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Friday, November 13, 2009

730 Southard Street - Old Town Landmark - Key West

I have written about the landmark home at 730 Southard Street on several occasions and I have actually received both phone calls and emails from potential buyers that were genuinely interested in the property. But none of the contacts has yet resulted into a written offer from my buyers. It is time for someone that has "that vision thing" (a catch phrase used by President George H.W. Bush when he responded to suggestions he refocus objectives away from short term campaign objectives to look to the longer term). My suggestions: bring vision and lots of money.

730 Southard Street is one of the iconic homes of Key West. It has been in the same family since the day it was built. The most recent resident passed away a couple of years ago. She lived in that house for nearly ninety years. Many of her possessions are still located in place throughout the house. The house almost shows like a museum of a life in another distant time. The outside of the house is looking ragged and forlorn. I met there with a noted local architect to size up the house for some buyers. Rather than say what he said I will give you my impression of what needs to be done.

The house has wonderful wraparound porches on the first and second floors and there are rear porches on both levels as well. Those porches provide potentially dramatic openings from the historic French doors that open onto the porches. That includes the rear second floor porch just off the master bedroom. The porches all need replaced. Some of the shutters need replaced.

Any renovation of the house would entail all new electric, plumbing, and air conditioning. The house is large and looks like it is actually three buildings brought together to make one large structure. The third floor attic is gigantic and would provide excellent space for location of HVAC.

The Attic
The existing bathrooms are very old and very dated. I think there is more than enough room for a creative architect to carve out some very useful bathrooms that meet our modern needs and still preserve the dignity the present structure.

The present kitchen is located just off the grand dining room. The dining room is likewise located next to the front parlor. The living room, on the other and, is a giant room located just to the west of the front door. That room has French doors that overlook the rear grounds. The dining room, parlor, and living room each have French doors that open onto the wraparound porches on front and the rear as well. The layout is a bit formal for today but the space is entirely useful. The kitchen is very large and needs yanked into the 21st Century. The kitchen even has a fireplace. Can you imagine what kind of a wonderful kitchen you could create.
The Parlor

The second floor has enough space for two great bedrooms and baths to compliment the huge master bedroom with en suite bath. The space for the master suite is just grand. That doesn't mean the space needs to be treated like something in a Trump hotel. Rather I envision very treating the very simple structure in an understated manner. The classic design elements are already there. It is just coming up with a good and useful design for today.

All of the interior has Dade County Pine walls, ceilings, and wood floors. The building to me seemed very structurally sound with the exception of some of the foundation which needs repair and all of the plumbing and electric which needs replaced. HVAC would be all new as it is non existent.

There is no pool. But there is room for a great pool and garden as well. The fence is dilapidated as is the widows walk on the top. But you should see the view from up there. You can see the Gulf of Mexico and all of the small homes for blocks and blocks. You could have a great sunrise view from the kitchen of dining room each morning. And in the evening you could sit on the upper front porch and watch the world walk by on the way to view the sunset at Mallory Square.

730 Southard Street is a big house with 2838 sq ft of space under roof. It sits on a 6853 sq ft lot (at the corner of William and Southard Streets) right in the smack dab middle of Old Town. CLICK HERE to read the listing Realtor's description of the property and to see some very good interior and exterior photos. This property is offered at $1,490,000 or $525 per sq ft. It's going to take probably a million to renovate the place. Maybe more and maybe a little less. But in the end someone is going to own one of the great beauties of Key West. Chances are pretty good that the house will be re-named for the new owner. The person with that vision thing.

If you would like to see 730 Southard Street please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida. Our office is the exclusive lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.


Anonymous said...

I'd love to make that a guesthouse. It's a shame that I'm pretty sure the city wouldn't consider a rezone for that lot, would it?

Gary Thomas said...

It would never happen.

But there is a great place at the corner of Caroline and Simonton that is available, zoned for it, and waiting for a buyer.


Anonymous said...

A million and a half bucks for this?? Are you kidding me? Besides plumbing, electric and air conditioning you can easily tell just from the pictures this requires MAJOR stuctural work as well as a significant amount of external and internal renovation. Yes it is a nice historic property but it would be far cheaper to tear this pile of rotting wood down and start from scratch. My goodness, in today's market anyone who would pay a million and a half for this would be crazy.

Gary Thomas said...

Anon: You cannot tear down any building in the historic district - especially one like this house. It might be cheaper to do that, but then the character of our little town would be much different.

I said the outside needed major changes and I said all of the mechanical needed replaced. I did not say the inside needs renovation because it does not. This house is made of Dade County Pine and except for having years of not being painted, the interior is in near pristine condition. The bathrooms need renovated and the kitchen needs new cabinetry but the room itself is just great.

This is not my listing and I don't know what price this house will sell for. Probably less than the current asking price. I think the condition of the house and the expense to restore it will be a negotiating point that will help both the seller and ultimate buyer decide how much this old house is worth in today's market.


Anonymous said...

I've dreamed of this house and photographed the exterior for years when visiting Key West... I wish I coul dhav eit, but... !
Next time I come down I hope I can at least get a tour of the inside.

Anonymous said...

I wish somebody would save this beautiful old place... !


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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.