Blake Building


Blake Building's experience, passion, and local market knowledge developed from decades of successful custom home construction has made us one of Central Florida's best custom home builders. Blake Building's founder, Peter Bennett has been building townhomes, condominiums, and single-family homes throughout Tampa Bay since 1993. With nearly 500 homes in over ten communities across the Tampa Bay area to his credit, Peter launched Blake Building in 2010 with a mission to create the best custom home building experience in central Florida and now in Pinellas County.


Our Employees are Our Heroes


Our expert employees bring Blake Building's commitment to customization to life. As long-time residents of Tampa, our design and build team are dedicated to improving our community and our city with each home we build. To us, that means delivering the highest quality work to create homes where our customers can thrive and add to the vibrant energy of Tampa.

"We don't just build homes - We build relationships."

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Meet the Blake Building Team

  • Duane Paustian – Property Manager

    In addition to the incredible custom homes that Blake Building maintains an ongoing contract with an in-house real estate management company to build and maintain several multi-family properties in the area. Duane manages each of these properties, ensuring that they continously meet our stringent brand standards. He brings a long history of residential and relocation experience, and helps to ensure that all property needs are addressed quickly and seamlessly.

  • Elsie Chapman – Office Manager

    As Office Manager for Blake Building, Elsie Chapman uses strong organisation and management skills to keep the daily office tasks moving effectively and efficiently. Her background is in administration management and supervision. In the past, Elsie worked for Tech Data, Lease Service Associates and Leasing Technologies.

  • Luis Cotes – Site Superintendent

    With nearly 30 years of experience in the design and construction industries, Luis Cotes brings a wealth of experience to the Blake Building team. Following his time at the University of Tennessee and Florida A&M University, Luis began working at architectural firms designing and drafting plans for residential projects.

    He brings that same keen eye to his role as Site Superintendent. Luis oversees the construction of your home from permitting and managing the on-site team, to coordinating inspections and completing your detailed walk-through. He takes pride in constantly honing and improving the building process to ensure that each construction project meets the highest standards.

  • Olivia Fortney – Project Manager

    With strong design skills, a keen eye for detail and more than 15 years of industry experience Olivia Fortney serves as Project Manager for Blake Building. She assists clients with finish selections and oversees purchasing for both residential and commercial projects. Olivia is a key link between the Blake Building office and the construction site ensuring that each selection is secured in a timely manner and installed on-site. In the past, Olivia worked for Samter Homes and Carol Schwartz Funk Interior Design.

  • Rick Samuelsohn – Director of Construction

    A graduate of the University of Florida, Rick Samuelsohn launched his career in the mortgage industry to help others achieve their dream of home ownership. He later transitioned into the construction industry where he accumulated more than 12 years of commercial and residential experience.

    In his role as Director of Construction at Blake Building, Rick oversees all aspects of the construction process, including managing superintendents and field personnel, serving as liaison between staff and clients, and collaborating with the project manager to ensure timely completion of construction tasks.

  • Peter Bennett – President

    Peter Bennett is a licensed general contractor with over 20 years of experience in the design and construction field. He is skilled in architectural design, project management and construction administration. He founded Samter Homes in 1993 and developed nearly 500 townhomes, condos and single-family homes in more than 10 communities throughout Tampa Bay. In 2010, Peter founded Blake Building where he oversees all aspects of planning, development and administration. Peter recognized the need for a builder who focused on creating a semi custom spec home and focused Blake Building on this key community need. Peter focused his undergraduate studies at the University of Florida in Architecture and received a graduate degree in Architecture from Florida A&M University. He has been actively involved in a number of charitable organizations throughout his time in the Tampa Bay area, including the American Cancer Society, Suncoast Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Children’s Cancer Center and Circle of Friends Foundation. Peter is also a member of the Tampa Bay Builders Association and The American Institution of Architects, and is a member of the Florida Green Building Coalition.

  • Jesse Ornelas – Construction Manager

    Jesse, a Florida native, comes to Blake with 17 years in the residential construction industry. Having been involved in site acquisition, and development. While building over 700 homes in 5 subdivisions, including being involved in the design and build of the community amenities is a testament to his willingness to diversify. His experience extends into townhome projects, apartments, and a total care facility throughout the Tampa Bay area as well. All of this while primarily working in the not for profit side. Jesse brings a dynamic not normally found in our industry, that is a ownership mentality, his mantra of ” If it was mine would I accept it” is an ideology that we here Blake share and strive for with all our projects.

  • Keith Petrauskas – Sales Consultant

    “As a trusted, hard-working family man with decades of experience in business, real estate, and custom home building, helping clients turn their dream home vision into a reality has become one of my many specialties and passions.

    Over the years, I’ve learned the importance of listening to our client’s interests and goals at every stage of the process to ensure that they feel comfortable and confident with their home building decisions. I’ve built an upstanding professional reputation based on uncompromising integrity and dependability, while encompassing a positive attitude and collaborative entrepreneurial spirit.

    With each new project, I’m honored to work with our clients in an open communication setting based on trust, confidence, and dependability.”

Awards We Have Won


We don't like to brag, but we think anyone evaluating builders for their dream home or their first home would want to know that knowledgeable people recognize our talent with awards. Blake Building has earned top honors for New Construction, Home Renovation, and Remodeling and Restoration.



  • Parade of Homes
  • Grand Award Winner
  • Merit Award Winner

Historic Hyde Park Neighborhood

  • Hyde Park Historic Preservation
  • Award of Excellence Banner



  • Voted Best Home Builder in South Tampa



Blake Building is committed to sustainable and green building construction methods and is a proud member of the Florida Green Building Coalition.

Contact Us


We're excited about every opportunity to talk with someone interested in a custom home or townhome. If you complete the form below, a Blake Building team member will contact you right away.

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