St. Petersburg-based hotel investors just sold the former Ramada Orlando Downtown for $6.6 million. That's a 27 percent gain from its previous selling price of $4.8 million in May.
Built in 1972, the five-story, 205-key hotel at 3155 S. John Young Parkway was sold by brothers Waleed and Sami Anani for about $32,195 per room. It sits on about 4 acres of land.
The sale price is below market value, according to broker Julian Mazili of Mazili Hotel Group. He said similar independent hotels typically sell for about $60,000 a room.
Mazili represented the sellers in the deal, who started renovating the hotel soon after closing on the property just nine months ago. He said the interiors were given a fresh coat of paint and added that the rooms were also given upgrades.
"They intended to renovate the property and run it as a long-term stay hotel," Mazili said. But plans changed. Mazili began marketing the property about a month ago after the sellers told him they knew investors looking for hotels in Orlando, he said.
According to a deed recorded Wednesday in Orange County, the buyer is a Winchester, Virginia-based company led by Iraqi businessmen Muhammad Al-Harmoosh and Jawad Al-Harmoosh.
Muhammad Al-Harmoosh is an Iraqi and American citizen whose Iraqi-based company Al-Harmoosh for General Trade, Travel, and Tourism (AGTTT) went out of business in 2008, and was later caught in a legal battle between his company's creditor Iraq Middle Market Development Foundation (IMMDF). In 2010, the creditor filed suit against Al-Harmoosh in the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland for allegedly avoiding the collection of a $2 million debt that Al-Harmoosh borrowed to expand his business. Court documents show the complaint was dismissed and submitted to arbitration in 2016.
The partners financed the most recent deal with a $3.6 million loan from Miami-based commercial lending firm CMG Capital.
The hotel, now temporarily closed and no longer under the Ramada flag, will continue to be renovated and eventually re-opened by the buyers, Mazili said.
Prior to the Anani's purchasing the property, it had been owned by Arkansas-based fuel wholesaler Jeffrey Magness, who paid more than $4.9 million for the property in late December 2015.
The Ananis also own limited service hotels in the Tampa and St. Petersburg markets, including the Palm Bay Motel, where they have drawn scrutiny from the Pinellas County Tax Collector's office in recent years for marketing to weekly renters.
In 2017, a nearby 201-key Days Inn just two blocks to the south sold for sold for $6 million to a New York-based investor. Both hotels are within walking distance of the Orange County Correctional Facility, at exit 79 of Interstate 4.