Former funeral home site in Wilton Manors to be redeveloped as boutique hotel with 123 rooms 

Property’s investors plan to market Wilton Hotel to gay tourists

Boutique Hotel With 123 Rooms Coming to Wilton Manors
Mark Ellert and a rendering of the Wilton Hotel (Adache Group Architects, LinkedIn)

The owners of a former funeral home in Wilton Manors won city approval to redevelop the property as a 123-room boutique hotel called the Wilton Hotel.

The Wilton Manors City Council unanimously approved a rezoning of the hotel development site during the council’s meeting Tuesday night, along with a developer’s agreement and deed restrictions on the development site.

The 18-month construction phase of the hotel development is expected to start in the spring of 2025, said Mark Ellert, a partner in the project who is leading its development.

Ellert said he and his partners are planning the Wilton Hotel as an upscale boutique hotel that will cater to the gay travel market.

Boutique Hotel With 123 Rooms Coming to Wilton Manors
A rendering of the Wilton Hotel (Adache Group Architects)

“The gay tourist market is a vastly underserved market,” he said. “While Wilton Manors has a huge supply of Airbnb units that cater principally to a gay customer, the city has never had a conventional hotel … There are a couple of older motels that are B-type properties.”

It is possible that the Wilton Hotel may affiliate with a major hotel brand. But investors in the development are leaning toward operating the property as an independent hotel.

“We have had some preliminary conversations with some of the usual international brand suspects, Hilton, Marriott, etcetera,” Ellert said. “But our inclination is to pursue the project as an independent lifestyle development.”

Sign Up for the undefined Newsletter

Ellert said the only one hotel brand in the world that caters specifically to gay travelers is Barcelona-based Axel Hotels, which has a location in Miami Beach.

Two companies managed by Cooper City-based investor Walter Schneider paid $2.6 million in 2022 to acquire the Wilton Hotel development site at 2505 North Dixie Highway in Wilton Manors, property records show.

The property is now owned by Wilton Five Points Partners LLC, which lists Schneider, Pavlo Joannou of Hillsboro Beach, and Raymond Young II of Fort Lauderdale as its managers.

The 0.8-acre property is now occupied by a vacant house and a vacant commercial building that will be demolished. The building was a funeral home until December 2022.

The investors originally planned to develop a boutique condominium on the Z-shaped, 0.8-acre development site, which is a block south of Wilton Drive between Northeast 11th Avenue and Dixie Highway.

Ellert said the site wouldn’t have such an odd shape if his partners had acquired adjacent properties, but they were priced too high. “That wasn’t our intention,” he said of the site’s unusual shape. “We wanted to assemble a couple of the other properties. This goes back a couple of years. At the time, [property] prices were kind of running away.”

So, the investors dropped plans for a condo project because they failed to assemble a site they considered large enough.

Among other developments planned in Wilton Manors, Urbane Capital, led by Amin Jamal and Nitin Jain, proposes an 18-unit luxury townhouse complex, consisting of three three-story buildings with six units each on a 1-acre site on the southeast corner of Duval Court and Northeast Ninth Avenue. The project, called Wilton Yards, would offer the townhomes for sale.

Also, Kaplan Residential plans the six-story, 190-unit Generation at Wilton Manors apartment project with 9,000 square feet of commercial space at 1209 Northeast 24th Street, 1225 Northeast 24th Street, 1401 Northeast 24th Street, 2449 Northeast 13th Avenue and 2430 Northeast 13th Avenue.