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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

820 Whitehead Street - Key West

820 Whitehead Street - September 2012

820 Whitehead Street in 1965

Maybe I should have entitled today's blog "Honey, I Blew Up the Kid - er, I Mean House".  As I prepared to write today's blog, I looked in the old shoe box to find old photos of 820 Whitehead Street, the subject du jour. I found the above black and white photo but at first thought the street notation was incorrect. And then I realized that the address and the photo are accurate. The house has dramatically changed since the photo was taken in 1965. The front facade and porch were reconfigured and a second story was added that greatly expanded the interior space. All of these improvements were done by the owner-developer who undertook the redevelopment of six contiguous houses in 2005. The other houses sat on small lots and did not have much in common. Three houses on Whitehead Street (including 820 Whitehead at that time) had welcoming street porches for people watching. The interior units (located behind the houses on Whitehead Street) did not have views of anything. The developer created a beautiful pool in the rear which became a shared amenity for each dwelling. The separate units were legally converted into condominiums. This conversion allowed the developer to build a new unit in the very rear and to create minimal common elements so that all property owners could have access to the pool area.

The developer literally rebuilt each of the old cottage houses. But it was 820 Whitehead Street that the "star" treatment.  This home doubled in size and to the incredible view of the seldom used pool at the rear.

If you look at the facade photo you might assume the front porch is the entry to the home. No it is not. The main entry is actually located midway down the gated walkway that heads toward the pool. The entry opens into the living room which is at the back of the house.

The living area is a shared space of living, indoor dining, and kitchen. French doors open out from there onto a covered terrace that overlooks the pool.

The open kitchen is located just to the left of the main entry. The front of the house currently houses a law office (legally permissible as the property is zoned HMDR in case a new owner might want to live and work in the same location. (Cuts down on travel time for sure.)  That room does have access to the front porch from which you can see the Ernest Hemingway House across the street. The main floor bath is located between the kitchen and the main floor bedroom.

The floors in the living area are a beautiful grayish marble that is almost reminiscent of Cuban tile. The floors are stunning in their simplicity.

The master bedroom is located on the second floor. This space is a total surprise to first time viewers. Wow! The space is large and open. This room has a feeling of being much larger than it actually is. A set of French doors open onto a Romeo and Juliet balcony that overlooks the pool below.  What a view that is! The master bath adjoins. The floors on this level (and the stairway) are new rich oak - the real thing.

820 Whitehead Street is located just one block off Duval Street and across the street from Hemingway House. The Southernmost Point is located a few blocks south on Whitehead. The current entrance to Ft Zachary Taylor State Park and Beach is located just a couple of blocks to the north.  This is a great tourist location. I believe this property would make a great vacation rental.

820 Whitehead Street has 970 sq ft under air and is offered at $449,900. The monthly condo fee is $668.99 and covers building maintenance and insurance, common area maintenance, and pool maintenance. CLICK HERE to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet and listing photos. Then CLICK HERE to view a slideshow of photos I recently took of this property.  I think you will find that this house has a lot to offer and is priced to sell.

If you would like to see this property or any other property in Key West please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Coastal Realty, Inc. in Key West.


Anonymous said...

Nice, clean, updated...

But $700 is a BIG monthly payment for condo fee. You can buy a lot more house with an extra $700/month. Does that include flood and wind insurance?

And to be clear, the pool is shared between 6 houses?

Gary Thomas said...

Dear Anon, this is more than 'updated'. The back of the house is totally new. The front was substantially rebuilt.

The $700 per month covers all building maintenance and all insurance including floor, wind, fire & casualty. It also covers common area maintenance and pool maintenance. (My pool service costs $175 per month.) Homeowners still have to pay for the same insurance and make provision to pay for repairs to a house when the need arises.


Buy To Let Landlord Solutions said...

This looks like a lovely property to live in, I would if I could.

Anonymous said...

The Captain says:

The roof does not look "more than updated." In fact it looks quite rusty. Perhaps its the original.
I also would note that since its an "x" zone typically the lender does not require flood insurance. (That's the good news).

My major concern (and one, I submit, should concern anyone interested in this property) is that apparently 5 of the 6 units are still owned by the developer and these 5 units are all up for sale! Not a very stable situation and one that could scare away underwriting when deciding on whether to make a loan on this property.

The unit is "cute" but that is only one of many factors in deciding to buy. Under these circumstances I would pass, but that is just my opinion.

Captain out........

Gary Thomas said...

Captain, Four of the other units are also for sale at much lower prices. They are each one bedroom and were thoroughly renovated and have similar interior features. My focus is on the larger unit because it has two bedrooms, two baths, and that wonderful pool view. It could easily work as that transition property so many second home buyers want which is to own a place that can throw off income for a few years until the owner decides to be here either full time or at least during season.

As for the rusty roof, you are right. That was left over and not replaced. The rear roof is new as are the roofs on each of the smaller cottages. I'm not privy whether the rusty roof was required by HARC as part of the approval process or not. There were several subtle changes to the facade on 820 Whitehead but 818 Whitehead looks identical to old photos I found for it.

The rusty roof, however, is fully functional and serves its purpose. There are many places in Key West with old roofs that look just like this. If people had to be discarded when their hair turns gray, we wouldn't have to worry about Social Security, would we.


Anonymous said...

Cisco Kid says:

Hey Gary, I'm relatively new in town and new to the blog. Like you I had another life as a lawyer. I see your point but I have to agree with the Captain. Condo developments that are not stable (i.e., not occupied by actual owners) are a risky proposition. When primarily in the hands of a developer, even worse. This property if it was a single family it would be well worth it. But it's not. Gary, I love your blog and when I'm ready to pull the trigger I'm calling you. Keep up the good work!

Gary Thomas said...

Cisco, Five of the six units are currently for sale. The house at 820 is a single family residence. It is not a condo. This property has a shared use agreement with the adjacent condos which are also for sale. They are priced between $325,000 to $375,000.

Further, the condo association is stable. When the condos are sold the new owners will take over and benefit from the high quality construction and continued maintenance which makes these units strong competition for more expensive units over at Shipyard and smaller condos in the Old Town area.



The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.


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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.