One of the enduring scars of 2017’s Hurricane Irma is no more in Marathon. When the storm ripped through the Keys, it tore the roof off Nick’s Gym located just west of Vaca Cut. And so it sat and sat and sat. 

“I live across the street. Every time I pulled out onto the road, I had to look at it,” said Andrew George of Design Center, a general contracting and engineering firm. “Once I was in a meeting with City of Marathon officials and I said, ‘Someone needs to buy that and fix it.’ And they said, ‘Maybe you should do it.’”

And so George did. Although he’s constructed commercial buildings for other businesses in the Keys, this is his first private endeavor. The 6,800-square-foot building has been configured into six units and christened Marathon Plaza. 

George said he bought the property for $535,000 and invested about $800,000 in the rebuild. The project took about 8 months to complete. Fun fact: Marooned in Marathon, a souvenir and gift shop next to the former Nick’s Gym, was spared by Hurricane Irma and continued to operate out of the location next door for years. Marooned in Marathon has since relocated to Town Square Mall and has a second location across Overseas Highway from Key Colony Beach.

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