A U.S. bankruptcy judge in Fort Lauderdale has approved the pending $22.5 million sale of the oceanfront site of an abandoned Howard Johnson’s hotel on A1A in Fort Lauderdale.

MAH Cignal Holdings LLC, a Timonium, Maryland, company managed by Armando Cignarale, is set to acquire the 700 N. Fort Lauderdale Beach Blvd. site after emerging from a Chapter 11 bankruptcy auction as the high bidder. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Raymond B. Ray on Friday approved the auction result. The transaction is expected to close on March 15.

A backup bid of $20 million was made by another investor in case the sale to MAH Cignal does not close.

Transacta Prive Developers Ltd., a Surfside company managed by developer Silvia Coltrane, filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in August 2011. It cited between $50 million and $100 million in debt. The company paid $20.6 million in August 2005 for the 1.24-acre property with plans to build condos. It had obtained $16 million in financing from a group of three lenders led by BankUnited.

The Howard Johnson site generated significant interest from developers, according to Fort Lauderdale attorney Arthur Rice, a partner at Rice Pugatch Robinson & Schiller. Rice and firm partner Lisa Schiller represented BankUnited in the Transacta case.

"The bank was involved in shaping the process and is pleased with the results," Rice said.

CBRE vice chairman Robert Given marketed the property to potential buyers.