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Saturday, September 13, 2008

1800 Atlantic Condominiums --Key West

"When you finally feel like you are really there. Warm sand." CLICK HERE to see why so many people travel so far to enjoy Key West.

Most people in the United States work 50 weeks a year just to make enough money to have a vacation. For many people it isn't even the cost of a vacation, it is their jobs that prevent them from taking more vacations. I used to live in the real 9-to-5 world, but I was smart enough to plan trips around three day weekends to stretch my vacation days. And I always looked forward to my trips to Key West.

On December 31, 1986 I was stuck at the American Airlines terminal in Miami waiting to catch a plane to Key West. There was a horrible rainstorm and all flights were delayed or cancelled. American finally let one plane leave somewhere around 9:00 PM and I got on it. I arrived at the funky Key West International Airport without any baggage. It was late and there were only a couple of cabs at the airport. I shared a cab with 3 or 4 locals and I told the driver to "Take me to the Copa." Where else would you go without food or clothes on New Years Eve in Key West?

There is an over-supply of condos for sale just about everywhere these days. As a buyer you can buy a place at any destination you please and get a pretty good deal. But the point of buying a place ought not to be just buying to get a good deal. It ought to be about dream fulfillment. It took me about 8 years to finally buy my first place in Key West even though I made up my mind the first week I came here I wanted to live here. I just had to make certain that I got the very best price. And that stubbornness cost me so much money because of all the opportunities I missed.

During the past two decades two different condominium developments have helped buyers fulfill their dreams of owning a place in Key West. One is Shipyard in Truman Annex and the other is 1800 Atlantic. The Shipyard units are all basically 680 sq ft, 2 bedrooms and one bath condos in a quaint setting within walking distance to everything in Old Town. The price per sq ft was cheap when first built, but the amenities and location made the units very popular and that caused the prices to rise.

A mile or so to the south and east you will find the 1800 Atlantic Condominiums. Unlike Shipyard, they ain't quaint. The three buildings have a very modern facade made of reinforced concrete and glass. But once you go inside you understand why so many people have chosen 1800 Atlantic as a second home. Many of the units have a valuable transient rental license that permits owners to rent the units on a daily basis much like a hotel room. In reality the condos are typically rented on a weekly basis but not always for just one week. But it is the ability to rent the unit multiple times during the month that makes transient rental units very appealing to the buyer who wants the condo to help pay for itself.

It is legal to rent a condo at 1800 Atlantic as a vacation rental without a transient license, but the rental rules are different. Owners can only rent the unit once per month for a period of 28 days or less. Only one rental per month. That's it.

There are sixteen units available for purchase at this time. All of the units at 1800 Atlantic are about twice as large as those at Shipyard. The 1800 Atlantic units are all 1357 sq ft and have two bedrooms and two baths. The bedrooms are large. The living rooms and kitchens are large. Many have transient licenses. CLICK HERE to checkout the properties available. Look carefully because some units are actually located next door to each other so you can see a marked variation in pricing on some units. "Why is this?" you ask. The property is 20 years old and many of the units have not been updated with new kitchens or baths. Others have been. Look at the photos of the units and determine which looks better to you.

And of course there is the location issue. The complex looks like a big "U" with all units facing the Atlantic Ocean. The east side of Building "C" has units with view of Bertha Street and the ocean beyond. Units across the hall have courtyard views and the ocean. All units in the "B" building have straight one ocean views but those units sit furthest away from the ocean. Half the units in the "A" building have courtyard views and the other half view the mangroves and nature preserve on the west side of the building. And then there is the other issue of floor level. The higher floor, the more expensive the unit. The lower floors offer the same amenities and square footage as the upper floors, but the upper floors generally offer better views or more privacy.

Several of the units currently for sale CLICK HERE are Short Sales meaning that a short sale occurs when a property is sold and the lender agrees to accept a discounted payoff, meaning the lender will release the lien that is secured to the property upon receipt of less money than is actually owed. Some of the properties may be priced at about half of what they were sold for a few years ago during the market bubble. I doubt if any of the condos anywhere actually totally pay for themselves. But units that are properly managed and correctly priced ought to generate enough income to help make the purchase of a second home in Key West a possibility. If you do a Google search of 1800 Atlantic rentals you will see many companies and individuals with websites offering units. Prices for rentals vary somewhat based on unit location and condition and time of the year. I think many people return to the same location(and often the same unit) year after year because they know exactly what they are going to get. The best surprise is no surprise.

The photos show 1800 Atlantic at night with the ocean and full moon. Imagine, that could be your view. You could walk your dog or take your kids down to Smathers' Beach just east of the condo or down to the private beach at the condo itself. You could play tennis, go for a Jacuzzi, take a dip in the pool, get a tan, and have a bar-b-que without ever leaving your property. Some people like the tranquility of the ocean and save Old Town for limited visits. To each his own.

Remember I just changed offices. I am now at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. If you would like to see any of the units at 1800 Atlantic or get more information on them, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at

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The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.


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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.