The Aloft South Beach is now The Gates Hotel South Beach, and it has a new owner, too.
The hotel’s developer, JMH Development, sold the former Aloft South Beach to Rockpoint Group, a Boston-based real estate investment company, for $105 million, or nearly $447,000 per room, said Jason Halpern, owner and principal of JMH. The sale closed Sept. 22, he said.
At 235 rooms, the resort property at 2360 Collins Ave. was the largest Aloft, then a Starwood boutique hotel brand. On Sept. 23, the same day that Marriott purchased Starwood, Hilton announced that the hotel was now under its Doubletree by Hilton hotel group and had been renamed The Gates Hotel.
The New York-based JMH acquired the two-story Motel Ankara, which opened in 1954 and also operated as Banana Bungalow, in 2004. At the time, the plan was boutique condos, Halpern said. “We launched sales for 85 condo units; we sold 36. When the recession hit and the writing was on the wall, we — unlike most developers — abandoned the project, returned deposits to our buyers and boarded up the motel.” Then Halpern waited.
In 2011, JMH partnered with Mitchell Hochberg, president of Lightstone Group, a New York developer with a hotel specialty, and they began pursuing a hotel; at the time the Miami Beach market was not as saturated with hotel rooms as it is now, Halpern said.
The hotel, which sits on a wedge of land abutting Lake Pancoast, combines the historic motel, which has been restored and expanded, with a new eight-story tower. It opened as an Aloft in June 2015. “It’s a unique building, and we took a lot of pride in the finished product, combining the old and the new,” Halpern said of the Aloft, awarded Hotel Development of the Year by the Americas Lodging Investment Summit this year.
Halpern said he will be focusing on new opportunities and ongoing JMH projects around the nation. In Miami Beach, JMH is developing condominium projects at 300 Collins Ave., 2901 Indian Creek Dr. and 8995 Collins Ave.