duck key

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys



























NAME CHANGE - The appostrophe in red above has being eliminated.

Previously it was reported that the owners of the resort were considering changing the name of the resort.

In a March 5, 2007 article, of Travel Agent written by Joe Pike we learn that "Simon Hallgarten, partner in Northview, says Northview will manage Hawk's Cay and is still deciding whether or not to re-name the well-known Florida resort."

"There's part of us that thinks we shouldn't change the name of something that is already well-known, already has a loyal following," he says. "And there's also a part of us that thinks since this is practically going to be a totally new product, we should give it a new name. We'll have to wait and see."

For twenty-five years the resort has utilized the name Hawk's Cay Resort. This use of a singular possessive identified the resort as the Cay of the Hawk.

Without an approstrophe as in "Hawks Cay Resort" the spelling would suggest treatment as an attributive; that is, "Hawks" functions as an adjective rather than as a noun in the possessive case.



Recently a large informational display was posted at the resort marina which show a new hawk logo with the words "Hawks Cay" without the approstrophe.

Also flag poles can be seen along the marina docks displaying the resort's new logo without the approstrophe.

The resort's computer screens and new website also have the logo spelling.

The missing approstrope in the new logo may be a design change as logo designers often feel omitting the apostrophe leads to a cleaner look. Possibly the resort has omitted the appostrophe because it views "Hawks Cay" as a proper corporate name. The spelling of possessives in corporate names is inconsistent. The corporation, Starbucks Coffee Company, does not use an appostrophe while McDonald's does. Mariners Hospital does not use an appostrophe, but Fishermen's Hospital and the Mariner's Club do.

It seems the new owners have chosen to change the name to Hawks Cay.

Interestingly, old grammar books say that only humans can possess something, so that phrases such as "Hawk's Cay" would have to be written "cay of the hawk".

More recent grammar authorities say that possession can also include animate beings, inanimate objects (table's legs or the vehicle’s speed), or ideas.  

What has Hawks Cay management done with Harbour Island?

The new Hawks Cay is offering "A Magnificent and Rejuvenating Island Escape in the Florida Keys, but residents of Harbour Island will be horrified to learn that Hawks Cay's concept of our island no longer includes Harbour Island. The picture of Duck Key on the Hawks Cay website does not show Harbour Island. Harbour Island has been Photoshopped out. Also gone are Utility Island and the Tom's Harbour Islands. Some might argue that Utility island with its sewage treatment plant won't be missed, but the residents of Harbour Island ought to be offended that their island has been eliminated.



Below is a picture of Duck Key with Harbour Island visible. Note that in this image a part of Indies Island seems to have gone missing.


Is Duck Key pretty much owned by Hawks Cay?

The website,, has this to say

"The Florida Keys are a string of islands . . . . There are hundreds of keys, or islands, in the chain. Some are inhabited . . . others are remote and totally wild. Some are large, . . . some . . . you hardly notice . . . .
Some of the keys are dominated by resorts that own the whole island, or most of it. Take Duck Key, for example, which is pretty much owned by Hawk's Cay Resort. The entrance to the island is surrounded by a large gateway, with the words Hawk's Cay written in stone." is wrong.

Hawk's Cay owns about 30 acres and currently represents a value of approximately $110,000,000. (This valuation may be raised by tens of millions as word has it that the estimated 30 million budgeted for renovation was way too low.) The villa owners of Hawk's Cay Village together with several condominiums and smaller properties own over 30 acres of land and represent about $260,000,000 in value. The approximately 400 homes plus vacant land on the residential portion of Duck Key utilize several hundred acres of land all of which is valued at many hundreds of millions of dollars.

A few years back at the request of residents the resort made the words "Duck Key" more prominent on the gateway wall to Duck Key. The gateway and property it sits on are owned by the State of Florida. Hawk's Cay and villa owner properties actually begin south of the causeway bridge.


Renovation costs - higher and higher

Published figures for the cost of renovation keep changing. Early on the Keynoter published a figure of $27,000,000 set aside for renovation of Hawks Cay.

The Northview Hotel Group website,, writes "During 2007 and into the first quarter of 2008, Northview is overseeing a $30m renovation of the resort,. . ."

A press release from a "division of Open Hospitality, announced an agreement with Northview Hotel Group's Hawks Cay Resort to create and host a new suite of websites. The new portal is part of a $35 million luxury renovation and February 2008 brand re-launch for the comprehensive upscale destination, which has joined the Preferred Hotels portfolio."

An article on dated January 30, 2008 stated, "Where to stay: These sleepy islands host few hotels - though Hawks Cay resort is a lovely exception. Situated on Duck Key, the resort just completed a $40 million overhaul. Post-renovation rates start at $275 - at least $100 less than comparable resorts in Key West."

Hawks Cay Opening 2008

Parts of the Hawks Cay Inn will be opening at different dates. Common areas such as the new pool and lagoon together with the lobby will open first during the month of February 2008. Some rooms in one of the wings will become available also in February 2008. Additional wings will become available between March and May of 2008.

