OTO Dives into Key West Market
September 21, 2018 | Development
SC-based hotelier expands geographic reach with purchase, planned renovation of Key Ambassador Resort Inn
OTO Development has taken its first dive into the Florida Keys hospitality market with the purchase of Best Western Key Ambassador Resort Inn. The transaction was completed Monday, September 17, between The Key Ambassador Co. and Spartanburg-based OTO, which is part of The Johnson Group.
Buyer’s representative was HFF LP (Max Comess and Alexandra Lalos) and the seller’s representative was Berkshire Hathaway Knight & Gardner Realty (Claude Gardner and Will Langley).
“We are delighted to add this popular Key West property to our portfolio of owned hotels,” says Corry Oakes, CEO of OTO Development. “This purchase extends the geographic reach of our operations with an ideal location in America’s southernmost city.”
While OTO has built its reputation by developing new hotels in high-barrier-to-entry markets, the company’s growth strategy also includes purchasing – and re-purposing – existing assets in prime locations. The goal is to maximize an acquired property’s potential via change processes as simple as operational updates and aesthetic renovations or as complex as a total upfit. For example, OTO recently transformed the old O'Callaghan Hotel in downtown Annapolis MD into a new Hilton Garden Inn.
Originally built in the 1950s, the 100-room Key Ambassador Resort Inn will enjoy its own total refresh over the course of the next 12-18 months. With each of its seven buildings upfitted one at a time, the property will remain open during renovations. Project partners include Marino Construction Group, general contractor, and Thomas E. Pope, PA, architect; both companies are local to Key West.
Jaqueline Loring has been named General Manager of the Key Ambassador Resort Inn; the longtime OTO employee previously served as GM of a Residence Inn in Florida.
“For decades, the Key Ambassador Resort has been a Key West destination all its own,” Loring says. “It’s a privilege to join this property’s long-time, loyal staff and I look forward to welcoming visitors to enjoy the lovely ocean views, waterfront pool, Cheekie Hut, even an iguana or two.”
Best Western Key Ambassador Resort Inn is located at 3755 S. Roosevelt Blvd. in Key West, Florida. For reservations, call (305) 296-3500 or book online at www.BestWestern.com.