Tampa's Best Western Bay Harbor sold for $34.5 million

Local investor Ben Mallah has sold off the Best Western Bay Harbor in Tampa, Fla., for more than double what he paid for it in 2012, according to the Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Oxford Capital Group, based in Chicago, paid $34.5 million for the 261-room hotel on 6.69 acres, according to a news release.

Mallah, who is principal of Equity Management Partners, acquired the hotel for $15.25 million in April 2012, according to Hillsborough County property records, and spent several million dollars renovating the property.

The property includes a six-story hotel building and a freestanding, single-story restaurant, as well as three bars, beach volleyball and soccer, jet ski rentals, an outdoor stage, wooden pier and boat dock, heated outdoor pool, 24-hour fitness center and gift shop.

At one point, the site was targeted for a redevelopment that would have built Tampa's first Ritz-Carlton, but those plans collapsed when the real estate market crashed.

The new owners are planning to invest in the property, according to the release, but at $34.5 million, a complete redevelopment of the site is likely out of the question — it would be too expensive an endeavor at that purchase price.

A team of brokers from CBRE Group in Miami, including Robert Taylor and Lisa Zaranek, represented Mallah in the transaction.

“The Best Western Bay Harbor is a stable, well-performing full-service hotel, located in one of the country’s top conference and resort destination markets. It recently benefitted from a $4.3 million renovation, but new ownership now has the opportunity to further upgrade, rebrand and inject new management into this beautiful bay front asset,” Taylor, a senior vice president, said in a statement.

Earlier this year, Mallah had put the property on the market as part of a five-property portfolio, but said at the time he was open to spinning off individual properties.

There's an increasing amount of interest in Rocky Point, with investors looking to buy and improve commercial properties there. ZOM USA, based in Orlando, is planning to demolish the Chart House and build a residential development in its place.

A Tampa developer has plans for a boutique hotel on the former Crawdaddy's Restaurant Site, and several office buildings on Rocky Point have recently changed hands.