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Friday, July 1, 2011

Life on Poorhouse Lane - It Ain't a Bitch!

735 Poorhouse Lane - Key West - Short Sale

We all have highs and lows, but for the most part my life is very copacetic. When you are young you plan for the future so much that you sometimes fail to live and enjoy the present. At least I did. I recall years of my life where I planned into the future. Where would I be? What would I do? How much money could I make? That is why so many people, like me, say things like "If I only knew then what I know now". That phrase is usually uttered with a twinge of regret-of opportunities lost.

It wasn't until I moved to Key West and let my life decompress that I stopped worrying about tomorrow. My biggest stress point now is driving behind Conch Trains and Trolleys or tourists driving slowly down a busy street. That's actually not a bad place to be in life compared to all of the real stressful situations that exist in our world. Poor me.

When you actually move to Key West and divorce yourself from your old way of life (office politics, meetings of any sort, business organizations and social agendas) your body and soul find a new balance and a new approach to everyday living. Stuff that is important is important. And stuff that is not important is not worth worrying about. Vacationers sense that locals are actually happy in their lives. Vacationers get a taste of Key West, but they must eventually return to the real world so they can go to meetings and such. They go home and dream about someday, someway, being able to spend sometime, maybe the rest of their lives, in Key West. I did.

If that is your dream the new listing at Poorhouse Lane in Key West may warrant your consideration. The listing broker describes 735 Poorhouse Lane like this:
"Beautifully renovated Conch home in Old Town Key West that features hardwood floors and Dade County Pine walls with room for a pool. This is a potential short sale transaction subject to lender approval."
I dug into the old photo album and found a black and white photo of 735 Poorhouse Lane (also known as 735 Petronia Lane) that was taken in 1965. I took an almost identical photo yesterday. See if you can identify the changes to the house. But for the most part this house and the other houses on this quiet little lane look pretty much today like they looked over half a century ago and beyond that.
735 Poorhouse Lane as it appeared in 1965

735 Poorhouse Lane as it appears in 2011

Poorhouse Lane is located just west of the Key West Cemetery (viewed in photos above). The lane is wide enough for a car or small delivery truck, but large vehicles can't handle the tight quarters. Bill Butler Park is located at the end of the lane. It's a good place to walk the dog. If you walk through the park or past the cemetery to Windsor Lane (its hard to explain but easy to do), you can walk to Duval Street in about five to seven minutes. There is a small corner grocery up at the corner of Olivia at Windsor and another at William and Windsor, but otherwise this is a commercial free area. St. Mary's Catholic Church is located two blocks to the south at the corner of Windsor Lane at Truman Avenue.

Windsor Lane and the Key West Cemetery to the east

Bill Butler Park is located at the end of Poorhouse Lane

735 Poorhouse Lane was built circa 1918, nearly one hundred years ago. The house is built of Dade County Pine and seems most solid to me. The place has been updated, the ceiling is vaulted, and a steep stairway added to the attic which now serves as a loft with separate half bath. Downstairs you will find a good sized master bedroom located just off the living room. One door leads from the bedroom to the rear deck and another door leads to a rear hallway which in turns leads to the bathroom and later the kitchen. The kitchen is bright white and has large skylight and cabinets that are set a bit higher than standard. This place would work great for someone tall. There are multiple areas at the rear for outdoor living. There is room for a pool. An existing cistern could potentially be converted to a cocktail pool as well. I saw remnants of an irrigation system and outdoor lighting. There is even a bricked off street parking spot. Oh, there is even a cat that looks like Garfield that lives on the front porch.

Dade County Pine walls and original floors with new French doors that open to west side yard

Vaulted ceiling adds space and volume to the living room as stairway leads to loft bedroom

Extra tall kitchen cabinets fit well into this very tall kitchen!

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this property. Or CLICK HERE to view a slide show of photos I took late Thursday for a potential buyer.

