Russell Galbut buys dev site near Five Park in South Beach, plans hotel

12-unit apartment building can be redeveloped into 65-room hotel

Russell Galbut in front of 1030-1050 Sixth Street in Miami Beach (LoopNet, GFO Investments)
Russell Galbut in front of 1030-1050 Sixth Street in Miami Beach (LoopNet, GFO Investments)

Russell Galbut’s GFO Investments picked up a hotel development site in South Beach, steps away from the Five Park condo tower the firm is co-developing with Terra.

An affiliate managed by executives of Miami-based GFO paid $5.7 million for the two-story, 12-unit apartment complex at 1030 and 1050 Sixth Street, records show. The city of Miami Beach last year approved plans to redevelop the property into a 65-room hotel with a rooftop pool and restaurant, Gema Ruiz with Cedano Realty Advisors said in an email.

A rendering shows the hotel would be built behind three existing historic buildings completed in 1938.

Ruiz represented GFO and the seller, Fernandez Properties, managed by Jose Fernandez of Miami. In 1988, Fernandez paid $185,000 for the apartment complex, records show.

In February of last year, the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board approved Fernandez’s plan for a six-story hotel on the site, as well as a 70 percent demolition of one of the buildings that will connect with the new structure. Fernandez intended to name the hotel, The Hohauser, in honor of Henry Hohauser, the late architect who designed the historic buildings.

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In an emailed statement, Galbut said GFO will move forward with the approved plan and that “only minor adjustments are needed to move this project to fruition.” The new hotel will be managed by Menin Hospitality, which is led by Keith Menin and Jared Galbut, Galbut’s relatives who are also GFO executives, Galbut said.

Groundbreaking is scheduled for the first quarter of 2023, with completion about one year later, Galbut said.

Chaired by Galbut, GFO Investments is a private wealth management advisory firm focusing on real estate development and ventures such as hospitality operations, private financing, and capital market securities, according to the firm’s website.

GFO teamed up with Terra, the Coconut Grove-based development firm led by President David Martin, on Five Park Miami Beach, a 48-story condo tower currently under construction at 500 Alton Road. The property is the former site of South Shore Hospital, which was completely demolished in 2019 after years of falling into disrepair.

Galbut, who is also managing principal of Miami-based Crescent Heights, is one South Florida’s most active developers. In Miami Beach, Galbut has also partnered with Boca Raton-based Pebb Capital and Miami-based Maxwelle Real Estate Group to renovate and rebrand the historic Bancroft Hotel at 1501 Collins Avenue into a membership-only, high-end office project.

In Miami’s Edgewater, Crescent Heights is developing Nema Miami, a mixed-use project that will include a Whole Foods store at 2900 Biscayne Boulevard. The firm recently scored a $224 million loan from Blackstone for the development’s construction.