An international real estate investor just signed a $50 million refinancing deal for two of his Surfside hotels.
Jacques-Gaston Murray, a European that made his fortune with fire extinguishers and air conditioning, took out the loan on two of his hotels in South Florida: The Oceanfront Hotel, and the smaller Grand Beach Surfside West Hotel across the street.
The funds come from TotalBank, which was represented in the deal by Karyl Argamasilla of commercial law firm Bilzin Sumberg.
A news release about the financing said Murray will use the extra equity for more real estate investments, including building a new hotel, though details about that project’s location or size are not yet available.
Both properties, at 9449 and 9418 Collins Avenue, were purchased by Murray for $25.1 million from an affiliate of Texas-based CSG Investments in 2011, according to Miami-Dade County property records. CSG acquired the property after its previous owner, a company titled Beach House Property, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Both lots were vacant at the time. That company, led by Rodrigo Nino, Alejandro Perez and Neven Alvarez, had planned to build a 12-story condo tower with 101 residences, designed by architect Richard Meier.
Those plans fell through, however, and construction on The Murray Group’s two hotels began in 2011. Oceanfront Hotel, which is on the beachfront side of Collins Avenue, opened its 268 rooms in 2014. Its smaller sister building, the Grand Beach Surfside West Hotel across the street, opened its 73 rooms the same year.
Murray, a seasoned investor and war veteran in his late 90s, flew in the United Kingdom’s Royal Air Force during World War II, according to an article published earlier this year in the Birmingham Post in the United Kingdom.
After the war, he invested in a fire-extinguisher business, now known as General-Incendie SA. He also owns majority stakes in another fire protection business, London Security, and the air-conditioning firm Andrew Sykes Group. His hotel holdings were valued by the publication at $310 million, and include the Grand Beach Hotel Miami Beach — which was also funded by TotalBank.