Thursday, May 28, 2009

Down She Goes!!!! The Vandenberg is the newest Keys Reef

Well, it's been hotly contested issue regarding the pros and cons of scuttling what is now the world's 2nd largest intentionally sunken artificial reef, but yesterday, it finally happened. The USAFS Vandenberg now lies 6 1/2 miles off Key West, poised to be a international draw for divers and anglers alike.

Now, I understand and respect both sides of the argument. From an economic stand point, many feel that the $8Million + that the project cost to taxpayers was astronomical and not in their best interest, as well as the ongoing debate as whether these artificially reefs may actually be harmful to sealife in the long run are both valid points close to detractors' hearts.

In the end though, I side with proponents of the Key's newest attraction and here is why:

  1. As many dive enthusiasts will quickly tell you, the lower keys and Key west in particular are severely lacking in quality dive sites, especially wreck sites.

  2. The Keys will now boast 2 of the 3 largest intentionally sunk wreck reefs with the Vandenberg and the Spiegal Grove in Key Largo as numbers 2 and 3 respectively.

  3. This now completes "The Chain of Wrecks" a new Marketing attraction promoting some of the World's finest wreck diving with a chain of wrecks spanning over 100 miles from North Key Largo to now just off Key West.

  4. With the economy just reeking havoc to the Key's Tourism base, as well as the immense revenue lost as a result of The Cheeca Lodge's fire and subsequent long term closure and loss of their affluent clientele, the Keys desperately are in need of a major buzz-worthy Tourist draw.

  5. As this was sunk in May, this will, as well, bolster what is normally the Key's "Off Season" for tourism and will give many local South Floridians a reason for a "Staycation".

These are just some of the reasons that I am excited the Vandenberg. Below is a video of yesterday's pitch perfect sinking.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

The Conchquistador Deal of the Day 5/18/2009

Here is yet another example of the drop in the market and the buying opportunities that exist in the Keys.
Today's Deal is situated on stunning Blackwater Sound and about a mile and a half from Adams Cut which links the Bayside Waterways to the Ocean Waterways, this dream home is certainly a prize for the new Buyers.
Originally listed for over $3.6M, it has now sold for $1.9M!

29 Bay Drive Key Largo
List price: $2,495,000 - Sold Price: $1,900,000
Original Price: $3,695,000 - Mile Marker: 103
5 Bedrooms/ 4 baths - Lot Size 15,268 sf

Description: BRING ALL YOUR BOATS! Custom-built bayfront masterpiece with magnificent bay views from every room. 60 ft. dock in boat basin plus pier dock into the Bay. Hardie Board exterior, metal roof. Spacious gazebo at water's edge. Swim at the private, sandy beach. 2 master suites, one on each level. Soaring ceilings, Florida pine floors; granite counters in kitchen. Victorian accents & open porches abound.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Key Largo Singers and Songwriters Festival

As a former singer and songwriter in my younger days, I LOVE live music. Be sure to catch some amazing local talent throughout the month of May with the Key Largo Singers and Songwriters Festival.
Who knows....maybe the next Jimmy Buffet awaits....

Click here for more Information on scheduled artists and locations.

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Jewfish Creek Bridge run set for fall

I am so excited to participate in the inaugural run across the new Jewfish Creek Bridge!!
I plan on running it with my 70 year old Dad, just as we did in the inaugural 7-mile bridge run in 1982!! This will be his 515th road race and he is retiring his running shoes after this one.
Organizers are planning a 5K run, which we are doing and a 1/2 Marathon as well.
What an incredible view to enjoy while running.
I saw this article in the site and wanted to share it for more detail on the run.

Jewfish Creek Bridge run set for fall
By STEVE GIBBS Citizen Staff
Organizers of a health expo and bridge run planned for the fall hope to draw 1,500 participants -- and lots of money for multiple charities that will benefit from the event.
The first Jewfish Creek Bridge run, set for Nov. 14, is expected to attract 1,000 runners for a half marathon, which is 13.1 miles, and another 500 runners for the 5K, which is 3.1 miles. The 65-foot-tall bridge is 1.5 miles long.
The cost is $70 for the half marathon and $35 for the 5K. Official timers will be on hand for the event, sanctioned by the U.S. Track Field Association. Runners will receive T-shirts and all finishers will receive a medal.
While the 5K course is northbound on U.S. 1 over the bridge and immediately back again, the half marathon course continues up to Manatee Bay Marina at the Monroe-Miami-Dade County line before turning around and heading back to the starting point. "The 5K might be the most demanding of the races, since runners have to cross the bridge twice in succession," said Candy Basilius, a Key Largo Baptist Church member who is helping to spearhead the event, in conjunction with TIB Bank and the Monroe County Tourist Development Council. "We're attempting to raise money for several different charities."
They include the church, Autism Society of the Keys, YMCA of Key Largo and Jacobs Aquatic Center.
Runners can register and pick up their packets the day before the race, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. at the free health expo at the Key Largo Holiday Inn. On race day, runners will gather on Reef Drive between the fire station and Circle K convenience store at Mile Marker 107. The race begins at 6:30 a.m.
The race will not affect southbound traffic on the 18 Mile Stretch. Northbound traffic will be routed to Card Sound Road.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Home sales up in first quarter, though prices stuck in 2004

