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Friday, October 30, 2015

712 Ashe Street, Old Town Key West - Room for Improvement

The house at 712 Ashe Street has been on the market 36 days as of October 30, 2015. It is located in the Old Town area of Key West. This is the area where most second home buyers want to locate.

The listing Realtor (not me) describes this property this way:
"This total renovation project or tear down home has been in the same family since it was built in 1933. Located in a fantastic area of million dollar plus homes in the X flood zone, where flood insurance is not required. The values in this neighborhood could support the types of improvements this home requires. Current home sits very far forward on the deep lot, giving it plenty of room in the rear for additions, pool, etc. Buyer to verify what can be done with the lot through HARC."
I looked through my old shoe box and found the above black and white photo of this property that was taken in 1965. I was intrigued by the old car which I recognized as a Nash Rambler. I found a photo of this same make which was manufactured in 1952. Then I found a recent color photo of the same make and age. It's remarkable how good a classic old car can look if properly maintained and or restored. The house at 712 Ashe Street hasn't fared that well, however.
I often tell buyers that houses are just boxes. Some "boxes" look a lot better than others. 711 Ashe Street sold earlier this year for $1,000,000 despite the fact that its view is of the rather run down 712 Ashe. The location is the same, however. Ashe Street runs three blocks beginning at Southard Street at the north to Olivia Street at the south. Most of the houses on this little block are in really good condition.  I believe this property is in such poor condition that a new owner will seek permission to raze the original house and to build a new structure. You normally can't tear down an old house and build new. I think this will easily qualify for demolition.
I checked the Historic Sanborn Fire Maps and found this property first appearing on the 1892 map. The 1889 map blanked out a major portion of this area. No houses were shown. Since houses appeared on nearby blocks on that map, I assume this house probably existed at least three years or more earlier. It is unfortunate that this property was maintained as good as it should have. Other homes on this block have been successfully restored. I don't think there is much hope for this place. The important thing to remember is that the rest of the houses look so much better. This is an opportunity for a new owner to do something really creative.
The Monroe County Property Appraiser shows the lot as being 32' wide by 93' deep or 2930 sq ft. There is a small metal shed at the rear where the current owner has a laundry. This is good for a couple of reasons: first this building could remodeled as part a renovation of the existing house or the construction of a new house.The lot is large enough to allow a new house, a new pool, and renovate the rear building. Second, there is water, sewer, and electricity to this building. This will somewhat mitigate construction costs.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet and listing photos on this property which is offered for sale at $550,000. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to discuss. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

1500 Atlantic Boulevard Unit 108, Key West - Oceanfront Living at It's Best

Key West is a little island at the tail end of America - the southernmost point in the continental United States. You'd think a lot homes here would be located by the water. The fact of the matter is that very few are. There are perhaps ten or so single family homes located on the water. The condominiums at the Key West Beach Club are the only condominiums where each unit has a spectacular direct water front location. 
As soon as you enter this unit your eyes are drawn to the ocean view which faces south. You see the horizon where water and sky meet. Giant palms punctuate the view. If you look to the west you'll see the White Street Pier where the annual 4th of July Fireworks display occurs.
The master bedroom also has a direct ocean front view. Sliders open out to the approximate 345 sq ft deck where you can take in the incredible views, but you could just as easily wake up looking at the horizon. Note that the master bedroom has a custom made Murphy bed which retracts to provide a great spot to do yoga.
The guest bedroom with adjacent office is located at the front of the unit.
The listing Realtor at Preferred Properties describes this newly renovated property this way:
"Many units in the Beach Club over the last few years, have been transformed into showplaces, but none like this! The quality of the materials and design are proof that no expense was spared. PGT WinGuard LowE Impact glass in the kitchen, guest bedroom, office nooks, 3 panel sliding stackable doors to the terrace. There are custom fixed, frosted impact windows and new accordion balcony shutters. Balcony has Tung and grove wood ceiling and lighting. Over 50 recessed lights, ceiling fans, city transient rental code approved fire alarms and emergency lighting. All new plumbing including Kolher, Moen, Ripley, Danze, Delta and PowerStar Instant Hot Water. Porcelain floor tile throughout. Custom kitchen, GE Profile appliances, wine coolers and Eco Cosentino countertop. Transient License. Covered assigned parking and storage."
Unit No. 108 is located on the first floor (over ground floor covered parking and storage) of this four story building. It has 1531 square feet of totally renovated living space. The unit has a very valuable City of Key West Transient Rental License which allows weekly rentals every week of the year. This owner lives in this unit and does not rent it. But a new owner could easily rent it as often as they had the heart not to be there.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West mls datasheet on this unit which is offered for sale at the asking price of $1,425,000. Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing of this property. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

619 Simonton Street, Key West, Florida

619 Simonton Street was recently listed for sale at the asking price of $1,330,000. This home is one of nine located in the Gardens of Key West addition to Old Town. As you view the classic lines of this Conch revival style house you may discern that it is not an historic home but rather a new home designed to look like the old houses that populate the Old Town area of our island city.  I dug into the old shoe box to see if I could find a photo showing what was located in this same spot before the current homes were built in 1997. The space was a very large vacant lot for as long as I could remember. I had no idea that the stretch of Simonton Street was once the home of the Columbia Steam Laundry pictured below.
Columbia Steam Laundry - 617 Simonon St - razed 1970
Columbia Steam Laundry - 617 Simonon St - razed 1970
 Columbia Steam Laundry - 617 Simonton St - photographed in 1965 - razed in 1970

Here is a bit of history for you:  If you read my blog of July 24, 2012 regarding 1311 Truman Avenue (CLICK HERE to read) you will see a reference to Benjamin Trevor who served as mayor of Key West from 1903-1905 who opened the first steam laundry in Key West.  This was the location of the first steam laundry.

