A week after selling for $175 million the 175-room hotel he built on Stock Island, agreeing that his management team will stick around to run operations, developer Pritam Singh answered critics of the deal that turned a rundown marina into a luxury resort.
“It’s a massive plus for the county and Stock Island,” Singh said Tuesday. “That property was abandoned, it was an environmental disaster. It had murders, prostitution, drug dealing. It hadn’t been repaired in 50 years.”
Singh said the area was so dangerous he would not let his son go there unless he had an off-duty law enforcement officer at his side.
“There had been a murder a year before we built it,” Singh said. “The only time in my entire life I’ve actually seen prostitution ongoing is when I was there. It was a terrible place.”
The demolition of what was once the Oceanside Marina, however, displaced several families that called it home.
Singh said the idea that he changed plans for the site is “nonsense.”
“It’s not true,” he said. “We built exactly what we said we were going to build. It’s just people looking for something to say. It’s part of the sport in the Keys.”
Sunstone Hotel Investors Inc., announced July 26 it had acquired the luxury Oceans Edge Hotel and Marina at 5950 Peninsular Ave., which opened in January, deeming the hotel and adjoining marina “of significantly higher quality than the majority of the Key West hotel supply.”
Development costs totaled about $65 million, according to Singh’s team.
John Arabia, president and chief executive officer, said in the statement: “The luxury resort and marina, which opened in January 2017, is expected to provide meaningful growth in the near term as it reaches stabilization, and over the long term due to the supply restrictions in the Key West market.”
Built across 20 land and water acres, the hotel consists of 175 waterfront rooms, including 86 suites, spread across four buildings.
As part of the deal, Sunstone also now owns the 52 wet and dry boat slips in the attached marina, which offers direct deep-channel access to some of the most sought-after fishing in the country.
The hotel will operate as an independent property and be managed by Singh Hospitality.
Gwen Filosa: @KeyWestGwen