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Thursday, March 30, 2017

522 Simonton Street, Key West - Strategicallly Located Renovation Project

As March winds down to its end I am reminded of my first trip to Key West in 1984.  Back then more of the houses needed renovated than had been done.  I am an early riser and remember walking the streets of Old Town and looking at the old houses and thinking what I could do if I owned one of those old places. I fell in love with this little island town that would later become my home. I traveled back to Key West a few months later and started what would become a nine year vision quest before I finally purchased a place here. Over the following years more and more of the old houses have been purchased and renovated by all types of new owners with varying visions, skills, and budgets. Many of the formerly run down houses have won awards for excellence in renovation. Thirty-three years later there are fewer and fewer large un-renovated homes left.  522 Simonton Street is one of them.
The listing Realtor describes this property this way:
"This is one of the most historic and iconic homes in Key West. Built in the 1860's and the Key West home of Robert Watson, officer in the Confederate Army and later Confederate Navy, and his family. Watson later served briefly as mayor of Key West. There have only been two families to reside here since the home was built. The architecture is unique for Key West with a stepped facade and four separate porches on the front of the house. Perfectly sited with ample sized front and side yards and a large rear yard, there are many options including expansion, multiple off-street parking spaces, lush gardens and pool. The home requires a total renovation and is uninhabitable in its current condition. This is the perfect property for the buyer wanting to create their own architectural masterpiece."
I looked through my old shoebox and found the above black and white photo which was taken in 1965. That photo shows the clean lines of this once great house. I took the color photo immediately above from a similar angle earlier today. Trees and overgrowth obscure the old house that still exists.  While the photos may suggest this place is more grey gardens than great design, I think the original house can come back big time and that whoever buys this place will have an incredible property in the end.
When you look at the black and white photo you will notice the large two story addition to the right. First and second floor porches were added to the side addition after the 1965 photo was taken. Today those porches are in disrepair. The front porch on the original house is in equally bad disrepair. Issues like these are to be expected. The original house probably has not changed much over the past fifty years or longer. The home has not been occupied for many years. It is my understanding the former owner lived on the main floor for several years before her departure several years ago.  This will definitely be a project house.
I showed this property in early January. While much of the house hearkens back to the 18th Century, the renovated property will likely be updated to early 21st Century standards and uses. I envision this house will be converted into some quasi-commercial use. This house is situated one block from Duval Street, our primary tourist destination location. The highest and best use would be a renovation to a large single family home that could be rented monthly as a vacation rental. There is off street parking off the front for at least two cars. There is a very large back yard and good-sized side yards on the south and the north. There is plenty of room for a pool, parking, and lovely gardens. 
CLICK HERE view the Key West MLS datasheet which shows this property as being a 2652 square feet home situated on a 6610 square foot lot which measures 58.5' X 113'.  Simonton Street is one of the longest streets in Key West. It begins at the Gulf of Mexico on the north and ends at the Reef Resort on the Atlantic Ocean to the south - about one mile in length. I would describe most of Simonton Street as being a transitional street. Almost all of Old Town located to the east is residential use. There are only a few single family residences that remain on this street. Most of the properties have become commercial in some respect whether converted into apartments, condominiums, guest houses or boutique hotels, or monthly vacation rental houses. There are a few single family homes which have transient rental licenses. I think any sense of "community" has long disappeared from this street. That is why I think conversion to some form of commercial use makes the most sense with this property. 

Please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to set up a private showing of this historic old home with terrific Old Town location.  I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

1223 Margaret Street, Key West - New Lower Price

 I first wrote about 1223 Margaret Street in Key West last August when it was first offered for sale at $1,500,000. Today the house is now available at $1,395,000. The Key West selling season is winding down.  There are fewer and fewer new listings each day. I think now is the time for buyers who want a big impressive house like this to take advantage of the current market.
This three story home was built new (not remodeled) in 1999 by Lauramar Development. That developer built several "in-fill" properties in various Old Town neighborhoods around that same time period. Each of the projects quickly sold out because the houses had the desirable architectural look of "look" of historic Key West homes. The houses were built to rigid new building codes and used modern building materials. The resultant homes are easier to maintain on the outside and offer contemporary living on the inside.

