Key West, Florida, is quite certainly a popular place for people to live and to visit. After all, the area is known for having terrific weather and being a prime location to soak of the sun and to relax. In this delightful community, the real estate on the island has an interesting history and is a popular place to live.
Initially, Key West was known as an area had a vast amount of salt ponds and was a popular place for fishing. Europeans, such as people from Spain and England, along with Native Americans lived in the area. In the 1800’s, the land was purchased by John Simonton, who divided it into four sections and sold three of them to three separate parties. Each individual played a part in the growth and development of the area and are known to local historians as the “founding fathers.” As people moved into the area, salt ponds were filled in to the end that people had more real estate options when looking at constructing a home or a business.
For many years, the United States military has had a presence on the island. Naval ships port in the area and pilots receive excellent training for future missions. In the 1820’s, Fort Taylor was constructed to provide a military presence in the region. Since that time, area was seen for being a strategic place to be. When the United States became involved in World War II, the military increased the amount of acreage it had and is now at about 3,000 acres. Although the military does have a presence on the island, it is not a domineering one and locals and service men and women coexist well.
In addition to the naval presence on the island, there is another type of presence that has impacted real estate in various economic areas and that is cruise ships. Each year, a large number of passengers from cruise ships arrive at one of three piers and inundate the community with cash, curiosity and the desire to have fun. Real estate around the piers has increased dramatically since the first cruise ship arrived in 1969. Locals have welcomed the visitors and have provided a number of shops, restaurants and attractions for people to see and do.
To some historians, each town or community has a historic place or district that features classic buildings, a terrific atmosphere and valuable real estate. All these are found in the Key West Historic District. This district, which is known to some as Old Town, has over 2,400 buildings that are historic and have been preserved from being destroyed. The fact of the matter is that the district encompasses nearly half of the island. The area is a terrific place to soak in the culture and to experience life from a unique perspective. Some new residents and visitors believe they have stepped back in time since many buildings have been preserved.
Popular real estate that people visit in the Key West Historic District include museums such as the Mel Fish Maritime Heritage Museum and the Audubon House & Tropical Gardens. In fact, the latter was the first home that was saved from demolition and became a catalyst for saving other homes and buildings in the district. Another popular spot in the district is the Mallory Square. Located to one of the piers in which cruise ship passengers frequent, it is a tremendous place to visit shops and restaurants. This prime real estate place is ideal for events. In fact, one of the biggest ones is Sunset Celebration. There are a number of local performers each evening that come to the celebration as people watch the sunset against the backdrop of the Gulf of Mexico. Performers include Reid, the Rick and Jan Variety show, Mustafa, Dennis Riley, Bible Bill and Will Soto. In addition to this, there are plenty of food vendors who sell food such as hot dogs, popcorn, seafood and smoothies. Artists offer wares such as paintings and crafts for people to purchase.
Another popular place for real estate is New Town. It is a commercial area that features newer buildings as compared to Old Town. There are plenty of local shops and businesses that have wares for people of all ages. It is a popular place for young adults and teenagers to frequent as well as adults. Furthermore, there are some fine restaurants in the area as well that highlight local cuisine and seafood.
Housing has always been in demand in Key West. Since the island itself is four miles long and two miles wide, space it at a premium. With the limited amount of space, new buildings are slowly being built. However, there are some great homes that are all across the island. Families and couples have plenty of real estate from which to choose. Over half of the homes that are available to be purchased were built in the past 20 years. Over the years, houses built on the island have received better hurricane protection and are equipped to withstand hurricane-force winds. A large majority of home have at least two bathrooms and two bedrooms. A number of older homes that are for sale have received renovations and can be perfect for some people. Condominiums have certainly become popular within the last 15 years and there are some excellent ones from which to choose that feature open kitchens, large bathrooms and comfortable bedrooms.
People who are looking at real estate in Key West will find that there are commercial and residential sites to be purchased. The military presence on the island has enhanced the property values and has provided jobs to the community. Besides this, cruise ships play a vital role in keeping shops and restaurants busy during many times of the year. Furthermore, the economy is vibrant as visitors and residents shop and enjoy life in the community. It is not a surprise that the island is a great place in which to be.