Victory Investments Group acquires the Astor hotel in Miami Beach

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(Facebook via Astor Miami Beach Hotel)

The Astor Hotel, an iconic Miami Beach Art Deco property that has been at the center of an alleged EB-5 fraud and two bankruptcy filings, has a new owner.

Victory Investments Group, whose records show it is led by Anil Monga, paid $ 12.8 million for the closed 42-room hotel at 956 Washington Avenue in South Beach. Monga is the CEO of Victory International USA, which manufactures and distributes branded perfumes and cosmetics, according to Monga’s LinkedIn. Monga is also a hotel investor.

Property records show that 1651 Astor LLC sold the building, which includes a swimming pool and over 4,000 square feet of dining space. It was built in 1936 on 14,900 square feet of land. The two-storey hotel was designed by T. Hunter Henderson.

The selling price is equivalent to approximately $ 304,000 per room.

Susan Gale of One Sotheby’s International Realty represented the buyer and seller.

1651 Astor LLC, a Florida company that lists an address in Switzerland, has previously attempted to sell the ground lease for the property for $ 12 million. Astor EB-5 LLC was the tenant who filed for bankruptcy twice, according to the documents. The lessor and fee simple owner, 1651 Astor LLC, acquired the land lease and the building in a bankruptcy auction earlier this year, court records show.

Before its closure in 2018, the tenant was the subject of several lawsuits. Astor EB-5 LLC was previously controlled by attorney David J. Hart, who raised $ 9 million from EB-5 investors in Brazil, China and Venezuela. Hart was charged with “mixing” personal funds with corporate funds and using the hotel “as his own personal piggy bank,” according to court documents.

Stearns Weaver Miller’s attorney, Eric Silver, who represented trustee Drew Dillworth in the bankruptcy case, said the property had fallen into disrepair, which was “readily apparent to a layman”, before the involvement of the trustee.

“It was a tough business because there was growing debts, a ton of money owed to the owner. Utilities weren’t paid, ”Silver said. “It was an attractive nuisance when it fell into the hands of the trustee.

After the property was sold back to the landlord, the Chapter 11 bankruptcy was converted to a Chapter 7 case, Silver said.

Hotel sales have increased in recent months. The Chetrit Group recently sold the Fairwind Miami Beach Hotel for $ 42 million; and in a separate deal, the Como Metropolitan Miami Beach hotel traded for $ 70 million.

Gale, who declined to identify the buyer of the Astor hotel, said his client had paid all cash for the property and planned to invest “a substantial amount of money” in renovations and repairs. She said the deal had been around for about three months.

She said the buyer plans to bring a New York-based restaurant to the property and hire a management company to operate the hotel, both of which are intended to increase value.

“He wants to take him back to the days of the great lady he was,” Gale said.


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