Boston investors buy Crown Hotel; major rehab planned
By Marilyn Bowden
A group of Boston-based investors paid $22.5 million for the Crown Hotel in Miami Beach with plans to pour another $20 million into renovations.
Ateret Malone was the seller.
Seth Greenberg, a co-principal of buyer Aleph Resorts, said the property a 250-room beachfront hotel at 4041 Collins Ave. is the first of a series of planned acquisitions for Aleph, a joint venture he is undertaking with Mitchell Muroff, Robert Sage and Myron Greenberg.
Mr. Sage owns and operates more than 25 hotels in North America, said Mr. Greenberg, who describes himself as a nightlife impresario. He said he is founder of Mistral, a restaurant in Boston.
"Aleph is a startup that will develop boutiques around the country," Mr. Greenberg said. "We've been bidding on properties in major gateway cities, including Boston and Washington. This happens to be the first one that came together."
Mr. Greenberg, who said he grew up on Miami Beach, said Aleph principals feel intensive development and high traffic on South Beach is opening up the mid-Beach to tourists.
"They're still one minute from great shopping," he said, "but they can also have some quiet when they go back to their hotel room."
Renovations, he said, will bring the property up to date.
"We will have the amenities of a four-star hotel," Mr. Greenberg said, "but we will not be thoroughly trendy.
"There'll be more emphasis on a European flavor, with a St. Tropez-style beach club and an interactive lobby where guests can dine. The second floor will have meeting spaces and a spa, and the rooms and suites will be upgraded.
"We will have a Mistral-style restaurant on the second floor and a good cafe on the first floor."
He estimated room rates at $200-$250 a night.
Renovations will begin in the second quarter 2001, Mr. Greenberg said, with completion due the following fall. It will be done in stages to allow the hotel to stay open as much as possible, he said, though it may have to shut down for a short time.