As recently as five years ago, plenty of Key Westers still had to ask directions to Stock Island’s Shrimp Road, or at least give the destination some thought before turning onto either Cross Street or MacDonald Avenue after crossing Cow Key Bridge.
“Is that the road that runs along that park on Stock Island?”
“That’s the road that Robbie’s Marina is on, right, way at the end around the sharp curve?”
That’s the place. And Robbie’s Marina is still at the very end. But along the stretch preceding that sharp turn, sprawling additions and insightful development are changing the future of Stock Island by celebrating its past.
The creators of the still-emerging Stock Island Marina Village value authenticity over artificiality, and have designed a development that follows the vision of co-owner Matt Strunk, who envisioned more than mega-yachts and hotel suites.
“Why not an inclusive marina built to support the existing working waterfront, along with land-based accommodations and experiences that promote the authenticity of Stock Island as the backbone of Key West?” he asked his business Don Foss, who agreed.
Yes, Stock Island Marina Village features an upscale, state-of-the-art marina that can accommodate yachts up to 300 feet. But in building that marina, the developers didn’t simply rid the area of the hard-working liveaboard residents who lived on boats in the area.
Instead, Strunk and Foss built a new liveaboard pier, named it Coconut Row and provided each slip with an outdoor patio space. Instead of saying “no pets,” they included a community dog park in the development’s design. They also added a colorful hammock park.
The developers are wrapping up Phase 3 of their vision. First came the marina and then the adjacent Perry Hotel with its pool and two restaurants and bars.
Phase 3 stretches farther down the seawall and includes the construction of the final 46 boat slips, the addition of an event lawn and local-friendly pool, and the opening of the new Barrel House barbecue restaurant and bar. The third of four construction phases also includes retail storefront spaces that will open in February, a 70-person meeting room and a distillery that will produce private-label rum for the resort.
“This area down here with the locals’ pool, the Barrel House and event lawn, this is a community facility, and the owners really want it to be active all the time,” said Jenny Lorenz, complex marketing director. “We really want the community to know it’s here and use it. We envision this to be like one of those marina towns in other cities, where long-term residents and visitors can get anything they need and entertain themselves right here on the property.”
The fourth and final phase of Stock Island Marina Village will include another hotel and workforce housing. At least 50% of the workforce units will be reserved for employees of the resort and marina development, Lorenz said.