French hotelier sells Hotel St. Augustine in South Beach with expansion plans for $9M

Property hit the market last year for $13.9M, which means it sold for 35% reduction

Apr.April 28, 2017 04:00 PM

Hotel St Augustine. Inset: broker Susan Gale and buyer Jesper Arnoldsson

A French hotelier just sold a boutique hotel in Miami Beach’s South-of-Fifth neighborhood to a Miami-based hospitality firm for $9 million, agent Susan Gale told The Real Deal.

A St. Louis Resort Management affiliate sold the 24-key hotel at 347 Washington Avenue to 347 Washington Investment LLC, a company tied to SMS Lodging principal Jesper Arnoldsson.

Gale, of One Sotheby’s International Realty, brokered the deal for the St. Augustine, which includes approved plans to build an additional 17 rooms, a restaurant, pool and parking on the adjacent lot at 335 Washington Avenue. Together the parcels total about 13,000 square feet. The Art Deco hotel, built in 1937, has about 11,140 square feet.

The seller owns hotels in Paris, Gale said. Corporate records show the company is controlled by Philippe Le Guennec and Bernard Elmalen. It hit the market last year for $13.9 million, which means it sold for 35 percent less than the asking price. “This was a motivated seller,” Gale said.

The Washington Avenue sale went under contract in October and closed Wednesday. Gale said it was a complicated deal, adding that “each party had certain things they had to resolve.” She also brokered the previous sale, when it traded for $6.25 million in 2014.

“I worked with him for many, many, many, many years prior to him buying the St. Augustine. We looked for properties for over three years. He loved this for the location, development opportunity, the income, the condition of the property,” she said. “His plan was to develop it. … It was everything he wanted but he doesn’t live here and he owns a lot of hotels in Paris.”

Based on the land, the property sold for $692 per square foot, and for the hotel, $808 per square foot. Gale said the approved plans and the fact that it’s generating income (grossing $1.1 million in 2015), made it a rare opportunity. “Nobody in their right mind” would go through getting approvals in Miami Beach without the intention of developing themselves, she said.

Down the street, the two lots at 245-251 Washington Avenue are listed for $9.5 million, or about $730 per square foot.  It has the same zoning as the St. Augustine parcels.

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