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Upscale hostel brand Generator has doubled its local presence. What does it mean?

The London-based hostel brand Generator acquired Freehand Hotels and its cocktail sibling Broken Shaker.
The London-based hostel brand Generator acquired Freehand Hotels and its cocktail sibling Broken Shaker.

Upscale European hostel brand Generator is doubling its Miami Beach presence.

Generator announced Monday it has purchased the four hotels owned by Freehand, another upscale hostel brand, for $400 million. The Miami Freehand is best known as home to the Broken Shaker, voted the best bar in America last year.

London-based Generator made its U.S. debut in 2018 in Miami Beach, when it opened a 105-room resort in mid-Miami Beach at 3120 Collins Ave., near Faena. The 63-room Freehand is located about four blocks south, at 2727 Indian Creek.

“The location in Miami is important. That’s where the whole story [with Broken Shaker] started. Miami is such a cool destination. Shaker wouldn’t have been as successful if it hadn’t been in Miami,” said Generator CEO Alastair Thomann.

The acquisition gives Generator entree into additional U.S. markets in Chicago, Los Angeles and New York, bringing Generator’s total portfolio to 18.

Thomann is looking to purchase one additional property in Los Angeles and another in New York.

Freehand Broken Shaker patio 2 Adrian Gaut
The London-based, hostel brand Generator acquired Freehand Hotels and its cocktail sibling Broken Shaker.

Freehand opened its first hostel in 2012 in Miami. Generator opened in 2011 and quickly became known for its center-city locations in European hot spots. While all of its lodgings focus on stylish communal areas, Generator’s Miami Beach hotel is its most upscale, with two dining venues and a Mid-Century Modern vibe. Accommodations range from four-bunk quad rooms to private doubles and suites.

Fast Company has recognized Generator among the top 50 Most Innovative Global Companies.

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“The location in Miami is important. That’s where the whole story [with Broken Shaker] started. Miami is such a cool destination. Shaker wouldn’t have been as successful if it hadn’t been in Miami,” said Generator CEO Alastair Thomann.

In the coming weeks, Thomann plans to upgrade Freehand’s Miami Beach rooms, along with its lighting and air conditioning. Updates should be complete within six to nine months, he said.

Broken Shaker also will get new freezers and air-conditioning equipment. But besides those changes, said Thomann, Broken Shaker will remain untouched.

“We’re going to make sure we keep the magic going,” said Thomann. “We’re going to make sure it stays exactly as is.”

Generator’s Miami expansion makes sense to Daniel A. Robles. The senior associate for Ernst and Young, a U.K.-based hospitality consultancy company, said, “We are seeing so many areas gentrify and tourism is seeing positive growth because there’s more to see than just Miami Beach.”

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The brand’s expansion in Miami doesn’t take Daniel A. Robles by surprise. The senior associate for Ernst and Young, a UK-based hospitality consultancy company, said, “We are seeing so many areas gentrify and tourism is seeing positive growth because there’s more to see than just Miami Beach.”

The evolution of the Design District and Wynwood are drawing foot traffic to other parts of the Magic City previously not on the map. “We expect to see continual growth in hospitality,” said Robles.

“It’s offering a unique product that’s in line with consumer, experiential demand at an affordable price point.”

Generator isn’t the only one expanding its brand in the area. Hospitality brands Moxy, Selina and Virgin Hotels are also growing in Miami.

Rebecca San Juan writes about the real estate industry, covering news about industrial, commercial, office projects, construction contracts and the intersection of real estate and law for industry professionals. She studied at Mount Holyoke College and is proud to be reporting on her hometown.
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