Nearly 22 years after the Loews Miami Beach launched a boom in new hotel construction in that city, the hospitality giant is opening a second location in Miami-Dade County.
The 242-room Loews Coral Gables, a luxury hotel catering to business travelers and weekend vacationers, will break ground in April at 2901 Ponce de Leon Boulevard. The $150 million resort, which will feature 15,000 square feet of meeting space and a rooftop pool/event deck, is scheduled for completion by mid-2022.
The hotel is a joint venture between the Miami-based Agave Holdings, the real estate firm currently developing the seven-acre mixed-use project The Plaza, and Loews Hotels, a subsidiary of the publicly-traded Loews Corporation, which will own 20 percent of the hotel.
“We are able to access capital from our parent company and we like being equity partners in our business models,” said Jonathan Tisch, chairman and CEO of Loews Hotels. “The biggest names in hospitality are asset-light. But owning the real estate is part of our business plan.”
Loews also owns the 790-room Miami Beach resort, which was built in 1998 with the assistance of public funds provided by that city. Loews paid $28 million in 2004 to buy the hotel property outright.
The new hotel fills in one of the biggest missing pieces in the massive, $600 million Plaza development, the largest real estate project in Coral Gables history.
Spread out across three city blocks on Ponce de Leon Boulevard just south of Miracle Mile, the project’s first half is scheduled to receive its certificate of occupancy in June. That section will include 300,000 square feet of Class-A office space, 150 rental apartments, 90,000 square feet of retail and 1,000 parking spots.
The Loews will be part of the project’s second half, which will feature an additional 165,000 square feet of offices, 70,000 square feet of retail and another 1,000 parking spots. The two sides of the project will be connected by a one-acre open-air plaza, which Agave will maintain.
“This project is a long-term investment for Agave, so we didn’t want a hotel partner that would just be an operator,” said Jose Antonio Perez, managing director of Agave Holdings, a group that includes the family-owned Jose Cuervo, the international tequila and spirits company. “That was more important to us than to hire a hotel operator that doesn’t have an interest in the project.”
Carlos Beckmann, director of operations (USA) at Agave Holdings, said the two companies agreed not to commit to a five-star hotel, which requires an extra level of costly luxury amenities and services, for fear of overshooting the market.
“We will be catering to business travelers in the Coral Gables central business district and want to attract conventions and groups, so we decided to go with a four-and-a-half star hotel,” Beckmann said. “We want this place to be full of people. Because of all the surrounding office space, we are going to be really busy Monday through Friday. We will use social events to activate the hotel on weekends.”
Loews Hotels currently has 25 locations across North America, with three new resorts scheduled to open between February and March in Orlando, St. Louis and Kansas City.
“Having worked in Miami for more than two decades with our Miami Beach resort, I’ve seen that market grow and evolve,” Tisch said. “Coral Gables is a market that is under-hoteled. This was a chance to become part of a unique, first-class development and build one of the newest properties that has come along in Coral Gables in a long time.”
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