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Duck Key in the Florida Keys

An Information Guide to Duck Key in the Florida Keys


 

 

 

 

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Duck Key Island Growth

 
Bryan Newkirk, developer of Duck Key

Bryan Newkirk

Duck Key Growth

Much of the history of Duck Key revolves around developer, Bryan Newkirk and subsequent developers of the island resort and residential community.

 Newkirk bought Duck Key, which he described as a " a jumble of swamp and mahogany trees ", during a golf game with Coral Gables City Attorney Ted Semple for $47,000. "To get around the course before dark, I told him to quit talking about (Duck Key) and I'd buy it sight unseen," Mr. Newkirk said in a 1959 story in the Miami Herald.

By 1956 Mr. Newkirk and his partners pumped $2 million and several billion cubic yards of fill onto the Duck Key site, creating four islands and four miles of canals. Newkirk went on to build the Indies Inn and began development of the residential portion of the island.

Mr. Newkirk planned on making Duck Key into the most luxurious of resorts and prestigious residential areas in the Americas. It would be the most deluxe, most exclusive retreat in the world for those yachting and boating fanciers whose business and financial business success permitted them to afford it.

"Duck Key is the same size as Prince Ranier's kingdom of Monaco," touring guests were told.

Duck Key and the Indies Inn became the place in the Florida Keys to which people wanted to go, and it has remained that way ever since.

Over the years facilities have been enlarged and additions have included a marina, convention facilities, and a luxurious restaurant.
(
See Historic Highlights)(See Botels)

Pampano Beach Barrington Group

In 1983 the resort was bought by the Pampano Beach Barrington Group. Extensive renovation and landscaping were completed and the resort opened as the Hawk's Cay Resort and Marina. The new owners maintained the island's "West Indies" feel and further enhanced the resort's tropical decor and plantation-like setting. New facilities were added.

Four pools, the Indies Club Building, many new recreational amenities and a new conference center were added during the period 1998 and 2000.

High Rises and Condominiums

The 2, 3 and 4 story condominium buildings visible on Duck Key were constructed by different developers. The two story flat roofed condominiums were built prior to 1982. The taller condominums located on property facing the Hawk's Cay Marina and referred to as the Marina Villas were built by the Barrington Group.

The Singh Company

Between 1996 and summer of 2000 resort property experienced a new phase of expansion , Hawk's Cay Village, built by The Singh Company. The Village added several hundred West Indian-style vacation rental homes added to the island's rental inventory inventory. The Singh Company's conch style cottages with water views, shaded porches, and white picket fence charm were in keeping with the resort's tropical theme.

Residential Islands - Home Building

Original Homes

After completion of the Indies Inn, Newkirk started building homes. The first five homes were completed in 1963. The five homes which exist today were built prior to deed restrictions and have similar Caribbean style with Cuban tile floors and roofs. They also had swimming pools and carports.
(
See Duck Key Architecture)

Elevated Houses

The land zoned for residential use on Duck Key has changed ownership a number of times since the days of Bryan Newkirk. Parcels have been sold off to many different entities and construction done by any number of builder contractors.

Most homes on Duck Key are elevated on stilts. This raised building took place from the 70s to present to satisfy Federal laws and local building codes enacted because of flood surges associated with hurricanes. Subsequent changes in the law allowed home owners to enclosed this lower portion provided the space is only used for storage. In recent years the elevation requirement has lessened with new data for the 100 year flood plain average and many new homes have living space closer to the ground .

Due to limitations of building permits and the scarcity of waterfront lots on Duck Key, recent trends show increased building on interior " dry " lots and the purchase of existing older waterfront homes for extensive remodeling.

The are currently about 350 homes on Duck Key.

  

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