UPDATED, March 2, 12:30 p.m.: Ladder Capital sold the Washington Park Hotel in Miami Beach for $43.8 million, after foreclosing on the property when it was owned by the Witkoff Group.
The foreclosure and subsequent sale of the hotel marks one of a few such deals in South Florida to close since the pandemic began a year ago. Many owners of leisure hotels are focused now on recovery, while properties that rely on business travel continue to struggle, brokers say.
WPH Properties LLC of Beverly Hills, California, purchased the 181-key hotel at 1050 Washington Avenue, records show. The sale was brokered by Hodges Ward Elliott brokers Max Comess, Rudy Reudelhuber and Alexandra Lalos.
The buyer is tied to an LLC owned by Jean Simonian, who owns the watch store Westime. The sale equates to $242,000 per room.
Witkoff Group, led by Steve Witkoff, purchased the Art Deco hotel from the Majestic Organization in 2013 for $25.5 million. It closed on a $45 million loan from Ladder Capital in 2016, toward the end of a major renovation of the property. Carlyle Group was a partner in the hotel with Witkoff.
Ladder filed a foreclosure lawsuit in July, seeking to collect the entire loan, along with interest and late fees. Ladder recently gained title to the property through the foreclosure, paving the way for its sale to WPH Properties, court records show.
Comess, who represented Ladder Capital in the sale, said his team received a record level of interest in the non-waterfront hotel.
“We received approximately three times the number of registrations, tours and offers that we would have otherwise expected,” Comess said. “Covid has really focused all different types of hotel investors on Florida because of Florida’s relative outperformance [of other markets] during the pandemic.”
The Washington Park Hotel was built in 1943 and includes five historic Art Deco buildings.
Simonian, the buyer, sold his two North Bay Road properties in Miami Beach last year for $44 million to Melvin Capital Management founder and former GameStop short-seller Gabe Plotkin.