MIAMI—It’s no secret that New Yorkers are among the most active investors in Miami Beach hotels. What’s the connection? And why are boutique hotels suddenly so hot? We caught up with Suzanne M. Amaducci-Adams, partner with Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod who leads the firm's hospitality group, to get her take on these and other questions in part two of this exclusive interview. You can still go back and read part one, "Why Miami Hotel Prices are Breaking" records, if you missed it.
GlobeSt.com: One of the most active real estate groups buying hotels in Miami Beach are New Yorkers. What’s the New York-Miami Beach connection?
Amaducci-Adams: There has always been a natural synergy between New York and Miami. Much of the hedge fund money and international investors come through New York but New Yorkers have a love affair with the Miami culture. We are also seeing a large uptick in New Yorkers buying luxury residences here.
GlobeSt.com: What is happening with the boutique hotels in Miami Beach that all of the sudden investors are going after them?
Amaducci-Adams: I would not say all of a sudden. Boutique hotels have simply evolved over time. Each property tends to be unique as far as the real estate is concerned. But all boutique hotels have a common focus on quality and customer service and maintain a strong and loyal customer base.
We see many types of boutique hotels developing a unique identity. For example, the Betsy is known for its arts and philanthropy focus while Kimpton and SLS are known for their food and beverage outlets. Now, fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger is entering the Miami Beach market with plans to buy and renovate a boutique hotel and put his own spin on it. Even the national hotel brands, like Marriott with its Edition concept, have or are developing their own boutique brands in an effort to compete in this popular market segment.
Boutique hotels have been sought after investments for foreign families with extensive hotel ownership and operational expertise abroad. These investors tends to be all cash buyers. Lately, hotel investors have been combining property operations for several boutique hotels under one umbrella and creating a campus feel while reducing costs and increasing operational efficiencies for these smaller properties. Boutique hotels seem to have something for everyone.
GlobeSt.com: In the last decade, Miami Beach has transformed itself into a global city. From tourists to foreign investors, they all want to be in Miami Beach. How is that transformation impacting Miami Beach real estate?
Amaducci-Adams: Simply put, Miami Beach has become a luxury brand. Whether you look at hospitality, retail, residential, restaurant space or even the marinas—each is commanding a record-breaking price. It was not that long ago when a mom-and-pop business could afford a location on Lincoln Road.
In today's market, it is high rents and luxury offerings catering to very sophisticated customers. But for those that like the old Miami Beach, you can still find a few hidden treasures and bargains—you just need to look a little harder for them.
This article is reprinted with permission from GlobeSt.com.