CONDO MEETING A SMASH

The condo hotel conference at the Conrad Miami Sept. 7 and 8 was a success that far exceeded expectations. Not only did The Inaugural Symposium on Financing, Developing and Operating Condo Hotels feature panels that were standing room only, it drew more than 700 people and 37 corporate sponsors to the downtown Miami hotel.

Organized by Information Management Network, the symposium featured panels spanning introductory explanations of this rapidly expanding field and ones exploring the complicated legal, economic and social issues involved. IMN has scheduled a sequel for Dec. 6 and 7 at the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Resort in Las Vegas.

Familiar faces at the Miami meeting included Robert Falor, the condo hotel pioneer who has developed several properties in Chicago and south Florida; and Mike Patel, an Atlanta hotel owner and AAHOA power considering developing his first condo hotel.

“Everybody is puzzled by it,” the Falor Companies CEO and keynote speaker said of the condo hotel boom. “There are very few meetings out there,” so “people are jumping on the bandwagon.”

According to Robert Ivanhoe, a Greenberg Traurig lawyer who shepherded conversion of New York's Plaza Hotel from pure lodging to a mixed-use, condo development, “normally the audience is full of people from Wall Street and people who have spent a lot of time in the industry.” Ivanhoe, who frequently addresses conferences, said this one featured “newcomers on the development side, insurance people, more marginal players. Some were even people who wanted to buy hotel condominium units as an investment. You never see that at these conferences.”

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