The Tabernaculo de Vida Orlando Church paid $660,000 on July 15 for a home it can call its own, a 48-year-old former office and industrial building in Southeast Orlando. The help of a civil engineer and contractors would be welcomed to aid interior renovation work, the church's pastor told GrowthSpotter.
Located at 5273 Curry Ford Road, the 0.75-acre property boasts a 3,600-square-foot, single-story office building, which dates to 1968. Behind that building are three two-bedroom apartment units, each with 855 square feet of living area, built in 1957 or earlier.
The Christian church will become the fourth place of worship to locate on that stretch of Curry Ford between S. Semoran Boulevard and Conway Road.
Tabernaculo de Vida has been active in Orlando for 16 years, and rented space for the past 15 years at its current location of 1924 N. Goldenrod Road. Its congregation of 80-100 members could potentially double in size, but extremely limited parking has restricted growth, said pastor Vinicio Jacome.
"We've been raising funds for a new building for the past three to four years," he said. "Now we have this new home, which is about the same size as our old one, but the main difference is a lot more parking space."
Jacome, age 70, has lived in Orlando for 31 years. He immigrated to the United States from Ecuador in 1968, settling first in Chicago, and became a formal pastor in 1996.
Jacome says he serves as a pastor for free, working full time at his Quality Discount Muffler Shop at 2100 W. Church St. The church has little income to put into renovating the new building to maximize its space, he added.
Built nearly 50 years ago, the building was originally used as an industrial machine shop. Its 3,600 square feet is currently divided in half by a load-bearing wall that supports the iron structure roof.
For now, the front half of the building will be used for the worship area, and the rear 1,800 square feet will be used for children's classes. Jacome's desire in the next one to two years is to remove that wall, open up all 3,600 square feet for the sanctuary, and move the classroom activity to the apartments on the property's back half.
"We will need professional help for that work, because we'd have to tear down the wall and put support beams in its place," he said. "I don't know yet how much that will cost, or where the money will come from."
The church took out a balloon mortgage of $480,000 from the sellers, John Chiaro and Kathleen Chiaro of Longwood.