Key West, FL Real Estate News

By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I have been waiting for a long time to see 522 Elizabeth Street, Key West listed for sale. The day has arrived. I got a chance to take a look earlier today. This is a project house - a major renovation. It will require a buyer with great imagination and deep pockets. The reward will be substantial. This will once again be a beautiful home in a great Old Town location. I searched around in my old shoebox and found a photo of the same property that was taken nearly sixty-two years ago. The black and white photo shows the second floor front porch was partially enclosed even back then. If you look carefully you will see that the house was wider than deep. Later owners would extend the main floor toward the rear. Also note the sprig of a tree that would later engulf the house.Today the trees...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I found this photo of Thanksgiving celebration in Key West dated 1954. The first thing I saw was the turkey, then the ham, and then the lady on the far left with a cocktail glass in her right hand with left arm raised and index finger pointed. The woman next to her copies her pose as if making some secret Key West salute. All of the other mothers have their arms raised holding cocktails as well. I saw the hot plate and the over-sized pots. I remembered the lunch ladies in my grade school cafeteria and the aroma of mystery meat. They are all drinking alcohol. Look at all the booze! Lots of it. This was not a school function. And these are not lunch ladies.   Of course this is not a school. Look at all of the switches on the wall and all of the light fixtures behind the women. This must b...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Where is this?Come back tomorrow for the answer. I took this photo in 1986 or 1987. As an aside HARC does not allow owners in Old Town to add dormers to their homes. This property was built prior to 1889 with the dormers.  The answer is 600 Fleming Street, Key West. It has been many things over the years including...   The site of Fausto's Grocery and a survivor of the October 1944 hurricane. A greeting place when our boys returned from saving the world.  The Q Rooms in 1987 when the building was purchased for $270,000. It was renovated and became The Marquesa Hotel and Mira - the first restaurant late re-named Cafe Marquesa.      
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 513 William Street in an eyebrow house. It is the most beautiful home in all of Key West. And it is for sale. In his book The Street of Key West J. Willis Burke describes the Key West eyebrow house as architectural eccentricity with "windows fitted up high, dropped just beneath the eaves, for shade and to capture the sea breeze and efficiently circulate air within."I started to take photos of this house in 2006 soon after renovation began. Unfortunately, most of my photos were stored on a defunct website and are lost. Fortunately for the person who buys this home, the owners who did the renovation took a lot of progress photos and gathered historical memoranda that is in an album which will conveyed to the new owner.  The listing Realtor states this home was built in  1845. 513 William...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  The listing Realtor describes this deceivingly versatile historic home like this: "An exceptional opportunity exists to secure this versatile property located a short stroll from all that the world-famous Duval Street has to offer. This charming island-style house pays homage to its history without forgoing the comforts of modern living. The design incorporates a good flow, lots of natural light, timeless finishes, and two comfortable and welcoming bedrooms on the main level. The second story houses another living space with classic features, including decorative ceilings, polished wood floors, a studio kitchen, a private entrance, and an outdoor patio tucked away in the trees. Opportunity awaits for owner-occupiers and investors alike." 1008 Whitehead Street is located a few paces so...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
The late night comics, the press, the pundits at FAUX NEWS, The Twitter-verse, and TikTok Creators poke fun of the crazy sh*t that happens in Florida, Last week they took aim at the Key West county jail. Our real jail a few years ago below.     FROM THE SMOKINGGUN.COM   Florida inmate charged with assaulting his roommate told cops that the victim “farts too much stinking up the cell” and fails to “give a courtesy flush” after using their shared toilet, according to an arrest report. Investigators allege that Christopher Callen, 33, pummeled Amado Dominguez-Quevedo, 57, during a confrontation Thursday night inside their cell at the Monroe County Detention Center in Key West. Callen (seen above) has been jailed since his arrest in late-September for failing to register as a sex offender w...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
This is a true story. A few years ago a husband & wife team in Ky West at a real estate office where I worked several years ago. They went to the Ft. Zach Taylor to have a picnic lunch at the beach. That's Ft Zach Beach in the photo above. I put an "X" to mark the spot where today's story occurred.  They saw a woman running around in her bathing suit frantically waiving at a cruise ship as it was sailing away from the Mallory Square Pier. The woman and her husband were passengers on the ship. They rented a scooter to see the island. They went to the beach and let time slip away. All of their clothes were on the boat and it was headed toward Mexico. They asked the Realtor couple what they should do. My friend suggested that they stay in Key West a few days and then rent a car and meet th...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Key West has been alive with tourists and wannabe homeowners ever since the barriers were removed from US 1 and the Key West International Airport started to allow outsiders inside. I thought we'd get a rest after Fantasy Fest. Nope, they are still here or replacements keep coming in. I have never seen anything like this. There are a lot of potential buyers for Key West properties waiting for something nice to buy. I have just the place you may be looking for.    OPEN HOUSE SUNDAY November 14 12:00 to 2:00  1621 Sunshine DriveOffered at $1,300,000 by Preferred Properties Key WestGary Thomas, REALTOR, Listing Agent It could be YOUR HOME by Christmas!     
