Developer plans to turn Savoy into condo hotel
By Suzy Valentine
A British company has paid $33 million for the Savoy Hotel and a nearby Miami Beach parking lot even though one property has a defective title.
Savoy Hotel Partners bought the 425 Ocean Dr. property and a lot at Northeast Fourth Street and Collins Avenue from Arden Savoy Partners. The seller paid $18 million for the properties in 2001.
The defective title derives from Sunterra, a previous owner that planned to sell units on a timeshare basis but went bankrupt, said Gary Cohen, a partner with Cohen Meuniere Aguirre, a Miami Beach development firm.
"The deal closed on June 24 without 100% title," he said. "The new owners have also inherited some tenants-in-common, but that situation should be rectified in three months."
Savoy Hotel Partners plans to convert the existing 1930s property into a condo hotel and to double its size from 70,000 to 140,000 square feet. The group hopes to build a 39,000-square-foot, seven-story condominium on the parking-lot site at a cost of up to $13 million.
"The permitting stage should last from six months to a year," said Mr. Cohen, "with completion in 2008."
He said Arden Savoy Partners, a joint venture of the Arden Group of Philadelphia and Gemstone Properties, made some applications to the City of Miami Beach during its four-year ownership.
"They had started to go through the city," said Mr. Cohen, "and get plans approved, but the owner sold at a nice profit."
Though the units have yet to be priced, he said they would command market rates.
"The Tides units are selling at $1,600 per square foot," Mr. Cohen said of another condo-hotel conversion in Miami Beach, "so we would expect that units would cost in that order."
He would not name the London purchaser but said it has other interests in Florida. "It's the group's first major project in Miami," said Mr. Cohen, "but we're working together on a 1,330-unit condominium project in Orlando."
Restaurant OLA, also a tenant at the Village of Merrick Park in Coral Gables, is to open Aug. 22 at the Savoy Hotel. The restaurant's original site at 5061 Biscayne Blvd. has closed.