735 Poorhouse Lane is a short sale offered at $469,000. If you would like to see this property or any other house in Key West, please consider working with me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or by email at I am a buyer's agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West. Living life on Poorhouse Lane does not have to be a bitch!


Anonymous said...

I love this street!

Imagine having your family and friends be told you went to the poorhouse!

Anyway, I wish I could de-stress. Not everyone here has that luxury as we work in stress filled jobs even here in the FL Keys.

The weather may be better than up north but we still have our fair share of the real world work place in certain industries here on the islands - aka government jobs, military personnel, base contractors, etc.

Some of us still put up with the problems to live here.

Love the blog.

Love this lane!

Anonymous said...

I can't believe the previous owners painted those floors! Better have the new owners call Zoltan Borros to have them refinished. He did my house and did a great job...


Anonymous said...

I live here to and would love to know what job I can get without stress and deadlines. Some of us here work the 9-5 job, wear business attire, have bosses to please, multi-task, have our blackberry 24/7, stress, rush, have deadlines and do the normal routine just like up north. Of course, we get paid well to do this and live in paradise but we still have the same fast paced, rush/rush, should-have-been-done-yesterday mindset and demanding job on the island.

Gary, you may not have that lifestyle but we do. Do we mind? No, not with a great pension, healthcare benefits, job security, cost of living and pay raises and the satisfaction of knowing what we do is important. You may not know what we do or see us in action but take my word - there are many of us working round the clock at jobs you wouldn't know existed.

Gary Thomas said...

To the poster above: I didn't know there were any jobs in Key West with job security, healthcare or pensions other than city government.

I work my old tail to the bone as well. Selling real estate is not easy. There are always deadlines and there can be real consequences for me and my customer if I make a mistake. My day usually starts before 6:00 AM and I am often on the phone or computer doing work related projects after 6:00 PM. I get phone calls on holidays and late at night. I get people that make dates and then who do not show up. I drive people around in my car for a couple of days who never call back to say thanks for the free tour of Key West.

But I still really like what I do and I have never regretted leaving my old life.


Anonymous said...

And you want sympathy Gary or are you trying to one up the poster? Give it a rest as we all know there are many jobs here that are "real" jobs---not just "tourism" jobs. Ever run into a base contract employee? I know several companies that are located at Truman Annex and Boca Chica and Fleming Key and several other locations have hundreds of employees.

Lockheed Martin
Northrup Grumman

Yes they are all here and are real world anxiety and stress filled jobs. Many require their employees to work shifts 24/7 all year long. Plus pass rigid medical and drug testing as well as have excellent credit and an active security clearance.

Stop complaining! And you need to get out and meet some of us who work here. We are many but to you we are invisible. You have much to learn about the FL Keys outside of your world of real estate.
and a few more

Anonymous said...

Gary thanks for the insight, its tough pleasing everyone but at least you know you have an audience, far and wide it seems!! i enjoy your thoughts on these properties tx

Anonymous said...

do you know if this property was sold? if yes what is it went for? same goes for 604 grinnell. you had written about that too.

Gary Thomas said...

Both Poorhouse Lane and 604 Grinnell Street are under contract. They have not closed. Both are short sales and take time to get lender approval of the contract. Sometimes buyers get restless and walk away from contracts. No harm in taking a look--just in case.

Anonymous said...

quick ?. do not mean to insult anyone here. house seems nice. yes it's in a lane. and yes it is old town. but years ago I avoided bill butler park. I did not feel safe walking our dogs through there. has it gotten better? just curious, once again not to offend anyone.

Gary Thomas said...

Somebody very, very famous lives about 150 feet from Bill Butler Park. The city ought to do some landscaping because the park looks terrible. I have never heard of the park being unsafe.

Most of the crime that goes on in Key West occurs in and around the bars on Duval Street and the cheap motels on the boulevard. People get drunk and into fights. They do drugs and get caught doing bad things. They take strangers back to their motels and get into trouble that sometimes makes the crime page. Most end-up in the Monroe County Sheriff's office website where we can all look to see who got arrested.

Get a bigger dog!



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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.