ORLANDO, Fla. – A nearly century-old home stood 4 feet above its foundation on aircraft wheels Friday, ready to be rolled through the Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood at 7 a.m. Sunday.
The project is being led by developer Mark Kinchla.
"It's a slow move but with the power lines going down and then back up, it's going to be about three hours," Kinchla said.
The project has been in the works after Kinchla had the idea to move the home and use the land where it currently sits at 330 Broadway Ave. as a clean slate to build new town homes just one block away from Lake Eola.
"I've been looking for a site like this for years because typically a view of the fountain isn't achieved unless you are in a high-rise office building, so it's unusual," he said.
What's also unusual is moving an entire home. It's something Kinchla has never done before in his years developing property, but like other residents in the area, he wanted to preserve the home's history.
According to plans submitted by the city of Orlando's Historic Preservation Board, the home was built in 1921 for $8,000. It will be moved to Kinchla's property at 519 Livingston St., about 2 1/2 blocks away from where it is now.
"The house is going over to 519 E. Livingston where there is an existing 1921 carriage house," Kinchla said. "We'll restore that and then we are going to add a guest house and a pool."
However, before he gets to that point, Kinchla has to get through the move.
"I heard this week that we made it to Marks, so I'm thinking this isn't that much of a chore for Pat Berdette, who has been doing this for 40 years," he said.
Pat Berdette is the owner of Modern Movers, the company hired to move the home Sunday morning.
"It's about 100 years old, 97 years old, I believe, and it's very good condition for its age, so it's a perfect candidate for it," Berdette said.
He said already, they have cleared the path for the 2 1/2-block move, trimming tree branches that were in the way.
That caused some controversy a few weeks ago, although the city's arborist was at the scene while it was happening and said there weren't any issues.
"The limbs will grow back," Berdette said addressing the residents' concerns. "We did not cut anything that was not absolutely necessary to cut."
Berdette said there will also be a little more tree trimming Sunday morning, along with road closures and power outages.
He says OUC and other crews will be lowering the power lines so the house can move through.
"Depending on how they have it routed, it might cut people out for 30 to 40 minutes at a time," Berdette said.
In the meantime, both Berdette and Kinchla are planning on it being somewhat of a spectacle, hoping people will come out like a parade to see the move for themselves.
"If someone has never seen it before, it's something to watch," Berdette said.