In the current lending climate, banks are wary of issuing money for new hotels in Miami-Dade County. Yet Aztec Group Inc. managing director Boaz Ashbel secured a $15.2 million loan for the construction of a Comfort Inn & Suites in Miami Springs.
Ashbel, based in Miami, represented borrower 665 Mokena Partners LLC, a company led by Steven Marin and Michael Pfeffer, in obtaining the loan from TotalBank. The deal closed Jan. 19.
Marin and Pfeffer are part of the leadership of Travelers Hotel Group, a Miami Springs-based hotel acquisition, development and management company.
The Comfort Inn & Suites is to rise at 665 Mokena Drive across Northwest 36th Street from Miami International Airport and a block away from two other hotels Travelers Hotel Group owns and manages.
The hotel’s proximity to the airport and the borrowers’ credibility evidenced by their other nearby hotels helped Ashbel secure the loan in spite of the cooling hotel construction lending market, he said.
“This borrower has been in business for close to 40 years. … In addition, they are very well capitalized and are putting up a tremendous amount of their own cash in the deal,” Ashbel said. “We also have a very strong submarket in the Miami Airport, which is a strong market, spurred of course by the growth of the airport itself.”
Travelers Hotel Group owns the Comfort Suites Miami Airport North at 657 Minola Drive and the Days Inn Miami Airport North at 4749 NW 36th St, according to websites for the hotel group and the hotels.
The $15.2 million loan is about 70 percent of the total $20.5 million construction cost, and the borrower is paying the rest, Ashbel said.
Fewer lenders are making hotel construction loans due to perceptions of rising risk, Ashbel said.
Construction lenders already have “a great deal of exposure in the hotel industry and don’t want to increase the balance of hotel loans they carry on their books,” he said. “And others are just very concerned because there have been so many new hotels that have been built or have been proposed to be built in various places and … the risk profile that these type of loans represents is just too high for them (lenders).”
The Comfort Inn & Suites is to open in mid-2019. The eight-story hotel is to have 120 rooms and suites, a gym, pool and meeting space.