Henley buys Ocean Drive hotel for $35M in partnership with Life House

Henley purchased the South Beach hotel, and Life House will manage the property

Lord Balfour Hotel, Rami Zeidan, Garrett Solomon and Bryan Dunn
Lord Balfour Hotel, Rami Zeidan, Garrett Solomon and Bryan Dunn

The U.S. arm of Henley, a United Kingdom-based private equity firm, closed on the acquisition of an Ocean Drive hotel with its partner, hotel startup Life House.

Life House announced the $34.75 million purchase of the 81-key Lord Balfour Hotel at 350 Ocean Drive in Miami Beach on Thursday. It’s the fourth deal for the Henley and Life House partnership. Henley plans to invest more than $40 million in the property, including acquisition and renovation costs.

The company will run the Ocean Drive property as the Lord Balfour Hotel before it is renovated as Life House Ocean Drive. Henley will renovate all the rooms, suites, common areas and build a gym and yoga studio, according to a release. The property includes a 64-room building built in 1940 and a new building with 17 rooms, a pool and Jacuzzi. The seller is Green Comet LLC, controlled by Mateo Salinas.

Susan Gale with One Sotheby’s International Realty brokered the deal.

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Ian Rickwood, CEO of Henley, said in a statement that the firm is looking to acquire more hotels with Life House across the U.S. with a focus on properties with fewer than 125 rooms.

Life House, which is backed by venture capital firms Global Founders Capital, Comcast Ventures, and Trinity Investments, relies heavily on its technology that automates and consolidates back office operations.

The New York-based hotel startup manages the 33-key Life House Little Havana at 528 Southwest Ninth Avenue in Miami; the 26-key Life House South Beach at 321 Collins Avenue in South Beach; and the 50-room Life House Mid Beach at 2216 Park Avenue in Miami Beach, all owned by Henley.

The company has 10 hotels with over 500 rooms in its portfolio and will open one new hotel every month for the next six months. Life House says its technology and strategy lead to 30 percent to 50 percent higher returns on investments for its real estate partners than traditional operators.

In July, as part of a separate partnership, Life House announced it secured a $100 million equity commitment from Blue Flag Partners to expand across the U.S. Blue Flag Partners, an investment and development firm based in Boston, will own the hotels and Life House will design and manage the properties, which will be in seasonal, upscale markets, like Nantucket, Massachusetts; Stowe, Vermont; Lake Tahoe; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; and Palm Springs, California.