The Inn facilities have undergone MAJOR renovation with wing interiors gutted and completely rebuilt. Plumbing, electrical, heating and air-conditioning, boilers, communications' wiring are all new. Huge emergency generators have been installed. Extensive landscaping is part of the renovation. Did you know the old Indies Inn had no heat and during cold spells portable space heaters would be provided.


Villa Renovations

Villa owners who will participate in the resort's Hawk's Cay rental program will need to upgrade to standards set by Preferred Resorts and Hotels which Hawks Cay is now associated with. Estimated costs to upgrade villa units with new furniture, stainless steel appliances, flat screen TVs, curtains and other soft goods, artwork, granite counters, bathrooms upgrades, new outdoor furniture, and paint, range between $50,000 to $70,000. Units have been evaluated with the goal of uniformity. One cottage sized villa which was decorated professionally is beautiful, but did not match the hotel "look". The unhappy owner was told by management it would cost $111,000 for them to bring it into conformity.

Villa owners have expressed concern about the return on this additional investment. Owners must pay Hawks cay Village Association maintenance fees, Monroe County taxes, utilities costs, and the cost of any mortgage they carry. The percentage return on villa rentals together with villa expenses in many instances exceeds income which means owners are experiencing a negative cash flow. Additionally under the current real estate market property villa values have declined. A number of villas have sold for less than cost and word has it that more than ten villas are in preforeclosures.


Duck Key Villas

Villa owners can elect to make minimum renovations and not be part of the Prefered Program can participate in resort's Duck Key Villa rental program. Such villas will not be associated with the Preferred Brand and will not be made available through the Hawks Cay website nor advertized as such. Units designated as a "Duck Key Villa" will be available through internet travel sites such as, Guests booking accommodation through these sites will have acccess to all resort amenities, pools etc.


An Independent Hawk's Cay Rental Association Group Is Formed

The Hawk's Cay Rental Association (HCRA) was formed some many months ago by a group of villa owners to negotiate with the new Hawk's Cay Resort management (Northview Hotel Group and Behringer Harvard ) and to provide information to villa owners as to options available to them.

Many villa owners feel that Northview, et al. should have dealt with them early on and not just negotiated with the hotel since it is the villas that produce a considerable revenue stream with limited expense to Resort ownership. They argue that 300 villas represent equity of more $210,000,000. Some owners are of the opinion that the distribution of the revenue stream produced by the villas is not consistent with villa owners' equity investment and expenses.

A number of villa owners had expressed dissatisfaction with the provisions of rental contract offered by Northview Hotel management, and were of the opinion they were not being treated fairly. The new rental contract has been revised many times through negotiations.

One option HCRA is offering villa owners who choose not to be a part of the resort's Preferred rental program is a rental package with Keys Caribbean. Occupants of villas renting through Keys Caribbean understandably will not have access to resort pools and the lagoon so the HCRA hopes to provide an alternate facility with a spa and pool as well as a registration office for guests. Rates for villas would be less than what Resort charges.
The Hawk’s Cay Villa Owners' Rental Association (HCRA) plans to provide its membership and rental guests with a Swimming Pool, Tiki Bar, Dock, and possible a Fitness Room, and Spa Treatment Room to be located at Villa Jamaica..

The cottage building known to Duck Key residents as Villa Jamaica and located on the corner of Greenbriar and Duck Key Drive has been purchased by an investor. In addition to a planned pool facility, the building will be used as a Rental Office Reception Center for guests booking lodging through Keys Caribbean.


Porch View of Villa Jamaica on Greenbriar Road.


The Resort Rental Program - Northview Hotel Group

The new owners of Hawk's Cay envision a resort with a 4 or 5 star rating. In conjunction with renovation of the indies Inn, resort ownership wants villa owners to upgrade their units. Owners of villas who elect to participate in the Northview rental program rather than the Keys Caribbean Program must spend $50,000 or more to upgrade their units to Preferred status. One of the sticking points villa owners had with the projected upgrade cost is that it includes a sizeable management fee for overseeing unit upgrades. A number of villa owners expressed the opinion that the fee was excessive.

Should an owner not upgrade a villa it will not be part of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts program. As of 1/2008 the only villas in the Preferred Category are those located in the Santuary area.

Villas not upgraded to Preferred status may however rent at a lesser rate through an alternate Duck Key villa program which will be advertised and marketed differently through the internet.

To recap villa owners will have three options

1. Renting through Hawks Cay as a Preferred Hotel and Resort facility,

2. Renting through an alternate Hawks Cay Duck Key villa program not associated with Preferred Hotel and Resorts.

3. Or renting through a different entity - Keys Caribbean as part of Hawk's Cay Rental Association group.



Earlier is was reported that Hawk's Cay was purchased for 78 million dollars. An early report spoke of $27,000,000 additional in costs for renovations. A more recent figure published was $35,000,000. Word has it that the 35 million estimate has been exceeded considerably.

