First post-downturn mixed-use project set to rise in downtown Miami
By Yudislaidy Fernandez
The crane is making its return to Miami's urban core.
Close to beginning construction is the first post-downturn mixed-use development, a 35-floor hotel, residences and office tower led by developer Tibor Hollo.
Mr. Hollo, chairman and president of Florida East Coast Realty, said he expects to break ground on the planned Sonesta Mikado Hotel & Residences in January or February.
This site at 1701 NE Fourth Ave. is the last piece of a large mixed-use development the developer planned in the Omni area.
Already finished are the 42-story luxury apartment building Bay Parc Plaza and the 635-unit luxury condominium Opera Tower.
Mr. Hollo said he hopes to begin building as soon as the City of Miami issues the needed construction permits. Construction is expected to take about two years.
Sonesta Mikado's plans haven't changed, Mr. Hollo said.
The Asian-themed hotel, with 250 hotel rooms and 119 suites for rent or sale, is to be managed by Sonesta, a Boston-based company that owns a hotel in Coconut Grove.
This would be the next hotel Sonesta manages in Miami-Dade. Its long-time Key Biscayne hotel was razed for a project that has yet to begin.
The hotel complex also encompasses 50,000 square feet of medical offices, with the concept that visiting patients can stay and recover at the hotel.
Mr. Hollo said he's already in talks with plastic surgeons interested in offices there.
The upscale hotel is to feature two restaurants and a full-service spa. Other amenities include a recreation deck, bar and grill, and 14,000 square feet of meeting space.
Stephanie Sonnabend, chief executive officer and president of Sonesta International Hotels Corp., didn't return calls.
Hospitality consultant Guy Trusty said Mr. Hollo has always been ahead of his time and has the ability to raise financing because of his longevity in the business.
"He knows his market and has the ability to execute on a project," said Mr. Trusty, president of Lodging & Hospitality Realty. "And I think his timing couldn't be better, and the neighborhood can support it."
Existing hotels in Miami's Omni area are the Hilton Miami Downtown, which Mr. Hollo built, Doubletree Grand Hotel and the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. Nearby, 56-room Tempo Miami recently opened inside Marquis Residences.
If Mr. Hollo begins construction in early 2011, Mr. Trusty said, he would open the mixed-use project in two years — hopefully in an improved economy.
No other hotels are rising now in the urban core. But near Brickell, developer Bernard Wolfson is building a 15-story Hampton Inn and Suites with 221 guest rooms.
Mr. Hollo's firm began developing the Omni area in 1977, sparking the transformation that has led to the bustling district it is today.
This latest project, Mr. Hollo said, would complete about 15 million square feet developed in this neighborhood, which is coming alive with residents, restaurants and entertainment venues.
"It's a very vibrant young community that is taking advantage of the Miami Heat and the performing arts center," he said. "Everything is happening there now."