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Activity in the Miami Beach, Florida Hotel Market Remains Busy with the
54-room Lords South Beach (Formerly Hotel Nash) for Sale
and 2 New Properties Opening in 2013

By Hannah Sampson, The Miami HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

Dec. 11, 2012 --Activity remains strong in Miami Beach's hotel market, with several examples popping up recently. Two developers will open boutiques next year, and the historic Hotel Nash, better known these days as the sunny Lords South Beach, is for sale.

Brokerage Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels is marketing the 54-room property at 1120 Collins Avenue -- which was transformed into an installation during Art Basel -- for owner Hotel Nash LLC. The property is managed by Cambean Hospitality with a licensing agreement for Lords South Beach, which describes itself as the country's "first gay boutique hotel brand," in place until 2015.

Gregory Rumpel, managing director of the brokerage firm, said plans for the hotel after that would be up to the new owner.

"It may include Lords as the manager, it may not. Both those options are open," he said. "There is still a licensing agreement with Lords that needs to be respected. After that, it's a matter of who the investor is and the direction they want to take it."

Lords founder Brian Gorman said the brand itself is not being marketed for sale. Earlier this year, the hotel was named to the Travel + Leisure 2012 "It List" of the world's 50 best new hotels.

The hotel, which last sold in 2008 for $12.5 million, got touched up before launching as Lords in late 2010; it was completely renovated and rebuilt in 1999.

"What we're really selling is a fully renovated Art Deco boutique hotel right in the heart of all the action," Rumpel said. "The market is so strong right now. It's just a very good and opportune time to take it out to the market."

Cambean Hospitality also manages the Carlton Hotel, Clifton Hotel and Majestic Hotel, all in South Beach, but Rumpel said only Hotel Nash is being marketed now. Cambean president Brian Scheinblum is the registered agent for Hotel Nash LLC, but the hotels in the portfolio have different ownership.

Rumpel wouldn't name a price for Hotel Nash, but said he expects the market to drive the sale north of $300,000 a room -- or more than $16.2 million.

The market has been plenty busy this year; Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels expects hotel transactions volume to reach $650 million in Miami-Dade in 2012, a 13 percent increase over last year.

And next year is shaping up to be active as well, especially given recent announcements about planned new additions to the scene.

In a stretch of South Beach that has seen extensive renovations during the past couple of years, the 69-room Hotel Lorenzo South Beach is set to open in March at 1776 Collins Avenue. Co-owner Larry Levy, chairman of Levy Family Partners, originally intended for the property to become a fractional ownership resort after he bought it in 2006.

"When the world changed in 2008, I had plans and everything drawn up," he said. "Fortunately I had the staying power to stick around."

The hotel, which Levy owns with developer Bob Heyat, will feature a restaurant called Bar Lorenzo from James Beard Award-winning chef Tony Mantuano of Spiaggia in Chicago. Levy, a Miami Beach resident owns the restaurant and Levy Restaurants -- concessionaire at Marlins Park and AmericanAirlines Arena -- will operate Bar Lorenzo.

In addition to the restaurant, Levy said the hotel, which got a $14.5 million renovation, will stand out for the size of its rooms, its rooftop pool and event space and the design by Miami-based Nikki Baron. He envisions a European-style boutique with art produced both locally as well as in the U.S. and around the world.

"I would describe it as a four-and-a-half star hotel with three-and-a-half-star prices," Levy said.

Farther north and slightly west, Vintro Hotel South Beach is set to open in fall 2013. Located along the Collins Canal at 2216 Park Avenue, the long-vacant property will turn into a 54-room boutique hotel near the Bass Museum, Miami City Ballet and Collins Park. A Vintro Hotel in Fort Lauderdale is scheduled for a summer 2015 opening.

The Miami Beach project, which has been in the works for about a year, is being developed by a family headed by Luis Amighetti. Miami-based Tailored Hospitality International is working on branding, operations and marketing for the developer.

Renovations are underway. Plans call for a third floor to be added, which will include a pool on the roof, six suites, a terrace and a reinvented shuffleboard court, said Robert Todak, founder of Tailored Hospitality International. Including the cost of the property and renovation, the total cost for the project is about $11 million, Todak said. Opening rates will start at $169 for a deluxe room and $769 for a suite.

The hotel will have a sophisticated vibe, with a focus on wine and regular live music performances -- an escape, Todak said, from the "high-energy experience" of South Beach.

"We saw the merits of being slightly off, very slightly off, the main stretch but a 10-minute walk to the beach and to dozens of attractions, clubs, restaurants," he said. "The cultural district and expansion of South Beach played an important role."

Max Comess, a director in the hotel group at commercial real estate investment banking firm HFF, said activity has been pushing north and west since the properties closest to the ocean have already been bought up. Investors and guests both are finding more value inland, he said -- as well as perks beyond the beach.

"People aren't coming to Miami Beach today to sit on the beach," he said. "They want to be in a hotel that's hip, that's cool, that's an entertainment destination within itself. They want to be more in the mix of all of the nightlife and cultural activities, which are inland."


(c)2012 The Miami Herald

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