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One of New York’s Biggest Hotel Owners Makes His Move in West Palm Beach

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Richard Vaughan is one of New York City’s largest hotel owners. One of the lessons he learned during the Covid-19 pandemic was the need to diversify his business when his estate was closed for months.

“I was very focused on New York and very focused on hospitality.

Now he is away from both. Mr. Bourne is an investor in his 2 million square foot project in West Palm Beach, Florida. The project includes hotels, rental apartments, condominiums, retail stores and office buildings.

The developer plans to break ground on the first phase, which will include 13 buildings and 150,000 square feet of retail, bars and restaurants, this month. According to one of his partners, the total cost of the project should approach his $1 billion.

Bourne has designed a 175-room hotel on the property, which he says will likely have the look and feel of a New York hotel rather than mimic local design aesthetics. That means, for example, red brick exteriors instead of white stucco, and old wood interiors rather than marble or brass.

“You might think of Ludlow, Mercer, and the Bowery,” he said, listing three of Manhattan’s most popular hotels.

Bourne’s new project is the latest sign that many executives in the New York real estate community are concluding that the opportunities in South Florida have become too significant to ignore.

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Miami used to be the most popular destination, but West Palm Beach has been gaining popularity in recent years. Companies looking for a satellite location in South FloridaRelated Cos.’s new building has contracted the following prime tenants.

black rock Ltd,

goldman sachs group

Inc, hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation.

Mr. Born has partnered with Florida developer Place Projects and NDT Development, a West Palm Beach-based real estate and hospitality company. Their project rises in the city’s Nora district, where for decades warehouses were clustered mainly near the train station. Wheelock Street Capital LLC is funding and general partner in development.

Skyscrapers under construction along North Railroad Avenue in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Eva Marie Uzkategi/Bloomberg News

Place Projects founder and managing principal Joe Furst said he often stayed at Born’s hotels, including the Bowery and Mercer hotels, on business trips to New York. He was eager to bring the same sensibility to his Nora project. When he learned of Bourne’s interest in expanding his empire to South Florida, “it sounded good to me because he was always passionate about what he accomplished.” said Furst.

The partners quickly reached a contract. Bourne said he would design accommodations and consult on restaurant and condominium designs. Hotelier and longtime BD Hotels collaborator Sean MacPherson is also on board with the project.

Like most New York City hotel owners, Mr. Bourne had a hard time during that time. Early Pandemic Most evaporate when traveling to the city. BD Hotels has closed all hotels for a period of time. At a time when the prospects for travel seemed muted for years, Vaughn said all New York City hotel owners could see better uses for their possessions than lodging. He said he had to think about what to do.

“I am no exception,” he told The Wall Street Journal in the fall of 2020.

These days, much of the New York lodging market is bounced backAccording to data tracker STR, the hotel’s revenue per available room for the first nine months of the year was over $190 per night, not far below the same period in 2019.

“Business in New York is very good,” Bourne said. In Manhattan, he added, “downtown and midtown rates and occupancy have never been better.”

After a series of legal challenges, he and his BD Hotels partner Ira Drukier Famous Hotel Chelsea reopens in Manhattan earlier this year. The hotel’s main restaurant, Cafe Chelsea, is expected to open in the first quarter. Mr. Bone has also revived Soho’s Mercer Hotel and downtown Zero Bond his private club co-founder Scott He Sartiano has run restaurants, bars and other food and beverage services. Bourne also said he is always looking to acquire another New York City hotel.

Yet, even when he’s focused on his New York City projects, he diversifies his time by spending every other week in Miami.

“I learned a little bit about working remotely,” he said. “Just like everyone else.”

Richard Vaughn and his BD Hotels partner Ira D’Orquier have reopened Manhattan’s famous Hotel Chelsea this year.


Cat Marott/Wall Street Journal

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