Owners of the Flamingo Waterpark Resort on E192 at the Florida Turnpike exit paid $2 million on Tuesday to buy the 22.5-acre abandoned golf course adjacent to their hotel.
The acquisition comes nearly two years after Miami-based Blue Road paid $9 million to buy the 245-room full-service hotel. Principals Jorge Savloff and Marcelo Tenenbaum renovated the family-friendly hotel, which features multiple water slides and swimming pools.
Savloff's daughter Jazmin Savloff, a broker with Blue B Properties, represented the buyers in the golf course purchase.
Blue Road primarily builds high-end condos in South Florida and operates several luxury hotels, according to the company website. Savloff and Tenenbaum, both natives of Argentina, recently launched an $18 million renovation of the historic Art Deco Berkeley Shore hotel in South Beach.
Tenenbaum told GrowthSpotter that Blue Road has invested $2 million so far in renovations and rebranding at the Flamingo. The company is in the process of converting 60 rooms to a new "Flamingo Express" brand that will cater to business travelers.
"It will have a different parking area, different amenities," he said. "We think there's a market for that, and the properties we see for that customer is a lower quality, budget hotel. We can provide things that a 40- or 50-room hotel can't -- like good espresso coffee and a fresh omelet -- just good service. We are taking advantage of our scale to provide that at a competitive price."
Blue Road also controls nearly 4 acres of vacant land in front of the hotel with frontage on U.S. 192, and Tenenbaum said the firm expects to start construction within the next year on a 30,000-square-foot shopping center, to be called "Flamingo Shops."
The acquisition of the former Par 3 golf course behind the hotel presents even more opportunities. The property can be accessed from E192 and from Simpson Road.
"The new land – we have some need for parking and water retention – so we will take advantage of the new site to solve those issues," he said. "Some of that land will be used for residential."
Clyde Wells, a land brokerage specialist with Maury L. Carter & Associates, represented the sellers, a family trust that had owned the property since 1988.
The property is zoned Commercial Tourist, which allows for high-density housing, hotels, offices or retail development. Numerous developers have targeted the area for affordable housing, but Wells said Blue Road plans to build market rate housing.
"This is a long-term play for them," Wells said. "This is something they're going to build themselves."
Wells said the county's investment to convert a former sod farm into a premier high-tech research park -- anchored by the Florida Advanced Manufacturing Research Center -- has boosted the value of the entire E192 corridor.
"I think it's important that the whole area is starting to see a lot of growth, and I think it's because of what's happening with the sensor center," he said.
Because the property lies within the E192 CRA District, it is subject to a building moratorium until late October. That means the county will not even process any permit applications until the moratorium expires and the county adopts a set of design guidelines for the district.
Tenenbaum said he and his partners don't have a problem abiding by design guidelines, it's something they've grown used to because of their work in Miami Beach.
"When the government pushes developers to do something nicer with more landscaping and better architectural design, we embrace that," he said. "Yes, it's more work and takes longer but at the same time, you create a lot of value."
Tenenbaum said Blue Road would likely seek permits to build 150-200 multifamily units within the next four years. The rest of the site will be held for future development.
"We are a very long-term kind of oriented company," he said. "We seldom do things in the short term. Our hotel activity in Miami Beach began 20 years ago. We look at this in terms of the next 10, 15, or 20 years – we're not looking at what's happening tomorrow. That's why we prefer to have a big piece of land and have ability to adjust our project."