Hotel Back In Brickell Project Plan
Written by Eric Kalis on June 21, 2007
By Eric Kalis
The developer of the Villa Magna luxury residential project planned for the last bayfront parcel in Brickell wants to replace about 175,000 square feet of condo space in his plans with hotel suites.
Developer Tibor Hollo is asking Miami commissioners to allow a 178,506-square-foot hotel and 114,290 square feet of commercial space on the 2.5-acre property at 1201 Brickell Bay Dr. Plans for the $200 million development originally called for 1,120 residences.
Mr. Hollo was unavailable for comment on the change of plans. Hospitality experts say he could struggle, however, with a high-end hotel in an already-competitive Brickell area.
Mr. Hollo included a hotel in original designs for Villa Magna but scrapped the idea.
A slower market for high-end condos probably led to the most recent change, said hospitality consultant Guy Trusty. "Looking at Brickell and the downtown area, the high-end condo market is not doing well," he said. "Projects that have not started yet are having a tough time getting started."
With five-star hotels nearby, a high-end hotel at Villa Magna would not be the best use of valuable bayfront, Mr. Trusty said. "A high-end hotel is going to compete with most of what is already there in the market. That market has matured fully to this point."
Brickell needs a hotel for guests who cannot afford 5-star suites, Mr. Trusty said.
"If it is feasible to put a hotel that is a rung below a Four Seasons and still afford the land costs, it would be very viable.
Merging the residential and hotel portions to offer a condo-hotel would strengthen the product, said Michael Lerner, developer of Flamingo South Beach. "A condo-hotel component is easy to manage," he said.
Project officials have said construction of the first tower would begin in August after permitting is complete.