The listing Realtor provides a more colorful description of this property:
" This spacious Old Town tropical oasis is Key West living at its finest. Located in a small condominium compound, at the corner of United and Margaret streets, this colorful free-standing, 3-story Conch house features Mexican tile floors, large windows and porches, and a swimming pool and spa area. The roomy, open concept first floor living area has a well-appointed kitchen with breakfast bar, and plenty of space for dining or entertaining, as well as a half-bathroom. Two large bedrooms, both with updated ensuite bathrooms and breezy porches, dominate the second floor, while a larger bed and bath with an attached office or nursery room, completes the third level. This prime property also includes a small pool house with a full bathroom, and a valuable off-street parking spot. An alarm system will provide security and peace of mind, during those languid strolls to the many shops and restaurants of the nearby White Street corridor, or downtown Key West and Duval Street."
1223 Margaret Street has 2412 sq ft of living space on three floors and sits on a slightly irregular rectangular lot 34' X 98' (3292) sq ft located at the corner of Margaret and United Street. A white picket fence encloses the minimal maintenance front yard. There is a two story front porch with sitting spaces on both levels. There is a small entry hall which offers direct access to the great room to the right and the pool and guest house to the rear. Or you can ascend the first of two tiers of stairs leading to any of the three interior bedrooms. (There's a fourth bedroom in a rear guest cottage.) The living space is really inviting. The current owner has the space brightly painted in Caribbean colors. Plantation shutters filter sunlight for all of the windows. A half bath is tucked under the staircase. There is a two story rear porch which provides a nice shaded area on the ground level and an open sky view on the second level that is located just off the master bedroom.
Both the master bedroom at the rear and the guest bedroom at the front of the second floor have en-suite baths and access to the second floor porches on their respective sides. Unlike most historic Conch houses with small bedrooms, the bedrooms in this home are quite spacious. And you'll be able to sit on the rear or front to drink your morning coffee or sip that last glass of wine before bed.
The third floor is just magical with its angular ceiling, dormer, and its supreme coziness. What a perfect perch to read a book or to write one. The is a grand retreat from the world where most people live. Each of the homes in this compound are different. None of the other homes are arranged like this. So the house is as unique as the people who own it. Imagine how you might decorate this home to meet your lifestyle.
1223 Margaret Street has two off-street parking places. One is located on the north side at the front of the house and the second is located off the private lane at the rear. Four other homes in the compound have private parking behind their homes here as well. The yearly HOA Fee is just $375. Each owner is responsible for the maintenance and insurance of his or her respective home which is owned in fee simple.
CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS 1223 Margaret Street, Key West and 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 the listing brokerage for this lovely home.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

32 Hilton Haven Road, Key West - New Lower Price

The asking price on 32 Hilton Haven Road #4, Key West was just reduced making this waterfront home an incredible buy in my opinion. The listing Realtor describes this property as being the largest waterfront condominium available in Key West. Two units were combined to make one 2258 square foot home with three bedrooms, four bathrooms, and a large open concept kitchen, dining, and living area with open water views from the fifty foot balcony.This unit has been completely renovated from bottom to top including new wood and tile floors, recessed lighting, wind impact doors and windows, kitchen cabinets, appliances, and so forth. The waterfront view remains forever inviting.
While standing in the kitchen I took the above photo and imagined living in this space. Everything blends together so nicely.  One of the complaints I have often heard about other condominium properties is how alike they are which is the same as saying how unimaginative they are. This place is the opposite. The living space is so large and open. There is plenty of room for a real family to live here and not be tripping all over each other.
The bedrooms are located on the four corners of this unit.  Each bedroom has an adjacent or en-suite bathroom.  Having this much separation ensures privacy for the people occupying these spaces. The current owner chose to use one bedroom as a den and enlarged the adjacent laundry to include a home office. The main entrance is located near ground level while all living space is located on the second floor. There are multiple entrances to the deck area as well.
32 Hilton Haven Road is offered for sale at $1,199,750. CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet and listing photos. After you have imagined how wonderful this place would be to own, please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to set up a private showing. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West. The listing agent promised to get my buyers in at a moments notice. Let's take a look. You will not be disappointed.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Sunday Open House - 1500 Albury Street, Key West, Florida

1500 Albury Street, Key West
Open House Sunday March 26th
12:00 to 2:00 PM
Come see this brand new 2240 square foot home located just one block north of Bayview Park.

