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Donahue Peebles Acquires the Key Colony Bay Motel in Marathon, Florida
  for $28.3 million; Will Convert to a Condo Hotel

Florida Keys Keynoter, MarathonMcClatchy-Tribune Business News

Feb. 10, 2007 - Miami developer Donahue Peebles has closed on the acquisition of the Key Colony Bay Motel for $28.3 million at mile marker 54 in Marathon. Peebles also closed on $83 million in construction financing from Fremont Investment & Loan, the lender that has previously financed other Peebles' developments in Miami, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco.

Plans call for an ultra-luxury, residential resort called Manoir Resort Villas on five acres with 72 furnished, waterfront vacation homes, each with private elevator and roof terrace, priced from $1.8 million.

"New York has the Hamptons, New England has The Vineyard, and Florida has the Keys," Peebles said.

Marathon has quietly attracted a jet-set crowd to its airport for decades. With Delta Airlines adding daily, non-stop service to Florida Keys Marathon Airport from Atlanta next week the secret will soon be out.

"With Manoir, I will deliver what's been missing from the Keys - a casual yet sophisticated, weekend getaway with unprecedented five-star amenities," Peebles said. A national sales and marketing campaign for Manoir Resort Villas is slated to begin this month; construction will commence later this year with completion expected by mid-2009.

Each villa will feature interiors in keeping with the relaxed, seaside lifestyle, two or two and a half bedrooms, private elevator, gourmet kitchen, owner's storage and roof-top terraces offering panoramic ocean and gulf views. The property will include amenities such as multiple pools, spa and fitness center, restaurant and bar, concierge staff, housekeeping services, laundry and dry cleaning, valet and business services.

The Coral Gables-based Peebles Corp., which has a portfolio worth $1 billion, plans to convert the 80-room hotel into 72 condo-hotel.

"We focus on a market that can support luxury," said Barron Channer, in charge of acquisitions and development for Peebles. "There is an upscaling trend that has been occurring in the Keys.

Marathon specifically is ideally situated in what we want to do. The airport, the golf course, the reef. It's really a well-positioned location," he said in June 2006, when negotiations began.

The Marathon City Council gave approval to Marathon Hotel Partners, owner of Key Colony Bay, to transfer its redevelopment agreement for the site to Peebles. Peebles Corp. is known for luxury development. It's built or redeveloped the $230 million Residences at the Bath Club and $140 million Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach, and the $53 million Courtyard by Marriott Convention Center and $112 million 10 G Street NE office building in Washington, D.C., among others.

In addition to the Keys, it's now also got its eye on high-end development projects in the San Francisco area. Peebles was named in 2004 by Florida Trend magazine as among Florida's most influential people, joining the ranks of people such as then-Gov. Jeb Bush, singer Jimmy Buffett and Bud Paxson, founder of Paxson Communications, a giant in the cable TV business.

For more information on Peebles, visit http://www.peebles corp.com. Channer said the property was purchased from Marathon Hotel Partners LLC, which lists its principle place of business as New York City and its registered agent as Marathon attorney Christopher Waldera. Channer said the target date for demolition is May 2007 and groundbreaking is expected to happen in August.

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Copyright (c) 2007, Florida Keys Keynoter, Marathon

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