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Just Listed by yours truly: 1621 Sunshine Drive, Key West. This is a Two Story Three Bedroom / Three Bath 1,672 Square Foot Home built new in 2012. It is located two blocks from the White Street Pier and the Atlantic Beaches.   But you won't need to go to the beach because you have your own heated pool and tropical garden located right outside your living room or which can be viewed from the deck off your second floor master bedroom.  There is more to this home than its excellent location and heated pool with tropical gardens. Let's take a look starting from the front door.The house has Hardie Board Siding and Wind Impact Resistant Doors and Windows. The front and rear porches and decks were recently replaced with Lumberrock Premium Decking. The home was recently painted as well.   A gu...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
All I can say is that I am waiting patiently by my computer for photos from the photographer. I will post them to the new listing, and the listing will appear like magic in tomorrow's blog. The three bedroom / three back house has a heated pool, two off street parking spaces, great location, and will be priced to sell quickly. It won't arrive early. It wont be late. It will be on Open House on Sunday beginning at !2:00 and close at 2:00.  Don't call me now because I can't reveal anything else. Can't show early either.  
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Just Listed: 809 Washington Street #102, Key West, Florida. I have sold four units in this nine unit town home development located in the tony Casa Marina Area of Key West. I have lived in the Casa Marina Ares for 27 years and love it. We are close to just about everything that Key West has to offer but far enough removed not to be in all the hullabaloo except when we want to be. The listing Realtor describes this 1800 sq ft town home this way:   Located in the much sought after Casa Marina neighborhood and set back from the street with mature tropical landscaping, is a well maintained townhome with 3 en-suite bedrooms and a well appointed powder room on the main floor. Custom finishes throughout with Carlisle wood flooring. The kitchen consists of stainless steel appliances and granit...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 A loyal reader of my blog sent me a text on Friday asking if the Hilton Garden Inn had sold recently. I knew no sale went through the Key West MLS but decided to search the Monroe County Property records. And there it was: the hotel  sold on October 12, 2021 for $58,000,000. The buyer is a new LLC under BLACKSTONE REAL ESTATE in New York City. BLACKSTONE purchased a smaller neighboring property for an additional $5,000,000 on the same day. As I said these sales were not reported in the Key West MLS Readers of my blog will recall I started posting photos of the renovation of North Roosevelt Boulevard in 2013 which included the former Holiday Inn. When the building was renovated and expanded the property was rebranded as Hilton Garden Inn. Other 1970 hotels and motels were each renovated...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
A decade ago I sold one of my favorite homes in Key West to a lovely couple from the Midwest. They looked at houses for a couple of years during and after the Great Recession in 2008. They had cash to buy the perfect or imperfect house. They chose the latter. They engaged a premiere architect and builder and rebuilt their dream house. They added one of those new-fangled tv cameras to the front porch which allowed them to watch Key West in real time from their place up north.    The gentleman owner looked like Mr. Wilson from the Dennis the Menace tv show from the 1960s except he was a soft-spoken man - not one to get prissy about anything like Mr. Wilson.  My owner had true Midwest values but appreciated the quirky Key West lifestyle. To a point. He had a Rule, however: Thou Shall Not S...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Yesterday I blogged about the sale of an empty lot in the tony Casa Marina Area of Key West. Astounding price. Two days on the market. Later in the day a fellow Realtor listed a small guest house near my office for over $6 million. Bonkers Asking Price or so I thought. We shall see what happens to that. Shortly after seeing the listing post in the MLS I saw a transaction hit the Monroe County Clerk of Court Record in the DEEDS section. Two guest houses located on Duval Street sold to one buyer. First, let's look at what they were.1317 Duval Street over the yearsGuest cabinsCasa Blano ApartmentsStill apartments in 1973. Image by Edwin O.Swift IIIMost recently Avalon Guest House1012 Duval StreetPhoto from the mid 1960s. From 2009 1012 Duval Gardens Hotel  Current Duval Gardens Hotel Okay,...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
