Over the last couple decades, the Marlin Hotel has welcomed a revolving door of recording artists thanks to its in-house South Beach Studios.
For its next chapter, the hotel once owned by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell will continue to embrace those musical roots — but without the studio.
The 14-room boutique at 1200 Collins Ave. was sold this week to local group MRK Investments for $9.5 million. The new owners plan to renovate, add more rooms and open a restaurant with the team behind South Beach’s Macchialina. MRK is a silent partner in that restaurant.
EWM Realty International, the Christie’s International Real Estate affiliate that brokered the deal, announced the sale Tuesday morning. The transaction closed late Monday.
“They’re looking to really make it a true luxury product,” said Jason Zarco, an EWM associate who represented the buyer. Luxury associates Jeffrey Cohen and Luigi Mercurio represented the seller, Brazilian retail developer Mario Valadares da Costa. He bought the hotel in 2009 for $5.5 million and renovated the property in 2011.
The Marlin, designed by Raleigh architect L. Murray Dixon, was built in 1939. Blackwell bought it in the 1980s and opened the studio several years later. Over the years, artists including Bob Marley, Jay Z, U2, Aerosmith and Pharrell Williams recorded and spent time there. Blackwell, whose Island Outpost includes a collection of properties in Jamaica, sold the South Beach hotel in 2004.
Joe Galdo, a producer who opened South Beach Studios with Blackwell, said the music studio is now shut down in the Marlin space but stayed busy until it closed at the beginning of the month. He was packing up on Tuesday, but said he’s open to finding a new partnership to relocate.
Zarco said the new owners will convert the space that the studio occupied into rooms but will incorporate the hotel’s musical history in the new design. By the time renovations are done, plans call for the property to have 28 or 29 rooms.
“They need to go ahead and use that space in order to create the amount of luxury hotel rooms that they need to get the hotel up to the standard they want,” he said.
The renovation will take place in phases, Zarco said, and the hotel will not close. A timeline for the changes has not been confirmed.