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Friday, September 26, 2008

537 Caroline Street Old Town Key West

Just Listed (but not by me) 537 Caroline Street Key West, Florida. Those in the know recall this prime location as the former Banana's Foster Guesthouse.

This is how the listing Realtor describes this property: "Built in 1888 by William Curry...A rare combination of a Classic two-story conch with five transient licenses plus 1 licensed Manager's unit located on a prime Old Town corner. Built as a single family home & later converted to a guest house this property features an impressive 8 bedrooms, 7 1/2 bathrooms in two structures with a small dip pool and 4 off street parking spots, just waiting for you to restore to its' original grandeur. Fantastic architectural details including double porches, high ceilings, hardwood floors & heavy moldings. Truly in the heart of it all just 1 block off Duval Street. Tenant occupied, needs 24 hour notice. Formerly known as Bananas Foster's guesthouse and is currently being used as a Single Family home." CLICK HERE for additional information and photos of the property.

I have mentioned before that I used to own a guest house in Key West (Eaton Lodge at 511 Eaton Street). I learned very early that having a great location was critical to staying busy during down times for town. Many tourists drive to Key West without room reservations. Some opt for a motel on the Boulevard but most head towards Old Town to find a nice room at a cute little inn. This particular property is located one block off Duval at the corner of Simonton and Caroline Streets. The famous Curry Mansion is at the opposite end of the street and the equally famous Cypress House is just across the street on the east corner. Both Caroline and Simonton are feeder streets that tourists use to move about Old Town. So the location is superb for many reasons. Most of the neighboring homes are mansions or at least close to it!

The former owner that operated the property as a guest house had a great sense of style and decorated the rooms with pizazz. (The pics in the listing look like he took much of his furniture and antiques when he sold the property). As the listing Realtor points out the property has 8 bedrooms, 7 1/2 bathrooms, and only 5 transient licenses plus a "manager's license". That means any bank will only consider the number of licensed rooms to evaluate any loan to purchase the property.

When I bought Eaton Lodge in 1993 it had been foreclosed by the SBA and shut down for two years. The business went away. But as soon as I opened the doors in early 1994 former guests and tourists new to Key West immediately became heads in beds. I think any new owner of the Banana's Foster property will not have any difficulty getting the property up and running. If a buyer purchased and closed this property before the end of December, he or she would have time to redecorate the rooms and paint the exterior (it's looking a little sad!). But come the day after Christmas, the rooms at the inn should be filled until Easter. That is what a great location offers: opportunity to stay full and make money.

The property has four off street parking spaces and there is nearby paid parking within 150 feet. So tourists who drive to Key West will not experience separation anxiety about being too far from their cars.

This property is listed at $1,900,000. There are other guest houses for sale in Key West. CLICK HERE to see all of those listed for sale at this time. I have said before that people who have property listed for sale right now want to sell. One of the properties shown in the link is a short sale. There may be a bargain in your future. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or e-mail me at for more information on any of the guest houses listed for sale.

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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.