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Saturday, May 19, 2007

Another One Bites the Dust



Remember the song "Another One Bites the Dust"? Well, the Key West Citizen has a story in today's edition CLICK HERE TO READ THE STORY about the demise of The Deli located at the corner of Truman & Simonton Streets. It was an easy going diner with good food served Key West style--slowly. I only ate there a few times. The food was good, but like everything else in Key West it got expensive.

Now you may not care about the demise of a diner, but if you live in Key West or want to buy a place here, the closing may have some meaning if you put it into context. There are several announced plans for major redevelopment projects of some favorite and maybe some not-so-favorite properties. The Holiday Inn located right when you drive over Cow Key Channel from Stock Island has been raised and the new swank BEACHSIDE KEY WEST RESORT is rising from the dust. It will be operated very much like a Ritz Carlton hotel. The same developer, the Spottswood Companies, recently announced that it had purchased several major hotels across the street and running east towards Old Town that will be raised to make way for a very large convention center and more swant hotels.

The Hotel La Concha at the corner of Fleming & Duval is supposedly being renovated into a major luxury hotel as well. Back in January I wrote about the renovation that is currently going on at the Casa Marina Hotel. It has always been a luxury property, but it got a little run down. But the project is rolling along with a total make-over of the property. It too will cater to the tony crowd.

A few blocks away The Atlantic Shores Resort has two more weeks left before it gets demolished to make way for more luxury oceanfront condos. Even the seedy Key West Youth Hostel is getting the e axe to make way for new condos.

I am sure the developers all think the gentrification and luxurization (is that a word?) of Key West is a good thing, but I wonder if the premise of the Kevin Costner flick "Field of Dreams" will come true: Build it and they will come. More importantly who are the operators going to get to staff all these new luxury hotels?

Not every tourist or regular traveler or potential second homeowner to Key West wants a luxury hotel, a luxury condo, or luxury second home. A lot of people come here just to unwind and enjoy the funk and feel of the place. Key West is normally very clean, a little noisy, but almost always a lot of fun. I think the windbags that stay at the Ritz Carlton will turn this quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem into something we may not like.

About 30 years ago a small group of people in Denver (my hometown) organized themselves into an International Olympic Committee and successfully secured the 1976 Winter Olympics for Denver. The problem was that the public didn't want the games. Another group got organized and put an issue on a statewide referendum to walk away from the games. The measure passed and the Olympics did not occur in Denver.

I really question the merit of redeveloping so much of the infrastructure that helped make Key West such an inviting place. If it gets turned into another Boca Raton, why will people even consier coming here.

I'm not all that pessimistic. I still think people will want to come to Key West. And if you want to buy a place here, checkout our mls website by CLICKING HERE and then call me for more info. 1-305-766-2642.

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Gary Thomas in a Nutshell

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.