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Business Observer Friday, Nov. 26, 2021 7 months ago

International hotelier has big plans for lot with a long history of big plans

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Long-vacant lot in Tampa to become site of luxury hotel and condominium development.
by: Louis Llovio Commercial Real Estate Editor

Anyone one familiar with downtown Tampa knows the vacant lot. It’s on Ashley Drive, between Whiting and Broein Streets, right on the Riverwalk.

The CapTrust Building sat on the north side for years before being demolished about two years ago. And it was once proposed to be the site of Trump Tower Tampa, a 52-story condominium complex that was never built. Another 50-story development was later planned for the site, Riverwalk Place.

But the wait to fill that vacant lot may have been worth it: plans are now in place to build what could be one of the top hotel and luxury developments in Tampa. The project is from Pendry Hotels & Resorts, which recently signed on to bring a 37-story luxury tower to town with Miami-based developers Two Roads Development. The complex is set to open in 2024.

People see what we see. A livable, cool city that’s growing. Reid Boren, Two Roads Development

 

Pendry, which opened in 2015 and is part of the Montage International chain of luxury hotels, resorts and residences, describes itself a luxury boutique brand. A promotional video introducing the company paints a picture of a hotel differentiating itself in each city, yet bringing amenities that travelers demanding the highest level of service expect. 

In Tampa, the hotel will include 220 rooms, a luxury spa and a rooftop pool on a deck overlooking the Hillsborough River along with fare like an upscale restaurant, a lobby bar and café.  On the floors above the hotel will be 207 condominiums.

“It’s been a long time in coming,” says Reid Boren, managing partner of Two Roads Development, which manages the limited partnership that owns the land.

He says Two Roads’ plans to build on the property have changed over time, saying there have been “several iterations.” The most recent was Riverwalk Place, a 52-floor tower that had been in the works for about five years. But Feldman Equities, Two Roads’ partner in the development, pulled out last year, leaving the project in limbo.

At the time, Two Roads announced it was redesigning the tower and would pursue a luxury boutique hotel on the site. Boren says after the announcement, he began regularly fielding calls from hotel operators who wanted to talk about building on the site before inking a deal with Pendry earlier this year. “I’ll take lucky over smart any time,” he says.

“We’ve been very fortunate that Tampa has shown such great demand and, at this moment, doesn’t have a lot of inventory," he adds. "That both the business community and tourism…and the visibility of Tampa as such an interesting place to be, has all gone our way. So, we feel very fortunate about it.”

Boren says the decision to partner with a luxury hotel brand came from listening to local brokers who say buyers want the full service that comes with a luxury hotel but in a private residence.

The Ritz-Carlton Residences under construction on Bayshore Boulevard will come close, but, unlike Pendry, it will only include residences. Tampa Edition, meanwhile, a key component of the multibillion-dollar Water Street Tampa project, is pegged as the city's first five-star hotel. Currently under construction, that building, with the hotel side under the Marriott flag, consists of 172 hotel rooms and 37 luxury condos. 

Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, in an email statement, says Pendry's arrival shows that the city is continuing to grow and is the type of place top-tier companies want to be a part of. "Diverse, welcoming and booming," she says, "Tampa is a world class community on a roll, and it’s no wonder world class hotels are eager the plant their flags in Tampa.”

At Pendry, the condominiums will come with a dedicated residential staff and offer all the amenities available to the hotel guests. Condo residents will have a private entrance, but once inside the building will have access to the hotel and its offerings, including room service.

Prices for those units will start at $900,000 with penthouses in the $3 million to $4 million range.

On its website, Pendry describes its level of luxury as “polished comfort, modern edge.”

Pendry currently operates in five cities, including Hollywood, California, Chicago and New York and will soon open in Park City, Utah, Cincinnati, Ohio, and Washington D.C. Montage, which started in 2002, has properties outside Los Angeles in Laguna Beach, on Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii, and Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.

Montage was founded by Alan Fuerstman, who remains chairman and CEO. His son Michael is the cofounder and creative director of Pendry.

The company had been looking for a property to develop in Florida when the opportunity arose, with Alan Fuerstman saying the state “was a coveted destination among our guests and residential owners.”

In an interview with Forbes magazine to discuss why Tampa was chosen, he says “the ethos of the brand Pendry is New Luxury and the Tampa location is a solid fit as that city’s trajectory continues to rise.”

Boren declined to disclose the price of the development. He said construction would begin as soon as the property hits a pre-sale target he hopes to reach by the middle of next year. “I’m sure we won’t be the last of them because people see what we see,” Boren says. “A livable, cool city that’s growing.”

 

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