Toronto firm picks up Ocean Drive hotel for $39M

Moto Capital, Leste completed a UCC foreclosure of the Lord Balfour in 2020

Moto Capital Group's Marcos Lima with 350 Ocean Drive
Moto Capital Group's Marcos Lima with 350 Ocean Drive (Loopnet, LinkedIn, Getty)

A Toronto-based investment firm paid $39.3 million for the Lord Balfour hotel on Ocean Drive in Miami Beach.

The property, now called the Balfour Hotel, had been subject to an out-of-court UCC foreclosure about two years ago. It was also at the center of a lawsuit filed last year by its former co-owner and operator, Life House hotels.

An entity led by Marcos Lima of Moto Capital Group sold the 81-key hotel at 350 and 344 Ocean Drive to Catalyst Balfour Property LLC. The buyer is an affiliate of Toronto, Canada-based private equity firm Catalyst Capital Group. It financed the acquisition with an $18 million loan from Balfour Hotel Lender 1, a Delaware entity tied to New York-based Madison Realty Capital.

The property traded for about $485,000 per key.

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The U.S. arm of Henley, a United Kingdom-based private equity firm, paid nearly $35 million for the hotel in 2019 and partnered with the hotel startup Life House. Moto Capital provided a $10.3 million loan to the then-Henley entity at the time of the purchase. Henley renovated the property, but ran into bad timing due to the pandemic, and didn’t reopen the hotel.

In September 2020, then-mezzanine lenders Leste Group and Moto Capital completed the UCC foreclosure of the property. The hotel later reopened.

In November of last year, Life House affiliates sued the Moto Capital-controlled entity that owned the hotel, but a judge dismissed the lawsuit in April.

The hotel includes a three-story corner building constructed in 1940, a four-story building next door that was completed in 2018, plus a pool and Jacuzzi, the Mehzcla Restaurant and a lobby bar and lounge.

Catalyst Capital, led by Managing Partner Newton Glassman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Driftwood Hospitality was operating the Balfour Hotel, according to its website. It’s unclear if Driftwood will continue to manage the hotel.