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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

501 Duval Street - Key West - News You Can Use

I was walking up and down Duval Street this morning taking photos for an upcoming blog when I passed by 501 Duval Street, the PACE Building, or as it has been known prior to 2000 the Banana Republic building.  I was startled to see the windows had been totally covered by brown paper. Then I was alarmed to see the BANANA REPUBLIC signage had been removed. Doom! I thought.

On May 12, 2012 I wrote that Fast Buck Freddies was closing its doors. Fast Buck Freddies did an orderly liquidation over several weeks.  Then it shut its doors forever. Nothing has filled that space. I was fearful that Banana Republic would be leaving the space as well. I returned to my office and learned that the store held a liquidation sale over the weekend.  Doom. Doom. And more Doom I thought. I contacted an old pal who told me that the store will be re-opening in November as a Banana Republic outlet.  Thank God it's not leaving. I could not bear it turning into a tacky t-shirt shop or taco stand.  I dug into the shoebox to look for old photos of what occupied the space at 501 Duval Street before Banana Republic.
Drug store in 1965
1975 being renovated
Tacos in 1975
Banana Republic 2011
Doors Shut - Movers Ready for Final Move-out August 21, 2013
Gone Today - Hope it actually returns


Anonymous said...

I hate to hear about BR! My wife and I loved that corner for shopping on our frequent visits to KW. First Fast Bucks (and Half Bucks), now BR?

I'm afraid to see what the "outlet" store carries. If it's anything like the Factory stores here in Ohio, it's mostly a cheaper quality line specifically made for the Factory store at a not so great discount. Basically, you get what you pay for.

Hope the island retail sector turns around soon!

Thanks for your great blog - I look forward to your posts.

Anonymous said...

Oh great, is Duval going to turn into an outdoor outlet mall? Hope not. Gary, any news on the space where Fast Buck Freddies used to be? I do miss the windows.

Anonymous said...

BR will return in the fall of this years the store is being renovated.

Anonymous said...

The closing of Banana Republic is just another nail in the coffin for Duval Street. Oh please, do you REALLY think it's going to open as an outlet? Get over it - it's gone! Locals avoid Duval like the plague. It's now for tacky cruise ship passengers looking for a cheap trinket or t-shirt. There are more and more empty shops and buildings along Duval now than I've seen in years. It used to be a great place to be - not so much now.

Gary Thomas said...

I am disgusted with Duval Street. I'm gonna write a personal piece in a couple of days that will show why.

I was genuinely really scarred when I walked by the papered over windows. I was sure Banana Republic was out of business forever. I feared the worse - loss of a big store, an alternative place to shop with decent clothes and the same prices nationwide - not Key West jacked up prices.

I was fearful that the people who worked there would be out of a job. Jobs are easy to find in Key West. Finding people that show up each day, on time, and not drugged or drunk is a different matter. I ran a business. I learned real quick about Key West craziness.

I was thankful to learn that the store will reopen. Maybe being an outlet will actually make the offerings more affordable. That's not a bad thing.

As for Fast Buck Freddies, I have heard pretty reliable news about what may be done but reasons why it may not occur. I can't say what I remember because I was told that in confidence. And I don't want to start any rumors. What I heard from other sources was that maybe Margaritaville will expand into the Fast Buck space. That makes a lotta sense for a lotta reasons. Keep in mind the building is really old and will probably require a major renovation before the City would permit such an expansion.


Anonymous said...

The Captain says:

Banana Republic will reopen as a Banana Republic outlet. And Fast Buck Freddies is going to be a CVS. (I'm not kidding).

Captain out.....

Anonymous said...

Oh Captain, my captain... Say it ain't so.

Anonymous said...

OMG - like we really NEED another CVS on Duval Street? If it DOES turn into a CVS, I may have to lie in front of the door splayed out naked as a jaybird - trust me that will stop people from going in!!!

I am honestly concerned about the fate of Duval Street. Thankfully the Southernmost end is still decent. I was upset that Sweet Tea's/T Bistro closed but I know that location has had a history of non success. It's such a great space - something really cool needs to go in there.

If I had the money I would open up a true cabaret/piano bar lounge there. Sorry, but the over amplified synthesized crap being churned out across the street is NOT a piano bar.

Honestly, I spend more time on Simonton or White Street than I do on Duval as I think a lot of locals do. I think the true spirit of Key West can be found on both of those streets.


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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.