Florida Keys News - Key West Citizen
Sunday, May 19, 2013
Another hotel group puts properties on the market

With the island still getting used to the change in ownership of The Pier House Resort, another hotel group announced recently that its four properties are on the market.

The Southernmost Hotel Collection is on the market, and is listed with Eastdil real estate brokers, which sold the Pier House, said Dale Rands, a managing partner of the group that owns the Southernmost Hotel Collection. That collection includes the Southernmost Hotel, Southernmost on the Beach, La Mer and Dewey House.

"We have not put a listing price on the collection," said Rands, who said that is typical. In response to local lodging officials who had quoted an asking price of $172 million, Rands said they likely were "just doing the math," knowing that the Pier House sold for $90 million.

"Our collection is not listed for any price," Rands emphasized on Friday.

"The ownership group has owned the collection since 1985 and we're not getting any younger," he said. "We decided it would be a good time to develop an exit strategy. We've adored this business and it's important to us that it gets into the right hands, and we believe there's an excellent chance that the vast, vast majority of our staff will be retained and we've been very candid with our employees about the sale."

His statement came a week after the Remington firm took over management of the Pier House and "released" dozens of employees from the resort's employ.

The Southernmost Hotel Collection includes 216 rooms, Rands said.

Jodi Weinhofer, president of the Lodging Association of the Florida Keys Key West, said on Friday that the sale didn't surprise her.

"All hotel properties are always for sale for the right price," she said. "But with money and lending having been tight for the last several years, our strength as a destination makes it an opportune time to sell. Those hotels recently have gone through major renovations, so it's not terribly unusual to see it go on the market."

She added that the hotels likely would be sold as a collection, and Rands said it is being marketed as such, rather than individual properties.

"They've assembled the perfect combination of lodging options," Weinhofer said. "It's been very strategic what they've bought in that they can accommodate any type of visitor from weddings and corporate groups, to families and couples, and it would make sense for it to remain a collection."

Despite the properties being on the market, it is business as usual at the Southernmost Hotel Collection for both employees and guests, and all properties remain open.

mmiles@keysnews.com

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