Saturday, August 6, 2011

Cheeca Lodge Sells for $100M

Some of my Fondest Keys memories involve the iconic Cheeca Lodge in Islamorada.  Having an office directly across the street has only helped to create even more great memories.

Established originally as a fishing camp, Cheeca has grove to become an internationally renowned luxury oasis.  For many years it hosted former President George Bush (the first), numerous celebrities, countless weddings, and of course photo shoots highlighting it's stunning pier that stretched on forever.
The fire, that closed the resort for almost a year, a few years back took some wind out of the sails for a bit, but it has rallied back to true form! 

Now, it is reported that the Cheeca has sold to a New York based company.  Let's hope that they keep it as magical as it has been all of these years!!

Below is an article for

"Cheeca Lodge sells for $100M
Cheeca Lodge Spa, Islamorada's largest hotel, and among its most prestigious, was sold Monday for slightly more than $100 million, said the attorney who represented Wyoming-based seller Cheeca Holdings in the transaction.

The buyer, said Sunrise attorney Andrew Mann, is NWCL, which was formed in June by principals of New York-based Northwood Investors. Northwood also owns hotels, retail centers and other types of commercial properties in eight other cities around the United States as well as one in Europe, according to its website.

Cheeca Lodge, which markets the upscale yet relaxed attitude it likes to project as "Barefoot Elegance," is a pillar of the Islamorada tourist industry. It has hosted a range of dignitaries and celebrities, including former President George Herbert Walker Bush, NASCAR legend Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Academy Award-winner Forest Whitaker.

Its 214 rooms accounted for approximately 30 percent of the $2.05 million in bed tax revenues brought in by the Islamorada district of the Monroe County Tourist Development Council last year, Director Harold Wheeler estimates.
A catastrophic fire gutted the lodge's main building on New Year's Eve 2009, closing it for nearly a year.

Wheeler praised the former owners for the job they did in refurbishing the 27-acre property, and said he hopes the purchase won't bring major changes.

"The management there has done a real good job of bringing it back, hopefully that will continue on," he said.

Gary Clermont, who runs the tennis program at the resort, said that at least as far is he is concerned, things are going forward in the same fashion as before the sale.  It's business as usual," he said.

Cheeca Holdings acquired the lodge for $33 million in 2003, according to a deed recorded in county records. Monday's sale didn't include 97 units that the company has since sold off as hotel-condominiums, Mann said. He stressed that in addition to dealing with the fire, Cheeca Holdings invested a lot of money in the property over its nearly a decade of ownership.  "The place has been totally renovated over the years. A tremendous amount of money went into bringing it up to the standard it is now," Mann said."

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