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Thursday, February 27, 2014

810 Elizabeth Street Key West - A Solares Hill Renovation Project

I first wrote about 810 Elizabeth Street, Key West nearly two months ago when it was first listed for sale.  This property is currently configured as two legal units but could become a single family home.  The listing Realtor, not me, has a letter from the Key West City Planner stating such. The property is in good condition as is, but it could be renovated into something much greater. The listing Realtor describes the property as:
"Perched near the crest of Solaris Hill, this 1,541 sq' legal duplex on a 3,192 sq' lot features a 3 bedroom 2 bath down & 2/1 up (approx 560 sq'). It is located 2 blocks from Duval St, Zone X which does not require flood insurance. Separately metered (electric/water/sewer). Could be converted into single family. Possible room for off street parking & dip pool. When renovated this rough cut diamond could be a crown jewel!"
Elizabeth Street is a one-way street from Truman Avenue to the south until it intersects at the corner of Angela Street and Windsor Lane.  Many of the houses on this three block stretch have been updated over the years, and some, like 810 Elizabeth Street, await a new buyer to bring the old house into the 21st Century. Look at the photo second above. That house at 819 Elizabeth Street was listed and put under contract in just six days this February.  I got a chance to show it to prospective buyers. It is great, but it is gone!  As I left the property after showing it I looked across the street to 810 Elizabeth Street and said to myself "someone is going to get a good deal if they buy it".  Project houses like 810 Elizabeth Street take a lot of time and a lot of money to complete. But when done right they can provide a satisfaction to a new owner that buying an already done house may not offer. That is because the new owner gets to decide what he or she wants to do.
I dug into the old shoebox and found a black and white photo of 810 Elizabeth Street as it existed in 1965. I also went to the Sanborn Fire Maps. I found 810 Elizabeth Street listed in the 1892 edition.  I found what I believe to be 810 Elizabeth in the 1889 map but houses had different numbers then. The house has been updated and maintained throughout the years. The county property records show the rear addition was added in 1994. 

CLICK HERE to view photos I took of the house, yard, and crawl space under the house.  The piers appear to have been updated, new joists installed, and other structural elements attended to over the years. A qualified home inspector would need to inspect any property a new owner desires to purchase. 
As currently configured there are three bedrooms, two baths, a laundry room, living room and kitchen plus rear deck on at the rear of the ground level living unit.
The second floor unit is presently configured as a one bedroom apartment with normal three piece bathroom plus an adjacent laundry room. Property records show this apartment as being 560 sq ft.

The houses as it exists is dysfunctional as to the way modern Americans use their homes - especially in Key West. I suggest a new owner would hire a designer or architect to reconfigure the spaces entirely.I envision taking down all existing interior walls and the existing outside stairway.  I would try to get permission to add on to the house where the stairs currently exist. This would provide new space to create an interior staircase to make the two units into one.  I would create two first floor guest beds and baths and make the rear a great room with living/dining/kitchen. I would make the second floor the master suite with en-suite bath. I would add a pool at the rear and try to convert the existing shed into a small cabana bar. Keep the bar simple and not confuse city officials who might think it would become a sleeping area. As it currently exists the space is too small anyway.
When completed a renovated house like this could make a wonderful vacation rental. The property is located two blocks from Duval Street to the west.  The Historic Seaport is eight blocks to the north and St. Mary's Basilica is three blocks to the south.  Returning vacationers will love the location because they can walk to their favorite haunts within a few minutes. A new owner will love the location because he or she won't have to buy flood insurance.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on 810 Elizabeth Street which is offered for sale at $695,000.  Better yet, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

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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.