  • Hardiplank siding and impact windows and doors throughout mean cost savings on insurance, energy, and maintenance.
  • Top of the line construction throughout including crown molding, high baseboards, coffered ceiling in living room, wainscoting, real wood doors, custom kitchen, stainless steel appliances, travertine marble and hardwood floors.
  • Heated pool, waterfall, LED water light symphony, outdoor shower, landscape lighting, irrigation system.
  • Corner lot with white picket fence, gated off-street parking for two cars
  • Whole house generator.
  • Home-run cold and hot water on all fixtures. Home-run on all electric outlets.
  • Smart House Technology.
Listed by Preferred Properties Key West  Cory Held, Jeffrey Grosky, and Gary Thomas

Friday, March 24, 2017

912 White Street, Key West


In 1886 an entire village for cigar makers was developed in one corner of Old Town Key West. The Pohalski and Co. cigar factory was located at the corner of White and Truman. Cottages lined the nearby streets and lanes as was typical of the other parts of town where other cigar factories were located.  The cigar maker cottages were simple in design and construction and provided basic shelter to factory workers. In his book The Streets of Key West, J. Willis Burke writes about Pohalski Village: "On the other side, off the western [should be eastern] side of the cemetery are Havana Street and Pohalski Avenue, byways that echo the area's once thriving cigar-making industry.... In the late 1880s, cigar magnate Pincus Pohalski, a transplant from Texas built a factory and then established an entire village within this block."  Smaller lanes in the village include Gerome Avenue which is a City of Key West walking lane about eight feet wide and nearby Nichols Avenue which is only about ten feet wide and runs perpendicular to Pohalski Lane  the rear through street west of White Street. Division Street at the south is now known as Truman Avenue. Olivia Street is the terminus one block north of White. At the end of the 19th Century and the beginning of the 20th the people who lived in these homes probably did not have horses let alone cars.  The houses were jumbled together on small lots accessed via small lanes called Avenues.

 I looked through the old shoebox and found a couple of photos of the block which show the factory and workers, the same corner during a Mother's Day Parade in 1928, the razing of the Standard Oil Gas Station in 1964. Today a Chrevon Gas Station is located in the same spot. Little Nichols Avenue is located just behind the Chevron Station. Pholhaski Lane is located adjacent to the gas station. A group of former cigar cottages on Olivia Street are now combined into the Lionsgate Condominiums.

912 White Street is a remnant of the former Pohalski village which has been renovated and expanded.  The black and white photo above was taken in 1965. The color photo is very recent and shows the recent addition where the master bedroom and bath are now located. 

The listing Realtor describes the modern day 912 White Street this way:
"Citrus Cottage - your perfectly renovated and beautifully furnished Key West Getaway boasts a large upstairs Master suite and 2 bedrooms down with a Jack and Jill bath between. A new kitchen and the living area open to the deck and heated pool. Also a small shed with a half-bath and outdoor shower."
Substantial renovations were done to this 1371 sq ft house in 2007. There is a bedroom and bath at the front of the house on the main floor and another on the second floor. French doors open out from the living area onto the rear deck. There is a small cottage located at the far end of the pool.
There is a little sitting area off the top of the stairs adjacent to the master bedroom and bath. There are two guest bedrooms and two bathrooms on the first floor. The baths share the shower located in the middle.

The little cottage at the rear is not being used at the current time. There is a half bath and there is an outdoor shower so I suppose one might use the space for the teen who demands his or her privacy or maybe as a writer's cottage.
The view from the front porch is awfully sweet. Actress Kelly McGillis and her former husband used to live directly across the street. While this little piece of old Key West is no longer referred to as Pohalski Village, it is still a neighborhood of many small homes like this some of which are full time residences and others which are part time homes. 

CLICK HERE to view the Key West MLS datasheet. Then please call me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642, to schedule a private showing of this not so little three bedroom cottage with a pool in Old Town Key West offered at $876,000. I am a buyers agent and a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West.


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.