Steve Ross’ Related wins bid to build $300M West Palm convention center hotel

20-story, 404-key Hilton Signia landed approval despite lacking key elements from county request

Steve Ross’ Related to Build $300M West Palm Beach Hotel
Related's Steve Ross and 900 South Rosemary Avenue (Getty, Google Maps)

Billionaire Steve Ross’ Related Companies won the bid to build West Palm Beach’s next convention center hotel.

New York-based Related will build a $300 million 20-story, 404-key Hilton Signia on the site at 900 South Rosemary Avenue, the Palm Beach Post reported. Related estimated the hotel could be completed in three years, according to the publication. 

The hotel will add capacity for West Palm Beach’s convention center, which the county hopes can attract larger professional events in the coming years. Related also owns the 12-story, 400-room Hilton West Palm Beach, which is adjacent and connected to the convention center.

Palm Beach County issued a request for proposals last year after determining the convention center needed at least 800 hotel rooms nearby to host bigger events. The request sought a plan for a non-Hilton hotel with 600 rooms adjacent to the convention center, according to the outlet. 

Other bids included Atlanta-based Portman’s proposed 600-key hotel under either the Hyatt or Marriott Bonvoy banner. Los Angeles-based Sonnenblick Investments and AB Capital partnered to propose a two-hotel project: a 450-key Hyatt Regency and 150-room Hyatt House for extended stays. 

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The Portman and Sonnenblick proposals were disqualified because neither had the required surety bond, according to the Palm Beach Post.

“If there are three bidders on an RFP and they’re all qualified, good people, why would you kick out the competition so there’s only one sole bidder?” a Sonnenblick representative said to the Post. “It’s not in the best interests of county taxpayers to limit the competition in a huge deal.”

Related’s proposal included a $300 million surety bond from Markel Insurance Company. The developer’s plan falls short of the unit count and will not be built on one of the three county-owned sites adjacent to the convention center.

Ross, chairman of Related and majority owner of the Miami Dolphins, is the biggest developer in West Palm Beach. His firm has 1.3 million square feet of commercial real estate in downtown West Palm, with 2 million square feet in the pipeline, including a nearly completed 21-story, 322-unit luxury apartment project dubbed the Laurel.  

–– Kate Hinsche

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