The church was built in 1958. It sits on 4.8-acres at 2113 South St. in the city’s desirable Milk District, about a block west of Bumby Avenue. The owners will gift a portion of the infill project to a small downtown non-denominational church.
John Kurtz, a broker at Stirling who is representing the Milk District area property, said his firm recently entered into a contract to sell the remaining 3.87 acres of the site to Surrey Homes USA, who plans to construct nine single-family Craftsman-style homes and 31 townhomes with rear-entry garages served by alleyways.
Christian Swann, president and founder of Surrey Homes described the project as an excellent example of adaptive reuse and infill development for the locally owned and operated builder. “It’s important to us to build homes that Surrey Homes and the residents of downtown Orlando will be proud of for years to come. We’re thrilled to bring our unique, innovative home design to downtown Orlando and the Milk District,” said Swann.
The development plan submitted by the engineering team of CPH calls for the school buildings on the property to be razed, but for the existing church sanctuary and fellowship hall to remain, which will create greater harmony with the residences. A proposed internal roadway network and landscape design that preserves stately trees is also part of the overall plan that merges nicely with surrounding neighborhoods, Kurtz explained.
“Our strategy includes investing more than $250,000 in the existing Spanish Mediterranean-style church sanctuary and fellowship hall on the remaining acre and gifting them to our H20 church family,” said Kurtz. The growing congregation has been holding services in the Abbey on the ground floor of The Sanctuary condominium at 100 S. Eola Drive for over six years.
“This new residential infill project, which is consistent with the City’s Growth Management Plan, should move quickly,” he said. “It fosters a wise use of downtown land where housing is in demand and public services are already in place.”
The new development is bound on the south by East South Street, existing single family homes to the east and west, and by Forest Circle and existing residences to the north.
"As a long-time member of the Orlando Downtown Community, H2O Church is thrilled to be part of this new developing community in the Historic Milk District. We are looking forward to serving and blessing the surrounding community," said Pastor Jim Poorman of H20 Church.
Julie Matura, member of The Milk District’s Board of Directors, says they’re looking forward to welcoming new neighbors in the area. “We’re happy to support thoughtful development by those who have demonstrated a commitment to revitalizing and building a stronger community. Stirling’s restoration and donation of the church to a local parish and their willingness to listen to resident input in the planning process, exemplifies their role as a true community partner,” she said.
Matt Messier, principal with Foundry Commercial, represented the seller, the Florida Annual Conference of United Methodist Church, Inc.