That source proved critical for the recent development of the Gale, at 1690 Collins Ave. The entire $35 million project which included gutting, connecting and entirely rebuilding the interiors of two old structures was finished in 11 months, opening in December for Art Basel Miami Beach crowds.
We saw the project go from basically a derelict shell to an open hotel faster than Ive ever seen a project be completed, said Gregory Rumpel, managing director of brokerage firm Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels in Miami, which was not involved in the project. He called the breakneck pace a testimony to their ability to navigate the local politics and regulatory environment.
Builder Jerry McDonald, president of G.T. McDonald Enterprises in Plantation, said his crews were able to work nonstop because the company made decisions fast and had the cash to pay for the labor. McDonalds company is also working on the Gales expansion, which includes an all-suite wing in a neighboring apartment building, as well as the Asian restaurant and a parking garage in the South of Fifth neighborhood.
They have the resources to go ahead and set the development pace as they choose, McDonald said. Its rare. Usually everybody has a song and a great idea....Weve been building on the beach for years and weve seen guys come and go...rarely [do they] have the staying power of the Menin group.
Menin and Galbut are the major shareholders and operating partners of Menin Hotels, which is privately held and does not release financial information. The family has interests in the company as well.
Me, Russell and Keith talk about 25 times a day, said Jared Galbut, the companys managing principal. My last call with Keith is usually about 1 a.m.
Russell Galbut said he sees daily reports on how the hotel company is performing and offers his insights when asked.
They do bounce ideas off of us and ask us for our thoughts on many issues. To the extent that we can help, we do, he said. But this is their show. They have to make it happen.
The second cousins have found their built-in history and varying interests beneficial as they grow the company.
Said Galbut, the numbers guy: Weve been like brothers since we were 2. I dont think weve ever had a fight.
Menin, the deals and marketing guy, explained: The reason I think Jared and I hardly ever clash is because we really like doing things that are the opposite of each other.
Before starting the company, Menin who worked at the family-owned Shelborne Hotel when he was a teenager graduated from Cornell Universitys School of Hotel Administration. After returning to Miami, he turned a family-owned assisted living facility into the 30-room boutique Sanctuary South Beach.
The next year, Menin added the 176-room Raffaello in Chicago, where Jared Galbut was living. Galbut, who studied accounting and finance at the University of Miami, was general manager for several years at that property, which the company still owns. He still travels to Chicago for monthly meetings and to oversee operations at Drumbar, a speakeasy-inspired venue that opened at the hotel last year.
In the meantime, Menin helped develop the Mondrian South Beach, which opened in late 2008 and is operated by Morgans Hotel Group. Driven by a craving for a good slice, he opened Pizza Bar on Collins Avenue in 2009.