Firm takes over Keys resort icon

Article Courtesy of The Florida Keys Citizen


Published March 31, 2009 


A Connecticut-based private investment firm has taken control of Holiday Isle Beach Resort and Marina, according to a resort employee.


Starwood Capital Group officials spent several days on the property last week, according to the employee, who spoke to The Citizen on the condition of anonymity, fearing a reprimand. Along with them were their counterparts from Ceebraid Signal Corp., the West Palm Beach development company whose $98 million acquisition of Holiday Isle in 2006 was funded in large part by Starwood, the employee said.


Starwood took control of the property on March 3, the employee said.


Holiday Isle General Manager Jack Miller declined to comment, saying inquiries should be directed to Starwood management. Starwood CEO Barry Sternlicht did not return several phone messages seeking comment.


Starwood, through affiliate VII Isle Funding, began foreclosure proceedings on the Holiday Isle property in late January, alleging that Ceebraid-Signal defaulted on the entirety of the $77 million loan Starwood made to the company in 2006.


VII Isle voluntarily dropped the foreclosure action on March 4, Monroe County circuit court records show.


The employee said Ceebraid-Signal agreed to hand the property back to Starwood rather than contest the foreclosure.


Obadon Hotel Group, a management company formed by Ceebraid-Signal, will continue to run the property, the employee said, and a budget of several million dollars is being put together for upgrades to the property.


Sternlicht is the founder of Starwood Hotels and Resorts, parent of such high-end brands as Westin, Sheraton and St. Regis. But Starwood Capital is a distinct entity.


When Ceebraid-Signal acquired Holiday Isle, famous for its Coney Island motif and party atmosphere, plans called for it to be redeveloped into an upscale hotel-condominium with units starting at $1.2 million. The project collapsed under the weight of the deteriorating real estate market.

Note: Ceebraid-Signal is as well the developer of the infamous Eden of Boca condo conversion, where the Boca City Council bent over backwards to accommodate developer Adam Schlesinger, leaving the owners who invested their life-savings in these condos in serious financial distress. So much for our elected officials protecting their constituents! More proof that we have the best elected officials money can buy!