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The Dealmaker - ONE Sothebys’ Susan Gale Brings the Heat to Miami Beach’s Hotel Market

Real estate hospitality expert Susan Gale with ONE Sotheby’s International Realty recalls her first hotel sale, a boutique property on Miami Beach’s Ocean Drive that traded for $500,000 in 1990. Since then, the South Florida hotel market has undergone a dramatic evolution, and Gale has seen it all.

“I started selling hotels and development deals in South Beach when it was a distressed retirement town and many of the trophy hotels of today were in disrepair or hadn’t yet been built,” said Gale. “I have seen the evolution of this city and I am glad to have been a part of it, brokering hotel deals to national and international clients who have renovated the properties to improve the hospitality profile of Miami Beach.”

Leading the industry with more than three decades of deal-making under her belt, Gale has sold over 100 hotels across South Florida. In early 2020, the areas hospitality industry was booming with high occupancy and strong average daily rates – then the pandemic hit.

“The mandated lockdown in March brought that euphoria and optimism to a screeching halt,” said Gale. “Despite the impact the pandemic had on the industry, we remained very active and we were consistently receiving inquiries from both national and international buyers interested in this market. Some were opportunistic, looking to acquire assets at deeply discounted prices for quick cash closings or with creative financing options including seller financing, crypto currency, and white paper.”

In Miami, Gale is seeing the recovery firsthand, with nearly $100 million in deals closed in just two weeks, and increased demand from foreign and domestic investors betting big on the market.

“We have been incredibly busy,” says Gale. “We are getting dozens of calls a week from companies and investors who want to get in on this market. World-class names in the hospitality industry are betting big on South Florida’s long term value proposition.”

A report by Lodging Analytics Research and Consulting names Miami as one of its top markets for growth in the hospitality sector and anticipates U.S. hotel property values will increase 19.5% by the end of the year with a forecasted full recovery of the industry by 2022.

Most recently, Gale put together two off-market deals that are indicative of the future of the market.

The beachfront COMO Traymore Hotel closed for $70 million and will undergo an extensive renovation be re-branded as a five-star Fasano property. At nearly $1 million per key, the sale is the most expensive hotel deal to close since the onset of the pandemic.

“The price point speaks to the demand of oceanfront property in Miami Beach, there’s only a finite amount of it,” added Gale. “In two years, this is going to look like a bargain!”

Gale also sold the iconic Hotel Astor for $12.75 million. The new owners plan to breathe new life into shuttered property, and Gale expects the renovations will bring the value to $500,000 per key.

“Through it all, my innate ability to understand my clients’ requirements and motivation, as well as my strong network and negotiation skills have made it possible to successfully put together mutually beneficial deals over the past 30 years,” said Gale. “I have always passionately believed in Miami as a global destination and look forward to seeing how the city will continue to evolve.”


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