Miami’s First Waldorf Set to Rise 1,000 Feet Over Biscayne Bay

by Bloomberg

A real estate developer has signed a contract for the first Waldorf Astoria in Miami, betting that a famous-named hotel in a 1,049-foot skyscraper will help sell condos in a market awash in high-end units.

Property Markets Group, co-developer of 111 W. 57th St. on Manhattan’s Billionaire's Row, plans to break ground next year on the 140-key hotel and about 400 apartments. The design calls for nine offset glass cubes overlooking Biscayne Bay, a stark contrast with Waldorf’s art deco flagship in New York, currently closed for extensive renovations.Total sales are projected to top $1 billion, according to Ryan Shear, a principal.

The move comes as an oversupply of luxury homes is slowing sales in major U.S. cities and as branded residences gain deeper traction. In Miami, developers have recently teamed with luxury brands; such as Porsche and Armani/Casa. Elsewhere, hotel flags like St. Regis have provided branding and services to apartment buildings that don’t include hotels. The idea is to woo buyers with name recognition and, in the case of hotel-branded homes, by offering them access to luxury-hotel amenities.

“We’re a large developer, but there are many large developers,” Shear said. “We have to describe to people who we are and what we build. If you’re able to just say, ‘We’re building a Waldorf Astoria,’ they get it immediately.”

Shear, whose company is developing the project along with Greybrook Realty Partners and S2 Development, said he’d wait until the Miami market shows more life before launching a sales office.

For Waldorf, the luxury brand owned by Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc., the project marks the latest step in its march through world cities. Over the past decade, Hilton has opened Waldorf hotels in Amsterdam, Dubai and Shanghai, among others, and it’s looking at further expansion in the U.S.

“I think we still have a handful of markets we should be in,” said Dino Michael, the Hilton executive in charge of the brand.