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Wednesday, March 22, 2017

812 Fleming Street #5, Key West - Classic Key West Architecture

I have been selling houses and condos in Key West for twenty years. I remember a conversation I had with an agent in my office at the beginning of my real estate career. The lady agent had made a remark about a particular house as if she had just been inside. That puzzled me because the house was just listed that day. I asked her how she knew so much about the new listing. She said something like "Gary, there are only so many houses in Key West. We keep selling the same houses over and over again."  I got it. And that remark has stuck with me over the years because it applies not only to the theme of selling homes in a limited market area but also of having been inside the same house (or condo) on multiple occasions over the years. That is the case for the new listing at 812 Fleming Street #5, Key West.  I wrote about this same unit several years ago when it looked much different than it does today. Back then the unit had been abused by a renter who fancied himself to be an artist. I called the guy a lamebrain. The place has had two owners since my previous blog. The vestiges of the man without a brain are completely eradicated. Today the unit is spiffy clean and ready for a new owner who will have the best view of the gayest street in all of Key West.
Unit #5 is located on the top floor of the Seafoam Condominiums - a six unit residential condominium complex which also includes two commercial condos on the ground floor - a doctor's office and a tuxedo rental shop. Timmy Tuxedo to be exact. The building was renovated into condominiums a couple of decades ago. I remember the first time I entered the place. I was awed by the architecture. This is simply one of the most magnificent buildings in all of Key West.
The historic is laid out with solid geometric precision. There are basically four residential units on each floor with two units in the rear which have views of the pool and two units in front which share a large balcony spanning the width of the building.A partition provides privacy for the units on either side. A skylight in the middle of the atrium fills the hallways with light during the daytime.
This one bedroom unit is laid out fairly simply. Although two doors can provide entry into the unit, the primary access door is located off the kitchen. An adjacent closet provides a bit of storage as well as spatial separation from the combined dining and living room. A door opens from the living area out to the covered front porch.
There is a wide doorway opening out from the bedroom into the living room. A door on the window side opens into a small hall that leads to the bathroom. (The bathroom is located next to the kitchen and serves as guest bath without having to go into the bedroom.) Another door opens from the bedroom out to the front porch. CLICK HERE to view more photos.
I personally love this outdoor space. You can sit on this porch and watch Key West come alive in the morning. At first light you will see joggers and dog walkers. Later delivery trucks and carpenters and building tradesmen will appear on their way to work. Later trolley cars and trains will mix with tourists in cars and on bikes making their way down this street filled with homes of former millionaires and current ones. An hour or so before sunset you will notice the traffic dies down and the sidewalks become more busy as tourists head west on either side of Fleming Street with their destination being either Mallory Square to watch sunset celebration or a bar or restaurant or both. In the late evening tourists and locals will walk back to their guest house or hotel room or to their home. Duval Street and the Historic Seaport are only a couple of blocks away. This is the perfect location to be near both. And around 5:00 PM on the next to last Friday of each October, this balcony will have one of the best views of the Peoples Parade during Fantasy Fest.
The Seafoam Condominiums have a shared pool surrounded by palm trees and tropical foliage. The small cottage at poolside is the coin operated laundry.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet for 812 Fleming Street Unit 5 which is offered for sale at $599,000. Then 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.


Anonymous said...

Pros: Nice building, nice apartment, perfect location. Cons: only one bedroom and price, price, price. Unit #3 in the same building is also for sale and IMO it is nicer but priced even higher. Maybe this owner thought: If that owner gets that much, I'm out of here too. Someone will probably buy it because as they say, there is one born every day, but are there two?

Anonymous said...

Unit 3 is over priced but owner isn't in a hurry to sell either.

Gary Thomas said...

Dear Anon or Anons in the event there is one person who commented. Every seller has an asking price and a selling price. Both units are going to be on OPEN HOUSE this weekend. Buyers can check out the units for themselves and determine the pros and cons that would affect the way they may live in the unit.

I know the owners of #5 and presume they will negotiate a good deal for both sides. They want to sell not hold.

I wrote about #3 a couple of weeks ago. It is very nicely done. It was on Realtor caravan and a lot of agents said "I could live here" or something to that effect.

