|By Tom Stieghorst, South Florida
Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News
June 28, 2006 - The yellow and white Pelican Beach Resort, one of Fort Lauderdale's most appealing new hotels, is being sold to a company that plans to convert it to a condo-hotel.
The beachside resort, which has been run as a Best Western by the Kruze family for 15 years, has agreed to be acquired by Condominium Ventures of America for an undisclosed price.
The sale comes 18 months after the hotel was reopened, following a two-year redevelopment of the property.
Units at the condo-hotel will range from just below $500,000 to $800,000, with a few penthouses priced up to $1.5 million. Those prices suggest the 156-room hotel is valued at more than $100 million.
The Pelican Beach, which will be renamed Pelican Grand Beach Resort, features 1.6 acres directly on the sand, which few other Fort Lauderdale hotels offer. It has a lazy river pool, a rooftop wedding gazebo and a beachfront veranda.
Of 135 Fort Lauderdale hotels listed on TripAdvisor.com, an interactive travel Web site that posts user reviews of hotels, Pelican Beach is ranked fourth based on the number of positive reviews.
Chris Kruze, who will remain general manager of the hotel after the sale is final, said the family is planning a hotel project in Maine, and that influenced the decision to sell. About 160 people work at the Pelican Beach.
Kruze said the resort was 83 percent full in May at an average rate of $235. He said bookings this summer look stronger than last year.
Atlanta-based Condominium Ventures was founded two years ago and has converted one other 40-story apartment building to condominiums, said President Ken Harris, although its partners have 40 years of experience in the field.
The sale doesn't include an adjacent 24-unit building managed by the Kruzes for a separate owner. CVA plans to add three extra units in some unfinished space at the resort.
Tom Stieghorst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 305-810-5008
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