The Miami Woman’s Club said it has agreed to lease space in its historic building at 1737 North Bayshore Drive to the Heafey Group, a real estate investment firm that will upgrade the property.
Heafey, based in Quebec and Miami, owns the Hilton Bentley in Miami Beach and the Doubletree Grand Hotel, adjacent to the Woman’s Club. The privately owned firm is also developing a 207-room hotel in Miami’s Design District.
The decision follows years of uncertainty over the future of the financially strapped, yet storied site.
Under the terms of the lease, the Heafey Group will renovate the property and be responsible for maintaining it. The Heafey Group will lease three of the five floors, while the club retains control over the remaining two floors. The lease, which could extend up to 90 years, does not include development rights and the club will retain voting control over any future development of the property, according to a press release.
The Miami Woman’s Club’s U-shaped Mediterranean Revival-style headquarters is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but is currently vacant and in need of renovation.
Organized in 1900, the Miami Woman’s Club was once one of the city’s most important social and cultural organizations, and with the help of Henry Flagler was largely responsible for establishing Miami’s public library system, according to the release.
“We are thrilled to bring this historic jewel back to mint condition. The building opened as the first cultural center in Miami and will be coming full circle with a floor dedicated to cultural exhibits and activities for the community,” Noreen Timoney, the club’s president, said in a statement.
“For the better part of the past nine years, we have vetted many proposals and over the past year narrowed that field down to several highly qualified groups through a long, but necessary, process. We ended up with the right group to help propel the club into the future and honor our legacy,” she said.
Holland & Knight attorneys Gavin Williams and Brian Toth advised the Heafey Group on the transaction. Rose Diamond and Edgar Jones advised the Miami Woman’s Club during the process. Tom Korge of Korge & Korge LLP represented the club, according to the release. — Ina Cordle