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Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Projects of Key West

 Up north, in America, you probably cringe when you read or hear the word "project" especially when looking to purchase real estate. But in Key West people stop and take pictures and even write blogs about our little projects.  Our projects are often signs of restoration and regeneration of our treasured homes. Some projects are particularly noteworthy. Today's blog is a continuing update on the Projects of Key West.

Below are photos of properties that recently were completed, properties in the midst of renovation, and other projects that have just begun.

In 2010 a bank owned house at 1021 Fleming Street was listed for $321,750.  There were ten cash offers higher than asking price. The house sold for $400,000 after only a few days on the market. Restoration took about two years.  The house is now complete.  Congratulations on an incredible job.  This place is a show stopper!
Several months ago I wrote about the house for sale at 1117 Stump Lane. I said "Budget buyers who are looking for a place they can move right into and do a little bit of fix-up over time or a buyer who wants to do a major renovation ought to take a look at this home." I then added  the property would probably go under contract as soon as you can say "Jumping Jack Flash" because it was priced to sell in a market filled with a lot of buyers desperate for a deal. It sold the first week it was listed. This was renovated from the bottom to the top and from the front to the new pool in the rear.
1010 Washington Street is a circa 1958 vintage house with an elevated garage apartment located in the Casa Marina Area.  The new owner elevated and renovated the apartment, did a total transformation of the main house, and added a pool and new landscaping.
608 William Street was purchased by the owners who also restored the adjacent 730 Southard Street. The William Street cottage was recently completed after a lengthy renovation and expansion. I found a couple of old photos that show the cottage from past decades and have added recent photos that show the construction and final product. Local folk artist Ronny Bailey created a miniature version of the 608 William cottage which is shown immediately below.

I wrote several blogs on 1020 Southard Street when it was listed for sale. The house has one of the very best locations in Old Town.  The house had a modest guest cottage and a good sized pool. And the lot included off street parking for two cars.  The new owners demolished most of the original house except the front facade.  New piers, super structure, framing, and roof have been installed. The re-imagined house is beginning to take shape.
If you look carefully you will see that the entire back end of the house has been removed.

901 Pearl Street is located in the Meadows Area just one block from Bayview Park. This property, a former bank owned CBS house with red clay tile roof, was not deemed a contributing structure under our historic guidelines and could be razed. As I understand it, the owners planned to salvage the house. As construction ensued it became apparent the cost to correct the spalling issue was more expensive than expected. The house was razed and the lot has been cleared.  Let's see what happens next.

525 Grinnell Street keeps plodding along, and along, and along...
Most of this house was thoroughly rebuilt from foundation to roof, from the outside to the inside. After the project was nearly complete a decision was made to remove the cement front porch and to replicate a historically correct wood porch.
Speaking of plodding along, I posted photos of 410 Simonton Street in my May 13, 2013 blog which discussed new projects in Key West.  The house had been carved up into nine apartments. The second floor garret offered so many possibilities with its multiple dormers and the ever-so romantic Juliet Balcony. An addition at the rear housed two or three hovels. One apartment was so dreadful I would not go inside when showing it to potential buyers.The new owner has begun a significant restoration of the property. I snapped a couple of photos in April 2013. A year later the exterior staircase on the south side has been removed and workers are preparing to replace or repair piers and the superstructure before they undertake the interiors.  This is one of the most beautiful old homes in Key West. I am so eager to see the finished home.
 I found the below night time photo that someone posted online. Notice the stacked pieces of lumber in front of the old house.
Below photos taken May 1, 2014.

Before Key West got so fancy, many houses were pretty plain.  The simple house at 610 Olivia Street was updated over the years and was most recently used as a "duplex" of sorts. Two doors on the front porch separated what were two living spaces. A new owner has undertaken a significant renovation of the property which is being incorporated into the substantially larger estate next door to the east.

625 Margaret Street is quite a remarkable project indeed. The original house is shown in the black and white photo below. The house sat on a huge lot located very near the Key West cemetery.  HARC allowed the inexplicable to happen - the house was razed so that a new house could be built in place. The frame of a front window and the fireplace were the only parts of the original house that remained. Progress photos show the rebuilt frame, sheathing, and roof. A guest house and pool were added at the rear. Landscaping was being added last week as I snapped a couple of photos of the completed home.  
He must be doing something work related on his phone.

617 Grinnell Street There's not much left of 617 Grinnell Street. The last remains of the steps to nowhere were removed earlier this week. The black and white photo shows Grinnell Street as it looked in 1965. Some additions were made but the place really had no character. That is why the city allowed the owner to take down the original house and to built a new one in the same location. Stay tuned to see what rises from the pile of rubble.
620 Ashe Street is getting a new lease on life starting with a new foundation. The house has been elevated so that new piers and superstructure can be built. The house will be lowered onto the piers and then the house will get all  new interiors, windows, and probably the whole nine works.
1015 Simonton Street has been a trailer park ever since I came to Key West on my first visit in 1984. Even Bert,  a returning visitor to Key West, was perplexed when he arrived in Key West this year. The former Key West Trailer Court had been razed to make way for 21 new town homes that are to be added to the site later in 2014. The trailers, the trees, the fences, the screaming woman on the street that lived in one of the trailers - they are all gone. Many a day I would drive by this site and see several patrol cars with blue lights flashing as they prepared to take one trailer park residents off to the pokey.
1015 Simonton Street

Eliza Street near mid town home in the beginning stages of renovation.
904 Flagler Avenue is a new renovation of a 1950s concrete block house located in the Casa Marina Area just two blocks away from the beach.

Below is what once was 1119 Johnson Street, Casa Marina Area of Key West. The public record shows the new owner paid $1,300,000 for the house which was razed to make way for a new even more expensive contemporary residence.

The 1950s era CBS home at 1123 Von Phister Street (Casa Marina Area) has been razed as well. A new home will be built on this site.

1424 Grinnell Street in the Casa Marina Area is a different story. The owner has taken the 1963 CBS home to a totally different century in the stunning renovation that is nearing completion. Once the privacy fence is finished, the pool and rear garden will be completed. More on this classy addition to the Casa Marina scene in an upcoming blog.

3810 Flagler Avenue is located near the very far end of Key West. The house that sat on the site was a massive 3207 sq ft single story home with an incredible presence and view of the Riviera Canal to the rear. This property is getting a deserved face lift. The overbearing greenery has been removed to reveal what may be a new Key West landmark on the far end of our island home.

I will soon be writing a supplemental blog about many of the public works projects going on in Key West. This little island is getting a mighty big makeover. I'm not sure I like all that is happening, but there isn't much I can do to stop it.

If you are looking to purchase an existing home or maybe buy an old house and turn it into something really great CLICK HERE to SEARCH the KEY WEST MLS. Then please contact me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 or send me an email at  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

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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.