We had a chance to tour the in-progress Samsara luxury condos development (Website) in Lake Eola Heights neighborhood [GMap] early Monday morning.

The project, owned by Katherine and Mark Kinchla, has been under construction for the past year and has already transformed the former United Pentecostal Church into a real architectural gem. Samsara, meaning “rebirth” in Sanskrit, will feature five four-story townhomes, each coming with a two car garage, an elevator, rooftop patios and more.

The church building was erected in 1928 and fell into disrepair in recent years. The church was almost razed a number of times but saved by the City and local concerned citizens. The Kinchlas, have shown an obvious love of the original structure by managing to save and re-purpose most of its original materials. Metal beams have been reworked into architectural details in the walls and into custom furniture pieces and the original brick is still exposed and a major part of each condo’s aesthetic. Over 20,000 window panes were removed and replaced in the original steel window frames.

The condos are still being finished and have yet to be listed on the market, but two have already been sold. The two remaining end units will most likely be listed for around $1.3 M, according to Katherine Kinchla, who gave us a private tour of her latest project.
Buyers can also take advantage of a $50,000 historic preservation tax credit.
A public grand opening of the condos is scheduled for December.

Here are some photos of inside the building.

The following photos of the site before and during early construction are courtesy of Katherine Kinchla.




Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of Bungalower.com

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  1. For those interested in the full history – the building started as a synagogue. It was originally Temple Israel. I went to Sunday School as a preschooler and first grader there. Please include this on the historical record.

  2. I think they did a great job inside. Still some to be desired from the outside as the building looks plain. Wouldn’t be too bad if they had some huge oaks. But no one likes planting those anymore it seems

  3. Now THIS is smart urban repurposing. The same can be done to other potential residential and commercial spaces and many at a much lower price point.