Pharrell, David Grutman partner with developer to launch South Beach hotel

Miami /
Oct.October 28, 2020 03:35 PM
Pharrell, Eric Birnbaum and David Grutman with a rendering of the hotel (Getty, Linkedin, Goodtime Hotel)

Pharrell, Eric Birnbaum and David Grutman with a rendering of the hotel (Getty, Linkedin, Goodtime Hotel)

Developer Eric Birnbaum brought on star power to launch his Washington Avenue hotel in Miami Beach.

Singer-songwriter and producer Pharrell Williams and hospitality mogul David Grutman are partnering with Birnbaum on the Goodtime Hotel, a 266-room hotel on Washington Avenue between Sixth and Seventh streets, which is set to open early next year.

Birnbaum’s Dreamscape Companies is the lead developer of the seven-story building, which was designed by architect Morris Adjmi. Raymond Jungles is handling the landscaping, and Ken Fulk is the designer. Birnbaum is also co-founder of New York-based Imperial Companies.

The roughly $200 million development marks the first major new project on Washington Avenue in years.

“It’s great real estate, and there’s no reason that it shouldn’t go back to what it once was,” Birnbaum said, referring to Washington Avenue.

Grutman, who also owns Swan in the Miami Design District with Williams, was initially brought in to handle the food and beverage component of the hotel. But he introduced Birnbaum to Williams, and the three of them launched Goodtime, a new concept, Birnbaum said. They’re equal partners in the hotel brand, and Birnbaum is the majority owner of the real estate. Fulk, who Birnbaum said created a “whimsical aesthetic” for the hotel, also designed Swan.

Grutman said the goal is to make “aspiration accessible,” and Birnbaum said the hotel will be “affordable luxury.”

The hotel and retail development will include Strawberry Moon, a full-service restaurant, bar and pool club. Grutman said the outdoor space includes a 40,000-square-foot pool deck with cabanas and two swimming pools.

“Coming out of Covid, we think people will want to be outdoors and have that experience,” Grutman said. He’s founder of Groot Hospitality, which owns the nightclub LIV at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach; Story; Komodo and other food and beverage concepts. Last year, he sold a majority stake in Groot Hospitality to Live Nation Entertainment for an undisclosed amount.

As a result of the pandemic, the Washington Avenue development will open gradually, Birnbaum said. “What we don’t want to do is a great big grand opening, and then a great big grand closing,” he added.

Birnbaum eventually plans to develop the next half-block on Seventh Street, which he owns.

The project was partially financed with a $45 million loan from Bank OZK in early 2018. Washington Squared Owner LLC paid $36 million for the Washington Avenue block in 2015.

Imperial Companies, which Birnbaum co-founded with former Vornado Realty Trust president and CEO Michael D. Fascitelli, has invested $1 billion in commercial real estate since 2014, including the Washington Avenue property.

Last year, Dreamscape paid $516 million for the 2,500-key Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

Birnbaum said the company is looking to expand its hospitality portfolio, taking advantage of distress in the market.






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