The law firm Jones Day reported that they represented Behringer Harvard in the Hawk's Cay Resort and Marina Acquisition and Financing. "Formation of two joint ventures, due diligence and $101.8 million financing related to the acquisition of a Hawk's Cay Resort and Marina in Florida." February 2007




The resort is working hard to complete the Indies Inn facility by February 1, 2007. Double shifts, work on weekends and some folks even worked on Christmas Day. Machinery starts up at 7 AM and sometimes earlier. Safety horns of heavy equipment backing up, as well as the engines of digging and backhoe equipment can be heard in the early morning and through most of the day.

In a response to an email inquiry about the noise, Ronda L. Norman, CPM, Sr. Director, Code Enforcement, Monroe County Code Enforcement wrote

"I can not prevent trucks from entering or operating on the premises but actual construction may not start until 8:00AM and may continue until 10PM nightly. Weekends hours are until 11PM. While the code does not specifically address construction noise it does say “unreasonable noise”. I am happy to contact the Contractor and advise him/her of the complaints I have received. I am sure they want to be “good neighbors” and may not be aware of the hours of construction. I have attached a copy of the definition of unreasonable noise and the ordinance."

Ronda L. Norman, CPM, Sr. Director, Code Enforcement. 2798 Overseas Highway #400, Marathon, FL. 33050, Office 305-289-2810, Fax 305-289-2536,


Sec. 13-52. Definitions.
[As used in this chapter, the following terms and phrases, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:]

Customary sleeping hours shall mean the period of time commencing at 10:00 p.m. and ending at 8:00 a.m. the following morning, except that on Friday and Saturday nights, the period shall commence at 11:00 p.m. rather than 10:00 p.m. On the New Year's Eve holiday, the period shall not commence until 1:00 a.m. on January 1.

Emergency or emergency work shall mean any occurrence or set of circumstances involving or creating actual or imminent physical trauma or property damage which demands immediate attention.

Person shall mean any individual, entity, association, corporation, or partnership, including any officer, employee, department, agency, or instrumentality of the United States, a state, or any political subdivision or municipality.

Property boundary shall mean the imaginary line along the surface, and its vertical plane extension, which separates the real property owned, rented, or leased by one (1) person from that owned, rented, or leased by another person.

Public right-of-way shall mean any street, avenue, boulevard, lane, highway, sidewalk, alley, or similar place normally accessible to the public which is owned or controlled by a governmental entity or which has been dedicated to use or access for the benefit of the public or adjacent property owners.

Soundproof shall mean any physical arrangement or configuration of a building which is sufficient to prevent the sound of live entertainment or amplified sound from constituting unreasonable noise within any residence or residential property, or from any other nonresidential establishment more than two hundred (200) feet away from a property boundary of the sound source.

Unreasonable noise shall mean:
(1) Any noise of which with the exercise of reasonable care, the maker or operator should know is loud and raucous due to its volume, character, duration, time of occurrence, or the number of persons affected, regardless of its source or content; or
(2) Any noise which equals or exceeds a measured sound level of sixty (60) dBA for more than ten (10) percent of any measurement period which shall not be less than ten (10) minutes when measured at or beyond any property boundary of the sound source.
(Ord. No. 32-2000, § 3; Ord. No. 2-2001, § 2)

Sec. 13-53. Prohibition against unreasonable noise; soundproofing requirement.
(a) No person shall make, continue, or cause to be made any unreasonable noise.
(b) If a complaint arises from a multi-story structure, the determination of whether such sound constitutes unreasonable noise shall be made from a story height equal to that of the sound source.
(c) Any commercial structure or property that provides live entertainment or amplified sound, including any portable structure or vehicle of any type, shall be fully enclosed and soundproofed whenever such live entertainment or amplified sound is provided during customary sleeping hours. No person shall, during customary sleeping hours, make, continue or cause to be made any live entertainment or amplified sound in or on such commercial structure or property except within a fully enclosed and sound proofed structure. The occasional escape of noise resulting from the opening of access doors is expected and the brief period of noise therefrom shall not constitute a per se violation of this subsection, but if escape noise is unreasonable noise, it shall constitute a violation of subsection (a).
(Ord. No. 32-2000, § 3; Ord. No. 2-2001, § 1)

Sec. 13-54. Emergency exception.
The provisions of this article shall not apply to the emission of sound for the purpose of alerting persons to the existence of an emergency or emergency vehicle or the performance of emergency work.
(Ord. No. 32-2000, § 3)

Northview Hotel Group a Finalist for ALIS award -

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Northview Hotel Group along with partners Behringer Harvard and Five Star Realty Partners has been nominated for the prestigious ALIS award category of Single Asset Transaction of the Year 2007. The award will be presented to the winner during the 2008 Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS) conference, January 28-30, 2008. "Nominees are considered for the honor based on outstanding business performance in various industry sectors."

"Executives and companies responsible for the most influential hospitality industry developments in 2007 have been nominated . . . ."

What made them a Nominee? The purchase by The Northview Hotel Group, Five Star Realty Partners and Behringer Harvard of the 177-room Hawk's Cay Resort , which included management of 250 privately-owned villas participating in the Resort's Rental Management Program, for $79 million from Barrington Heritage, LLC

The ALIS Website at


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