The Stock Island gentrification news is all focused at the moment on the new Ocean Edge Hotel at the former Oceanside Marina which has been made to vanish to be replaced by this:
from the Web
However the new Pritam Singh resort is under fire as the owner has rented an apartment on his own property to gain standing to sue some other apartment owners who are renting out their units illegally and wrecking his peace and quiet. In the course of the suit it apparently came to light that the hotel has a lot more rooms than it has permits and the county is investigating that little problem. It's hard to imagine anything will come of it, as Singh is very wealthy, but they are making a show in the county offices.
Around the other side of the island on Shrimp Road another large luxury hotel is taking shape at the Village Marina complex.
This is much more low key so far, no lawsuits, no anger, just steady building.
It's all part of the changes that are finally coming to Stock Island after years of threatneing gentrification. It would have been silly to assume that the crash of 2008 killed off all plans, it just slowed them down.
The problem with all this change is as usual the displacement of people who do the work. As it is hotels closer to Miami, in the Islamorada area for instance get their workers on buses from Homestead, commuting back and forth for hours for the chance of a better paid job in the luxurious end of the Keys.
Around here some hotels are considering employee bedrooms in their buildings, but the commute to Big Pine Key, 30 miles from Key West, once unthinkable is now commonplace.
Stock Island will have to clean up to attract tourists but that will be just part of the master plan I am sure. The duty old trailers that house the Cubans and the Haitians who wash dishes and clean rooms and tidy gardens will disappear and those lives will be upended and I suppose sent to the mainland to find other work.
This can't last, and as the hotels in Key West keep drawing people it makes sense to those who need to keep expanding to do their expansion here.
I can't say I particularly like Stock Island the way it is. But there again it's nothing to do with me. I don't like the chaos and garbage everywhere. The problem for me is that when clean up happens it tends to go too far in the opposite direction, that of a certain sterility in conformity. And to me that is worse...so when it comes to the run down nature of Stock Island, on balance I'd rather they left it alone.