Well, so that you can see it's not JUST me going on and on about the real estate market in the Keys and what great buying opportunities exist here, I am posting an article that was in this morning commenting on this very subject.
Inventory is high, very high, prices have plummeted, and cash is still cheap, so for those well qualified and astute Buyers, there are wonderful gems out there for the picking!

"Home sales up in first quarter, though prices stuck in 2004.
By ROBERT SILK Free Press Staff
MONROE COUNTY -- Real estate sales in the Keys were up in the first quarter of 2009, though prices continued to plummet.
A total of 278 properties were sold between Key West and mile marker 107 in Key Largo during the months of January though March, according to a Multiple Listing Service analysis prepared by Coldwell Banker Schmitt Real Estate Co. That's a 4 percent increase over the same period last year.
The first quarter increase is the first since 2004.
Though more properties were moving, the overall news remains bad for sellers. Prices declined 22 percent between the first quarter of 2008 compared with the same months this year. The average closing price of $494,000 per property is roughly at a par with early 2004, the Coldwell Banker analysis says. And though the total number of properties on the market has gone down a bit, there's still a 48-month inventory.
"The first quarter of 2009 is behind us and the results are bringing continuing good news for buyers and sobering news for sellers, at least for the balance of the year," Coldwell, Banker broker Brian Schmitt wrote in a synopsis of the current market.
The Coldwell Banker numbers differ somewhat from a second MLS analysis run by Tracy Larson of American Caribbean Real Estate and Marr Properties, which showed that 301 properties were sold Keyswide during the first quarter of the year. That search included the Ocean Reef Club and other properties north of mile marker 107.
But the main discrepancy between the two analyses was in the Lower Keys between Bay Point and Big Pine Key. There the Coldwell Banker analysis captured 57 sales while the American Caribbean analysis captured 75 sales.
The analyses also having varying sales prices figures. MLS statistics in the second report show an average Keyswide sales price of $464,000 per property, 6 percent lower than the Coldwell Banker report.
The MLS database does not include the sale of properties that weren't listed with a Realtor.
The Upper Keys fared worse than other areas of the archipelago in the first quarter, with both the number of sales and the average sales price plunging 19 percent year over year, according to the Coldwell Banker analyses.
In Key West prices dropped an even more robust 30 percent, but the low prices brought a boon to sales, which increased 27 percent.
Sales also increased in the Lower Keys, though they went down in the Middle Keys.
One possible reason the Upper Keys has yet to begin attracting more buyers is that prices remain higher than elsewhere in the county.
Of the 63 Upper Keys residences sold from January through March, the average closing price was $545,000, the American Caribbean analyses shows. In contrast, average sales prices in the Middle Keys, Lower Keys and Key West were between $478,000 and $484,000.
In a memo to sales associates, Schmitt of Coldwell Banker predicted that in the coming year low interest rates combined with low prices will continue to prop up sales. But he also predicted that high inventories and an increasing number of short and foreclosure sales will force prices down at a rate of 1 to 1 ¬½ percent for the rest of 2009.
"The problem for sellers is that this is a buyers market and buyers will continue to drive prices lower until the inventory is depleted from its present levels," Schmitt wrote."

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Conquistador Deal of the Day 5-4

From $829,900 to $310,000 !!!!!
This is the perfect illustration for what has happened in the real estate market and how opportunities abound for insightfull buyers.
This lakefront property in one of Key Largo's best neighborhoods, Buccaneer Point, was originally listed at $829,900. Now I'm not sure what type of hallucinogens the Owners and Broker were sampling at that time, but it was obviously priced way outside of market value. After several subsequent price reductions, it fell into foreclosure and now a very lucky and astute buyer has purchased it for $310,000, which for this neighborhood is a very good deal indeed. It shows that the further the pendulum swings it one direction, with time, the market brings it just as far back in the other direction.

34 N Bounty Lane, Key Largo
List Price: $309,900 - Sold Price: $310,000
Original List Price: $829,900
3 Bedrooms/2 Bathrooms
Mile Marker: 98
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