Same location October 2015

Couple exploring Peggy Mills Garden in 1970 Key West
 The INSIDERS' GUIDE Florida Keys and Key West tells us that Peggy Mills began collecting unique botanical specimens from around the world which she incorporated into her garden.  Back then the city was in a terrible state of depression and she was able to buy up neighboring houses to create a compound of small cottages with extra ground which provided space to expand her garden.
Today that space is the Gardens Hotel, one of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World. I mention this because the Gardens Hotel is one of the neighboring properties to 619 Simonton  Street. Other nearby neighbors include the Haitian Art Co., Sarabeth's, The Garden Cottage, Preferred Properties Key West, and world famous Duval Street which is one block away.

The listing broker describes 619 Simonton Street this way:
"Located in the charming Gardens of Key West enclave, you'll find this elegant single family home. Enjoy quiet enjoyment of your tropical retreat while being just steps away from fine dining, shopping, and entertainment. Handsomely appointed, this home features hardwood floors, tall ceilings, spacious kitchen and open floor plan opening to private garden and pool. Upstairs you'll find a large master suite and guest room with en suite bath and balcony. Enjoy a taste of real Key West alongside Rick Worth mural on neighboring building. Property is in X Zone and includes 2 parking spots."
This home sits at the back of the huge parcel that makes up the Gardens of Key West.  As noted by the listing Realtor the home is located adjacent to a large old metal building .  Local artist Rick Worth created an idealic depiction of Old Town on the metal structure.  What could have been a distraction is instead a piece of art as the focal point when you drive up to (or walk toward) this residence.  The home has two front balconies and a small front and side yard which provides access to the pool area in the rear for your pool man.
This 1440 sq ft home has a large main level kitchen located up front followed by the dining area and living room at the rear. A half bath is tucked under the stairway. Upstairs the guest bedroom with en-suite bath is located at the front of the house.  The master suite and its en-suite bath are at the rear. The pool, of course, is located at the very rear of the property where it is secluded from the rest of the world.
If you have been searching for a proper Key West home for a while, you probably know that most buyers over the million dollar price point demand a private pool and off street parking. This home has the pool plus two parking spots. Two parking spots! CLICK HERE to see more photos provided by the listing agent.

CLICK HERE to view the Key West Association of Realtors mls datasheet and to view more listing photos of this lovely Key West home that is offered for sale at $1,330,000. This home would make a great vacation rental because of the excellent Old Town location, the proximity to all of the tourist attractions and nightlife located within easy walking distance, and the privacy that this home with its private pool provide.
If you would like to see 619 Simonton Street or any other residence in Key West please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. Let me help you find your place in Paradise.

Monday, October 26, 2015

1611 Seminary Street, Key West

The newly listed home at 1611 Seminary Street in Key West seems to hover a few inches above the lush green lawn dotted with stepping stones that lead to the front entry. The stark white white house stands in contrast to the neighboring Mid-Century homes in this midtown neighborhood. This place may share the same origin, but it's like the wild child who ran away from home, did something remarkable, and returned home to show off how successful it became. I found a former mls photo (below) that shows this same house before the 'wild child' got reinvented. It is the same view but at looking straight on. A tall white fence is located on the far side of the foliage.
The stone pathway leads to a covered walkway on the side of the home. The door opens into the great room. Competing floor to ceiling sliding doors open onto the front lawn and rear pool and garden. Your eyes are pulled in multiple directions as are your emotions. You immediately sense "I have not seen anything like this before." Which way do I go first? 
The rear doors open from the kitchen are out to the covered lanai and outdoor dining area. The transition from elegant indoor space to the equally elegant outdoor living areas is seamless. This is how we live in Key West or at least how we wish we lived. I took the photos of this home in the late afternoon.  The yard would have much more sun earlier in the day and even more sun during the late spring and summer. CLICK HERE to see more photos of the inside and the outside of this great property. 
 Sliding floor to ceiling doors retract and open from the master bedroom out to the covered front porch and walled garden. The house is surrounded by a white concrete fortress-like fence that is punctuated by tropical green foliage and palm trees. The predominant interior color is white accented by black or gray. 
 The master bedroom is at the front of the house. The guest bedroom is located midway off the long narrow hall. The bath is at the far north end of the house. The black sliding door next to the bath opens toward the outdoor dining area and pool beyond. But before you walk into the dining area, there is a lovely outdoor shower. Notice the round window that provides light into the hallway and which adds a bit of excitement for guests and bathers as to who may be watching whom.
After I left this house and headed back to my home to download the photos I knew I found a place that is totally different from any other house I have seen in Key West. You can't go to Home Depot and buy the design elements that are incorporated into this place. So much of what I see on a typical day is derivative of what I saw weeks or months or years earlier. This is genuine one-of-a-kind. 1116 Seminary Street is offered for sale at $875,000.  Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642 to schedule a private showing of this wonderful home. It's incredible!


The information on this site is for discussion purposes only. Under no circumstances does this information constitute a recommendation to buy or sell securities, assets, real estate, or otherwise. Information has not been verified, is not guaranteed, and is subject to change.


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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.