Chile’s Atton Hotels makes U.S. foray via Miami

MIAMI—Chile-based Atton Hotels is making its foray into the U.S. hotel space this summer with the opening here this month of Atton Brickell Miami, a 12-story property featuring 275 guestrooms and suites.

The $65 million project has been in the works for some three years following the South American hotel investment/development company’s acquisition with a joint-venture partner in 2013 of a land parcel downtown on Southwest First Ave., adjacent Simpson Park, for an aggregate cost of approximately $10 million.

According to Atton Hotels’ CEO Francisco Levine, the new hotel will serve as the company’s U.S. flagship as it explores further expansion.

“We were very interested in looking into the Brickell area,” said the CEO, noting the financial district would play well against the core focus of the brand, which is the business traveler. “We feel Miami is the ‘capital’ of Latin America in many senses. Miami acts as a hub for numerous Latin American companies and it’s also the first stop for many Latin Americans traveling to the U.S. for business, and for leisure as well…we’ve also seen in recent years that Miami has shown very strong development in terms of attractions, the scene Art Basel has created, sports events, music shows, industry shows. And in terms of food, there’s very diversified and sophisticated cuisine from all over the world in Miami. It’s a key city for our strategy,” said Levine.

The owner/operator has been gaining traction in South America since its founding in 2000 by a group of entrepreneurs. It currently has two hotels in Bogota, Columbia; one in Lima, Peru; and three in Santiago, Chile, where, concurrent with the Miami project, it is opening the Atton Concepción, a 138-room hotel in the city whose name it bears.

Francisco Levine Atton Hotels

“Most of our properties we develop and own and, as we grow, we’re hoping also to acquire properties and also manage other peoples’ properties,” said Levine.

The executive characterized the Florida property as “compact full-service,” delivering “full-service expectations at an affordable rate.” He noted the property will be “in between” some of the other offerings in the downtown Brickell area, which run the gamut from luxury to select-service.

“We do have a very attractive introductory rate of $159,” he added.
Levine commented, as with Atton’s other properties, the Brickell hotel will look to give guests a local experience.

Toward this, the company hired Miami hospitality veteran Claudia Di Gino to serve as general manager. She previously served in executive positions at Miami Beach’s Villa Bagatelle, Fisher Island Hotel & Resort, Lord Balfour, The National Hotel and the Clevelander & Essex House Hotels South Beach, as well as with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc., in the Miami/Fort Lauderdale area. Her bailiwick will include a property that offers 10 executive corner suites, a skyline suite, six meeting rooms, complimentary WiFi, a rooftop pool with cabanas, lounge seating and bar; a fitness center equipped with cardio machines and free weights; a business center; the Lima Restaurant, a three-meal dining facility that features Peruvian-inspired cuisine; and the UVA bar in the double-height lobby that features a video wall.

Dallas-based Siefert Murphy designed the hotel’s interiors, while  a locally based firm, Revuelta Architecture, designed the building.

Levine said the company developed the property under the Miami 21 zoning code, which according to the City of Miami, is based on the tenets of New Urbanism and Smart Growth principles in terms of planning and takes into consideration the integral factors that make each of the city’s neighborhoods/districts “unique.”

The CEO acknowledged as a brand new to Miami and the U.S., obtaining project financing was “a bit more challenging” to get from local banks but subsequently, “We were able to secure very reasonable financing from an international bank.” Levine did not disclose terms of the financing.

As for further expansion in the U.S., Levine said, “We go where our guests stay…we’re currently looking to secure another opportunity in the South Florida area.” This could be via conversion or new build, he indicated. “We’re open to all forms of growth opportunities.”

The U.S. is a distinct target for South American hotel companies. Last year, Buenos Aires-based Fën Hotels brought its Dazzler brand of hotels to the United States, landing in one of New York’s trendiest markets.

The upscale Dazzler Brooklyn opened in summer 2015 with 174 rooms at 85 Flatbush Ave. Extension in the borough’s downtown district. That gave the privately held Argentinian hotel franchising and management services company its debut hotel in America and expanded its existing collection of Dazzler Hotels to 16, with distribution also in Argentina, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay. HB

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