Pritzker bringing Roosevelt-style hotel to Miami Beach


The Hollywood Roosevelt in L.A. is coming to Miami Beach.

One of the West Coast's most recognizable hotels is now set to become a brand, with its first destination Miami Beach. The Wall Street Journal reports that John Pritzker's Geolo Capital and partners have purchased a Miami Beach apartment complex with plans to convert it into a boutique hotel called the Miami Beach Roosevelt, which will be operated by Pritzker's Commune Hotels & Resorts—the current operator of Los Angeles' Hollywood Roosevelt.

The Geolo-led group reportedly has paid $100 million to purchase the Crown at Miami Beach apartment complex, with the intention to outlay an additional $67 million toward converting the complex into the 388-room Roosevelt hotel by late 2014 into a 388-room Roosevelt hotel modeled after the Los Angeles property it will share its name with.

"I think Miami Beach represents a seminal moment for us," Pritzker told The Journal. "This was a very big deal, a very big hotel—and it is expensive to fix. I think that is going to be one of our calling cards."

The project will be the largest for Commune since Pritzker, the son of Hyatt Hotels Corp. founder Jay Pritzker, formed Commune in 2011 by merging Joie de Vivre Hospitality with Thompson Hotels. Commune is now led by the former president and COO of Kimpton Hotels and Resorts, Niki Leondakis.

The strategy going forward will be to grow the Roosevelt brand by converting historic buildings into boutique hotels. The effort will be led by him and Commune co-chairman Jason Pomeranc.

The Crown is the third historic property that Commune has marked for conversion into a hotel. In Chicago, Commune is redeveloping the Chicago Athletic Association building into a 260-room hotel, while in Manhattan, it is doing the same at 5 Beekman St. (There is also word of a 260-room project to be managed by Commune at 11 East 31st Street, also in New York.) And, since, Miami is an attractive destination for well-heeled South Americans, namely Brazilians, Pritzker and Pomeranc say the Roosevelt Miami Beach eventually will serve as a template for expanding the brand into South America.

For the build out and design, Commune has hired Miami-based Kobe Karp Architects and Interior Design Inc. and designer Martin Brudnizki. Though specific servcies and amenities have yet to be decided, word is there will be two restaurants and a poolside bar. The overall intent will be for the hotel to closely mimick the L.A. property, which has been managed by Thompson (now Commune) since 2003. The hotel is a celebrity favorite and very trendy, featuring a library bar, a game-room bar with two vintage bowling lanes and a formal restaurant. It hosted the first Academy Awards ceremony.

Geolo's partners in buying the Miami Beach property are Greenoaks Capital Management LLC, Downtown Properties Holdings and CCL Realty III.



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