Russell Galbut wants to heighten South Beach hotel, add rooms

Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board is being asked to approve two more floors, 12 guest rooms and four meeting rooms at the Gale South Beach

Russell Galbut and a rendering of the proposed Gale South Beach Hotel upgrade (Studio Mc+G Architecture, Getty)
Russell Galbut and a rendering of the proposed Gale South Beach Hotel upgrade (Studio Mc+G Architecture, Getty)

Russell Galbut’s Crescent Heights wants to stack two more floors on top of an Art Deco building that is part of the Gale South Beach hotel. The addition would house 12 new guest rooms and four meeting rooms to help accommodate spillover business from a nearby convention center hotel that is under construction.

The Gale’s owner, the Galbut-managed entity 1690 Collins Associates, is seeking approval from the Miami Beach Historic Preservation Board to demolish the rooftop pool and deck of the two-story Regent Hotel that is alongside the three-story Gale Hotel at 1690 Collins Avenue, according to the developer’s letter of intent filed with the city of Miami Beach. The additional floors would replace the pool and deck, the letter states.

The board is scheduled to vote on Galbut’s proposal at an Oct. 18 meeting.

Designed by the late Miami Beach architect L. Murray Dixon and completed in 1941, the Regent and the Gale have a combined 87 rooms. Crescent Heights completed partial demolitions and extensive renovations to both buildings in 2012, the letter states. The hotel is managed by Menin Hospitality, a hotel development and management company led by Galbut’s relatives Jared Galbut and Keith Menin.

Galbut and his entity’s attorney, Graham Penn, did not respond to requests for comment. But the letter suggests Crescent Heights is anticipating a boom in business travelers once a joint venture between Miami-based Terra and Aventura-based Turnberry Associates completes the Grand Hyatt-branded convention center hotel in Miami Beach.

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

“In order to better serve business travelers and support the Convention Center, the applicant is proposing to … develop two new floors, including 12 new guestrooms and four new meeting rooms,” the letter states.

Galbut’s entity also wants the historic preservation board to grant a variance allowing Miami-based Crescent Heights to build four rooms larger than 300 square feet and the remaining eight rooms below 300 square feet, but with none of the units smaller than 200 square feet.

A Miami Beach native, Galbut’s companies are among the city’s most active developers and owners of several prominent buildings. In August, voters approved zoning changes that boosted the floor area ratio for a mixed-use project Galbut and Terra’s David Martin want to develop at 710 Alton Road, currently the site of the Miami Beach Community Health Center. In exchange, the developers will build the city a new health center and public library at 633 Alton Road.

Terra and Galbut are also developing Five Park, a 48-story condominium at 500 Alton Road.

In June, Galbut’s GFO Investments paid $5.7 million for a redevelopment site at 1030 and 1050 Sixth Street. It has city-approved plans for a 65-room hotel with a rooftop pool and restaurant.