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Monday, November 2, 2015

1117 Fleming Street, Key West - Old Town Renovation Opportunity!

Just Listed, but not by me, 1117 Fleming Street which is located steps from the end of Old Town. This is a huge old house that sits to the rear of an irregularly shaped 6884 sq ft lot that runs 50' wide by 154' deep.  The back of the lot exits onto Stickney Lane which opens onto White Street.
I checked the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps to see if I could determine when this house was originally constructed. The maps were used by insurance companies to map houses and appurtenant structures, commercial buildings, and other landmarks to memorialize structures in existence as of a specific date. The maps were updated every few years in Key West. The earliest map I have access to is the 1889 map. It does not show 1117 Fleming because an overlay takes up that side area of that map. But 1015 Fleming does appear on the 1892 map. Then in 1899 the address of 1015 Fleming is changed to 1117 Fleming Street.

I dug into my old shoe box and found a photo of this property that was taken in 1965. I enlarged a portion of that photo so that you can see the house in better detail. I remembered I had an aerial  photo of the old Army Parade Grounds located across White Street to the east that was taken in the 1920s. I added the notation identifying 1117 Fleming Street. That photo follows.
The aerial photo demonstrates exactly what the listing Realtor points out as he discusses this property:
"When Opportunity Knocks... Triplex in Old Town: One for you and Two for income! Built in 1935, this 6,884 square foot property is adjacent to a large guest house property and runs from Fleming Street through to Stickney Lane. In its day, the front porch was quite an entry point with its arched corner railing and pillars reportedly made of solid Dade County Pine. These fantastic pillars are still in place. The home once sat up near Fleming Street where is was a grand single family home. It was relocated in the 1960s to its current location at the rear of the lot and subsequently converted to a triplex. Off street parking won't be an issue for this home as there's plenty of area off Fleming Street. Wonderful Old Town area with easy walking distance to the Key West harbor, fishing charters, art galleries, fine dining, and all the excitement of Duval Street. This is a great opportunity and project for the right buyer. All you need is your imagination!"

The asking price is $999,000. For that you get the house that looks like this. Remember, this is a project house. It won't look like this when the renovation is completed. Let's look at listing photos which show what it looks like now and imagine what it could become. 
The Monroe County Property Appraise shows this property as having 2040 sq ft of living space under air. That includes the main house and apartments. Longtime readers of my blog know that the renovation of houses like this are subject to the architectural guidelines of our Historic Architectural Review Commission and also our local Tree Commission. No person can state with any certainty what either commission might do with a particular set of facts and circumstances. I have an opinion as to what I think a new owner might do with this property.
What you see now will disappear and become something quite wonderful
First, I would ask the Tree Commission for permission to remove the clusters of trees that overtaken the front of the lot.  The commission would go through a review of the variety and size of the trees and determine the merit of allowing the trees to be removed. It would make a finding and likely require the replacement of native trees back onto the lot after the renovation is completed. 

Second, I would ask for permission to relocate the main house back to the front of the lot. This would give the property both a street presence and also allow the new owner to reconstruct this house on a new stable foundation. I might ask HARC for permission to place a side addition onto the main house. This would not only increase the living area but also allow for the living spaces to be more in tune with the way we live our lives today. There is a current renovation going on at 707 South Street that is a good example of what I have in mind. That house was featured in the 1989 James Bond movie License to Kill.
The original house at 707 South Street, pictured above, has a distinct arched entry and arched dormers on the roof. The house measures 22 feet wide. A new addition has been added to the east where a more linear arch mimics the arch on the original house. A two story carriage house with upper level living space is being added on the rear which exits onto Villa Mill Alley.  1117 Fleming Street exits onto Stickney Lane. Large lots and large houses like 707 South and 1117 Fleming create opportunities for grand living.  I think the new owner of 1117 Fleming could expand the main house and either retain the apartments for rental income, use the space for caretaker living quarters, or convert the building into a luxury guest cottage for friends and family use. 

I would encourage buyers who have been looking for a big house to redo to give 1117 Fleming Street serious consideration.  Like the listing agent says "All you need is your imagination." Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a showing of the Fleming Street properties.

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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.