Brickell’s Expanding Luxury Hospitality Offerings
Invest: Miami speaks with Thomas Medding, Senior Vice President, sbe and SLS Brickell
What were the main factors behind the decision of investing in Brickell?
Firstly, this project helped us partner with The Related Group, which is extremely important here in Miami and are amazing partners to have. Second, Brickell itself is an amazing location. It has been very intriguing to us all because we could just see the potential ad up-and-coming investments. Across the country, sbe is known for is investments in revitalization of locations. Where other people have backed off, we have always pioneered. Lastly, this is a project that allows us to move into the residential segment.
The first time the company does a residential project is in Miami, What were the main factors behind this decision?
The space of the residences and the workplace is usually too far away from where everything else happens. We wanted to bring the luxury boutique filed to the residence and, this way, allow the condos to share all the wonderful amenities of the hotels. We can delivery 360-degree services to the residence. For example, we offer preferred reservations to all our hotels’ restaurants, full access to the beach and special tickets to events.
What is the uniqueness of Miami as an investment destination in comparison to the other markets you are present in? What are its main opportunities and challenges?
The main opportunity in Miami is its proximity to other countries and the fact that is growing very fast. If you look back 12 years, for example, you would see that if the inventory grew, the demand for such inventory also grew, although with a lag of a few months. Also, in the past four years, Miami has become not only a secondary city but rather it has gained the potential to become a primary city on its own very soon, if it is not already one. The main challenge is the scarcity of qualified personnel. However, if you invest carefully and continuously on human capital, as well as put effort on choosing and retaining the right people, this can be solved.
With more and more hotels opening up in Miami and Airbnb becoming more widespread, how is competition affecting the market?
I think Airbnb fulfills a need. And while there is a market for it, it is not for everybody. Unfortunately, there are no numbers to rely on.,however, it is evident that they have taken a significant chunk out of the hotel market. The way we address it is through our offerings. Airbnb rentals don’t have access to the amenities we can offer. Also, there is a safety aspect, although this last issue could be solved with proper regulation. Speaking of competition amongst hotels in general, is has been very standard. We all compete against each other and it has never been a problem as long as there are no price wars because, at the end of the day, no one wins when that sort of competition is unleashed. In a highly competitive market such as this one is where you can see the advantages of having full integrated services in hotels such as ours, because it has a much more competitive structure.
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