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Sunday, August 29, 2010

523 Elizabeth Street - Old Town - Key West



523 Elizabeth Street (ca 1874) as it appeared in 1965

523 Elizabeth Street as it appears in 2010

Just listed, but not by me, 523 Elizabeth Street in Old Town Key West. This place was on the market before. Same house; same price; a new Realtor; a tightening market. It did not sell last time at the asking price. Will it sell now?

This is how the listing Realtor describes this property:
" When location matters look no further. Situated on Elizabeth between Southard and Fleming, the perfect Old Town Key West address! History abounds in this historic home with great detail taken to restore period details. Currently configured as a duplex, but with little effort could be turned into a spacious 4 or 5 bedroom single family residence. 11 foot ceilings, beautiful restored crown moldings and perfect Dade County Pine walls are just a few of the details that grace this Historic gem. Final touches could be made to the back yard and pool area to create a tropical oasis. One of the best priced homes in this area of old town for its size! Two balconies with beautiful foliage to relax and off street parking complete this package."

Off street parking
523 Elizabeth Street was built circa 1874. (See the black and white above photo taken in 1965 before the white paint was stripped). The house is a 2125 sq ft and sits on 4950 sq ft lot (45' x 110') just two blocks from Duval Street and three blocks from the Historic Key West Seaport. This block of Elizabeth is one of the more eclectic blocks in Key West-and we have man of them. The third oldest home on the island is across the street and down a couple of houses. The former Mayor of Key West lives a couple of doors away. A large house across the street is owned by a local architect and contractor. I say this kindly: that house is leftover hippie and I love it. There are fancy redos as well. They all blend together in the end. Two giant Royal Poinciana Trees frame 523 Elizabeth. A giant orchid tree is located across the street. The whole block is green and evokes a feeling of laid back comfort.

The Groovy Pad across the street
This is a large house. Maybe that's why it got cut up and made into a duplex. The pool in the rear was allowed to disintegrate and the yard went to hell. The exterior was all spiffed up and the interiors were very recently remodeled. There is one very large tree that appears to be growing into the right rear side of this house CLICK HERE. It needs an exorcism.

The listing Realtor got it right in suggesting that this "duplex" could be reconfigured back into a single family. I don't know why that didn't happen when the recent renovations were being done. The good thing is that this house is solid and symmetrical. A recent addition or renovation at the downstairs rear needs to be undone in my opining. That space needs reconfigured and opened out to the pool. The current usage just misses the mark. The lot is enormous by Old Town standards. I believe building code would permit renovation of the current pool. (It is built inside the current building code setbacks. Keeping the same location expands the other usage on the lot.) It needs it as it is falling apart. A huge tree has creepy vines growing down into the pool. Conditions like this scare many buyers. They shouldn't. We have lots of very capable architects, contractors, and pool installation companies that can "fix" bad planning concepts, repair or replace rooms from hell, and turn an eyesore into a thing of beauty.

The pool needs a little work!
CLICK HERE to checkout the mls listing data sheet and to view listing photos. I took some photos as well. CLICK HERE to see my pics-interior shots were taken last year.

There are fewer and fewer big houses offered for sale in Key West that are priced under a million dollars. 523 Elizabeth is being offered at $875,000. True, if you bought this house and did some of the things the listing Realtor and I suggest, your cost basis in this property would be higher. But you would end up with one very large house on a very large lot on a great (and eclectic) block in Old Town. This place is worth a look if you are seeking a big house. If you want income property, look as well. Keep the current configuration and use one unit for yourself and rent out the other.

If you would like to see 523 Elizabeth 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 Exclusive Lower Florida Keys affiliate of Christie's Great Estates.

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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.