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Philadelphia hotelier launches Miami expansion with purchase of Coconut Grove’s Ritz Carlton

Rendering of the upscale, 135-room hotel Hersha Hospitality Trust has planned for Merrick Park.
Rendering of the upscale, 135-room hotel Hersha Hospitality Trust has planned for Merrick Park. Hersha Hospitality Trust

At a time when hotels in Miami-Dade are struggling, Philadelphia-based Hersha Hospitality Trust is betting on the future of the local hotel industry.

Hersha, which owns and operates 53 hotels around the country, including six in South Florida, is expanding its local footprint.

Hersha President Neil Shah, who moved to Coconut Grove six months ago, will oversee the expansion, beginning with one hotel in Coconut Grove and one in Coral Gables.

On Wednesday, Hersha announced it had acquired the 115-room Ritz-Carlton, Coconut Grove in a $36 million deal from Gencom, that will bring with it a $10 million renovation. The hotel will continue to operate as part of the Ritz-Carlton brand.

“We intend to breathe fresh air into this unique, waterfront urban resort,” Shah said in a statement. “We will add three rooms, reinvent the restaurant with an exciting new operator, recreate a destination cocktail bar, enhance the spa, and refresh the guestroom experience.”

The hotel is adjacent to Hersha’s 140-room Residence Inn Miami Coconut Grove. The company, which has been in Miami-Dade for five years, also operates The Winter Haven; The Blue Moon Hotel; The Courtyard Cadillac in Miami Beach and the Parrot Key Hotel & Resort in Key West. Shah said he envisions Miami becoming a key market for the company, like New York, where Hersha has 17 hotels.

Next on its radar is developing a 135-room hotel in Coral Gables’ Merrick Park that will include 20 suites and one penthouse suite.

The upscale property will cater to “the needs of discerning business and leisure travelers, small groups and the local community,” Hersha said, with a modern design and extensive art collection. Features will include an indoor/outdoor cafe, restaurant, rooftop garden, gym and pool.

The hotel will be located on a plot of land at 4241 Aurora Street with an opening scheduled for early 2019. A brand has not yet been named.

Chabeli Herrera: 305-376-3730, @ChabeliH

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