The Real Deal Miami

Royal Palm ownership approved, will become first Tribute by Starwood

Opposing party asked Miami Beach board to address traffic congestion in hotel alley
By Francisco Alvarado | April 28, 2015 05:00PM

Adam Aron of Starwood and the Royal Palm South Beach

Almost two months after the $278 million sale of the Royal Palm Hotel in Miami Beach, the new operators affirmed they would abide by the terms of a four-year-old conditional use permit given to the previous owner by the city’s planning board.

At the Miami Beach Planning Board’s April meeting this afternoon, Carter McDowell, a partner with Miami law firm Bilzin Sumberg, said his client and current Royal Palm owner Chesapeake Lodging Trust took control of the historic Art Deco property immediately after the sale closed on March 9.

“Chesapeake specializes in higher end properties” McDowell said. “They are excited to own the Royal Palm and bring it back where it needs to be.”

A publicly traded company with 21 hotels across the country, Chesapeake paid $707,000 a room to Denver-based KSL Capital Partners for the 393-room hotel at 1545 Collins Avenue. Chesapeake is partnering with HEI Hotels & Resorts to manage the Royal Palm and also entered into a franchising deal to make the property the first Tribute Hotel by Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.

The conditional use permit required representatives of Chesapeake and HEI Hotels to go before the planning board as a formality. There were no objections to the transfer of ownership by board members or residents.

However, Mark Halpern, an attorney for the owner of the neighboring property at 1500 Ocean Drive asked the board to make sure Chesapeake and HEI address traffic congestion in an alley used by delivery and garbage trucks.

“You have vehicles parking there, preventing trucks from being able to go anywhere,” Halpern said. “It’s becoming a real nightmare.”

Pradeep Bobba, the new general manager for the Royal Palm, said he is already addressing the problem. “We are aware of the ongoing issues with he alley,” Bobba said. “We are towing more vehicles out that don’t belong there. We don’t allow any of our employees or associates to park there.”