser@growthspotter.com, (407) 420-5685 or @bobmoser333. Follow GrowthSpotter on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

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