6999 Hotel Rooms Downtown More Due
By Blanca Venegas
Brickell and Downtown Miami have 31 hotels comprising 6,999 rooms. Yet hotel industry experts project a significant growth over the next few years.
According to Wendy Kallergis, president and CEO of the Greater Miami & the Beaches Hotel Association, the 6,999 rooms include the recently-built Aloft Hotel Miami Brickell — set to open June 20 — and the recently-opened b2 Miami Downtown.
There will be significant growth over the next few years, she said, with the addition of Brickell Citicentre and SLS Brickell Hotel and Residences.
Additionally, Ms. Kallergis said, the recent announcement of an MDM Miami Convention Center Hotel project downtown and the Resorts World Miami land purchase in the Omni area could potentially add at least 2,500 rooms to the area.
"With the increase of conference and meeting space, the group business will increase as well as the transient, international and luxury market," she said.
Brickell CityCentre will have 236 rooms in its East hotel, while SLS Brickell Hotel and Residences will have 133 rooms and suites.
"We predict that over the next five years, we will have 7,500 to 10,000 additional rooms in Miami-Dade County," Ms. Kallergis said.
The total of Brickell rooms is 2,024 at the moment.
Sig Varela, general manager at b2 Miami Downtown hotel, said that since downtown has taken a turn in its revitalization, going from an aged shopping district to incorporating performing arts, developers are building new hotels in the area and will very likely continue to do so in the next years.
"The growth in downtown is amazing," Mr. Varela said. "Commercial rental space is something that is moving forward very positively, and businesses are coming to downtown, whereas before they stayed further out from the center of the city."
"Downtown has a number of components that are attractive to visitors, because of entertainment and food, and from a price point also it can be more attractive than staying at the beach," Mr. Varela added.
b2 Miami Downtown hotel has 243 rooms. Rates start at $99 per night.
Mr. Varela also said the downtown market has been able to maintain essentially flat occupancy compared to last year and has been able to increase the average daily rate. "That says that demand is maintaining and the disposable income, particularly from the leisure market, is increasing, allowing for that growth in the average daily rate."
Eric Jellson, area director of sales and marketing for Kimpton hotels Florida/Epic Hotel, said restaurants, bistros and galleries changed the complexion of what downtown was to what it is today.
"As [downtown] continued to gather mass and density, people started to go out at night," Mr. Jellson said. "They saw the restaurants, the design district, all of these things started to come together for downtown, and that’s what opened people’s eyes from a hotel perspective, a tourist perspective and a convention perspective."
"There’s great growth in traffic from leisure and convention business," he added.
Tatyana Li, sales director at Aloft Brickell, said the hotel’s proximity to the financial district is what attracted Aloft to Brickell.
"We have mostly executive stay, corporate business travel because [Aloft Brickell] is so close to the financial district," Ms. Li said.
Aloft Brickell was originally scheduled to open in May, but a delay in construction pushed the date forward to June 20.
Aloft Hotel has 160 rooms. Rates start at $159 in the summer and could increase to $189 after September.
"I foresee in the end of 2013 and 2014 there will be a potential growth in the rates," Ms. Li added.
No sources at SLS Brickell Hotel and Residences could be reached. It is in preliminary stages of development.To read the entire issue of Miami Today online, subscribe to e-MIAMI TODAY, an exact digital replica of the printed edition.