I blogged about 1420 Whalton Street a couple of times over the past five years. It was a mid-century house located in one of the best locations in Key West. I showed the place to several people who hemmed and hawed. They had reservations. I told them to buy it, rent it, and bank the place. I said it would only go up in value. I was told that the guy that owns the house across the street bought it to prevent someone from building a monster house on the lot. He paid $1,182,747 or $277 per sq ft in March 2020. Then he took the house down, filled in the pool, and put up a fence to keep people out. I was in Colorado on September 20th of this year when the new owner listed this same lot for sale at $1,450,000. I planned to call the listing agent up to discuss blogging about the property. I th...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
Above photo taken October 24, 2014 across the street from Bourbon Street Pub. That's somebody's mother. It has nothing to do with real estate. Just wanted to post it in remembrance of that day. I started today's blog on February 14, 2011 but did not post it. I found it while searching the word "auction" because today, October 28th, is the anniversary of the day I purchased my first property in Key West. Take a brief read. What I wrote then is playing again.  I hosted an Open House yesterday. Quite successful, in fact. I had 107 plus people.I got so busy I lost track while talking to potential buyers. I kept hearing similar remarks about how much the market has recovered and how much so many people want to buy a place here. There were, of course, the neighbors and lookie-loos who show up...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  901 Elizabeth Street is located in the X Flood Zone near the tippy Top of of the Island of Key West. In fact the top spot is located just one block north and was once called Buzzards Roost. The present house replaced an earlier building identified as MEAT that appeared in the 1892 Sanborn Fire Map when it was identified as 437 Olivia Street. A new house of different size and location on the lot appeared in the 1892 map. The address was changed to 901 Elizabeth Street on the 1899 map. The aerial photo above shows a carport on the right side of the 7,100 Square Foot Lot (100 feet on Elizabeth Street by 71 feet on Olivia Street). The house three fairly good size porches on the south, west, and north facing sides. There are two additions to the original square house. The single family hou...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 Do you recognize this Key West location? If you are a local or returning visitor to Key West you probably have walked or driven by it many times. The two buildings in the rear are your clue. If you are a Keywester in your late 70s you might be one of the children. The dark areas of the map show the breadth of the destruction caused by the Great Fire of 1886.  I found some photos on the Monroe County Library website which show how the parking lot behind the children came  to be - FIRE. Not the Great Fire of 1886 that destroyed so many homes and buildings but the one that took down the First Baptist Church and torched two homes across Eaton Street.   The ground breaking for the Masonic Temple at 535 Eaton Street in July 1950. Photo by Key West Photo Service. The Masonic Temple at 535 Eat...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
  Long time readers of my real estate blog know how much I value photos to help add meaning to my posts. I confess I watch repeat episodes of The Three Stooges. I watched the shows as a kid and as an adult. Some are funny. Some are hysterical. And the short entitled Dutiful But Dumb (1941) are prophetic so much so that I stopped eating dinner on Saturday to pen this piece. The episode was described this way in The Three Stooges Online Filmography: Three dimwitted photographers are sent to Vulgaria to take pictures of a new death ray machine. Unknown to the stooges, the penalty for snapping pictures in this country is death. The stooges manage to escape a firing squad and the chase begins as they hide from the Vulgarian army. As I watched the stooges get into trouble with the police for ...
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By Gary Thomas, Realtor to the Dreamers
(Preferred Properties Key West)
 I was rummaging around my old shoebox and found some photos of the old Albury House on Southard Street. The house was purchased over a decade ago but it still seems like it was only a couple of years. It is absolutely perfect now. But it was totally different in 2009 when I took these photos. Enjoy.             The back side of the house looked like it might fall off. It didn't. A pool would be built in the open space. The old kitchen was made new with doors that open wide to view the pool. But back 2009 kitchen was but a wreck of a relic. And that is why this house was so incredible before it was made perfect.  I sell houses to rich people because nobody else can afford them.   
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