The Real Deal Miami

ME Miami evidence of hot South Florida hotel market

Analysts say the arrival of Spain’s Melia brand is a sign of strength
September 11, 2014 12:45PM

Mario Suarez, partner at Zyscovich Architects, on the balcony of Casa Moderna, 1100 Biscayne Boulevard

Mario Suarez, partner at Zyscovich Architects, on the balcony of Casa Moderna (credit: J. Albert Diaz)

Analysts say the redevelopment of Casa Moderna into a ME by Melia property – a Spanish brand – is evidence of South Florida’s increasingly hot hotel market.

In August, developer CGI Merchant Group scored $53 million in financing for the construction of a hotel and restaurant at Casa Moderna. When it opens next spring, the hotel will feature 129 rooms – up from 56.

And since then, several major hotel sales have gone down, including a $460 million deal with Thayer Lodging Group for the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa in Hollywood; Claremont’s $21.65 million purchase of Il Lugano Hotel & Residences in Fort Lauderdale; Blackstone Group’s $12 million acquisition of Marriott’s Residence Inn Boca Raton; and the $57.5 million deal for b2 Miami Downtown Hotel and a neighboring retail center.

“When you have that kind of growth on the top line, it’s really almost exaggerated on the bottom line,” Richard Lillis, executive vice president in the Miami-Fort Lauderdale offices of Colliers International Hotels, told the Daily Business Review. “You have pretty remarkable profit growth. That’s why you’re seeing developers now.”

ME Miami will be Melia Hotels International’s first South Florida hotel.

“Their presence in North America has been shy,” said Mario Suarez, partner at Zyscovich Architects in Miami. “But they’re beginning to look with a lot of interest.” [Daily Business Review] Christopher Cameron