Just listed, but not by me, a charming cottage a most desirable location: The Key West Writer's Compound - more particularly 713 Windsor Lane. This is how the listing Realtor describes this treasure:
" Quiet Cigar Maker's Cottage in a secluded community of 11 homes reserved for those who enjoy peaceful living and are 55 years of age or older. Main home is a 2 bedroom , 2 bath with porches in both the front & rear and upstairs is a 1 bedroom, 1 bath apartment with tree top views of the meticulously maintained grounds. Both kitchens and all bathrooms have been newly renovated with wooden cabinets & granite counter tops. This tropical oasis enjoys a huge shared pool and deck area."
The black and white photo above was taken of the property in 1965 before the compound was created. The Monroe County Property Appraiser's records show that this property was totally renovated in 2003. I remember submitting a near 100% asking price offer on this property to the developer who quickly turned it down. My buyer was beside himself at not getting this property. Today, this 1488 sq ft duplex is offered at $525,000 or $353 per sq ft. CLICK HERE to review the mls datasheet and to view the listing photos.
The Key West Writer's Compound is "hidden behind the white stucco wall, is a collection of once run-down shacks and shanties, frame cottages perched upon limestone piers, later restored as the winter residences of such literary luminaries as poet Richard Wilbur [former U.S. Poet Laureate], critic John Ciardi, writer Ralph Ellison and Hiroshima author John Hersey. There are several literati compounds in Old Town,and this complex, established in 1976, with its landscaped walkways and a central pool, is one of the most charming. Wilbur won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and is renowned for his translations of Moliere; Ciardi, a critic, also translated Dante’s Divine Comedy; Ralph Ellison wrote The Invisible Man; and John Hersey, taught at Yale for 18 years and won the Pulitzer Prize for his writing debut, A Bell for Adano." (From SeekKeyWest.com with Sharon Wells.)
( I sold the Hersey home earlier this year. It was still filled with Hersey's furniture, art, books, and general stuff. I sat in the chairs in the living room and felt like I was in another era.)
The compound itself is an assemblage of other cottages that were built for the Key West working class. They were nothing extra-ordinary. I see the simplicity of their construction as perhaps the biggest reason the writers chose to congregate there. Today a large fence sets the compound apart from the street. Two large gates open onto a wide bricked walkway that navigates pedestrians to each of the homes in the compound. There is a large pool located near the east side of the property. I don't recall ever seeing anyone actually swimming there, however. I do recall admiring the great views of specimen trees and brightly colored foliage. The compound would be a treasure on its own even if the notable writers had never lived there. But they did and that sets this property apart and makes the compound very notable.
The top of Solares Hill is just a couple of houses to the west of 713 Windsor Lane. 713 Windsor Lane is located in the X Zone for flood insurance purposes. Flood insurance is not required in the X Zone. Since units in the Writer's compound are classified as land based condos, as an owner you would have to buy your own property insurance including flood, windstorm, fire and general liability. The duplex at 713 Windsor Lane is part of a land based condo association for common area ownership purposes but the building itself is located on a piece of ground that is owned in fee simple estate. (Just like your home up north in America.)
The famous Solares Hill Grocery (now called Charlie's Grocery-see photo below) is located near the summit of the hill (elevation 18 feet) at 648 William (corner of William and Windsor Lane). It's the only store or commercial enterprise for several blocks. You could send "Lovey" for a loaf of bread, a gallon of milk, coffee or cigarettes and think nothing of it.
The Writer's Compound is just a few short blocks walk to the Historic Key West Seaport to the north or a three block walk to Duval Street to the west. That's part of the joy of living in a great location like the Writer's Compound: you can be anywhere important within a few minutes.
If you are looking a a great place in a great location at a really great price, this property may be exactly what you are looking for. Remember, at least one owner must be at least 55 years of age to be able to buy into this compound. No children under 18 are permitted at the pool-ever. If you have little grand kids or nieces the nephews, this won't work. Otherwise, this is a place to consider. Call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West, Florida.