These condos have all the charm of a great Old Town house without all the expense. If you are a single person or a couple, this could potentially work for you and not bankrupt you as so many houses in Old Town might.

I tell buyers that they do not need to go into hock to get an extra bedroom for "guests" or "family". If they feel the need to host guests, there are guest houses on this same block. Put them up there and save a couple hundred thousand dollars. If you want more space, you might try to buy both units and combine into one. Another owner in the rear did just that. Or buy one unit now and buy the unit across the hall when it comes up on the market.

I would personally buy here. I have thought about it. I am getting older and think the stairs could become an issue for me so I won't be buying. But I would love to live here. I don't BS people. This is the truth. Take it for what it is worth.

If you are a seasonal owner, you could not ask for a better place. The pool is sunny. The location is convenient, and the price is reasonable compared to so much of Key West.

One final thought about comparing the two units which applies equally to a lot of units in Key West: the guy on lower floor can hear the buy on the top floor tap dance all night long.


Anonymous said...

Again, nice building, nice apartments, but both wayyyyyyyyyyyy overpriced. I could live there too, but unless you plan on buying and dying there, it is a really bad investment property. If you never plan on selling, then it could be perfect for someone. A one bedroom condo (never a good idea anyway) with no elevator access and no water view for that price is just plain silly willy. Sorry Charley.

Anonymous said...

This is the best part of old town in Key West. This is not Peoria. The best you can find in this part of old town for this price, or perhaps a bit more, is a tiny house on a tiny lot with no pool, no space for a pool and it needs work. This condo has great private outdoor space and access to a pool. You might need to negotiate a bit but I would not characterize it as way over priced. Of course if you wait until next year you will think that this price was a bargain. And nobody in old town has a water view.

Anonymous said...

It is not Peoria and its in a great location but it's still a one bedroom on a 3rd floor with no elevator. Do these places even have parking? As said, wayyyyyyyyyyy overpriced. A young kid could walk up those stairs but a young kid can't afford these high prices unless a trust funder. I am neither so i wont be buying here. 325 Peacon Lane is slightly more but is a house, has a pool, some kind of sleeping loft used as a second bedroom, and parking. There are a couple other places slightly higher than this price that have room for a pool. A much better investment IMHO. There area also a couple transient licensed places on White with pool access although not the better location they have those transient licenses just in case an owner wants to leave town and rent the place out for $$$$. You are the expert but i just dont see it being worth anywhere near the asking prices

Gary Thomas said...

Dear Anon Above ^, I wonder if you are a potential buyer or just an observer of Key West real estate. You are right, this is a third floor walk up and it probably will appeal more to the younger set than someone my age. I can do the stairs okay, I just would not want to carry groceries. But you know what, there is a second floor, one bedroom Shipyard condo price $20,000 higher where I would have to carry groceries one block. I'd have a parking space but I would have to share the pool with 170 other units with a bunch of kids and fat folk from Peoria.

A few years ago I worked with an older couple (older than me) who were shopping by price. They found a place the liked in Truman Annex. The designated parking spot was over one block from the unit they liked. I told them it would be difficult to carry their groceries and stuff all that way - especially on those occasional days when it is raining. They ultimately bought a bit larger place at another Singh community with a private pool and covered parking across from their house at about the same price. It wasn't close to Duval. They didn't have to sacrifice quality of life to get what they wanted either.

There is a small house for sale on a very good street priced $30,000 more. A pig lives next door and I am not talking about the owner. Maybe.

The house on Peacon Lane is under contract and it needs some work. You need a ladder to reach the loft which is a bit problematic for someone my age. I do love that street however. And it does having parking.

I showed a one bedroom condo on Simonton last week with a small kitchen and bath which had no pool and no parking. I did have a transient license. Price was around $480,000. But the real thing it did not have was a sense of neighborhood. All of the condos are rentals. All neighbors are commercial. That's a lot of fun. I deal with buyers all the time who think price rules. Well, to some people price is all that matters. Other people look for value. Some look for character. I think this building is amazing. If you like to watch people you could not ask for a better place. It's got a sunny pool that is rarely used. I have sold other condos in Old Town. This is the best pool by far. There is no parking, but most (not all) of the other condo conversions do not have parking either.

I think you made your point. I made mine.



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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.