Hotel real estate boom in Miami Beach signals demand for the destination

There’s been a major real estate boom in Miami Beach recently but what’s changing hands aren’t lofty penthouses on Collins Avenue but small to mid-size luxury hotels that are being being bought, sold, managed and renovated.

The last few months have seen the arrival of the $85 million SLS South Beach Hotel; the Royal Palm Hotel was sold for $130 million and is being rebranded as the James Hotel; the Gansevoort hotel was sold and renamed the Perry and is being managed by Starwood; Kimpton beat out Doubletree for the management of the Surfcomber Hotel which sits at a prime location at 17th and Collins Avenue; the Delano hotel is for sale and David Edelstein, the developer and owner of the WSouth Beach, along with the SLS Group, have reportedly just bought Collins Avenue neighbor the Raleigh hotel for $55 million.

“The unprecedented sales, purchase and renovation upgrades of hotel properties all over Miami Beach are indicators of the strength and demand for the destination,” says Jeff Lehman, Chair of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority. “Miami Beach’s consistent placement in the top ten of varied Best Of lists, continued allure in a competitive vacation market, ongoing infrastructure updates, sophisticated cultural, gastronomic and social options and of course, our great weather entices business-savvy hotel operators who realize this city is the best place to invest in now and for the future.”

Renovation projects currently underway include the B Hotel (the former Continental) and the Saxony Hotel, which is getting a dramatic makeover courtesy of star architects Rem Koolhaas and Lord Norman Foster, continuing the tradition of notable architects bringing their talents to Miami Beach. The reconstruction of the historic beachfront Seville Hotel is also underway, soon to be branded a Marriot Editions as envisioned by Ian Schrager, the celebrity hotelier who invigorated South Beach with his launch of the Delano hotel 15 years ago. A number of properties are also actively courting buyers – if the price is right.

Luxury properties have become particularly in demand on Miami Beach with hotels like the SLS South Beach (designed by celeb designer Phillipe Starck), the Mondrian South Beach (designed by famed Dutch designer Marcel Wanders), the W, Standard and Setai opening their doors in recent years and other properties getting significant makeovers like the Betsy, Surfcomber (also managed by Kimpton hotels), Fontainebleau and coming up, the Loews. Major hoteliers see Miami Beach as a sure bet in a tough economy. “We encourage business growth and development on the Beach,” says Lehman, “but all the attributes of Miami Beach make it easy to see why everyone wants to be here.”

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