Miami-based investor group that includes A. Rod just bought a South Beach hotel

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A group of Miami-based investors featuring Alex Rodriguez has purchased its first South Beach hotel.

CGI Merchant Group, a global investment management firm focused on real estate and private equity, announced Wednesday it had purchased The Celino South Beach. Located at 640 Ocean Drive, the Celino, originally built in 1937, will reopen in fall 2021. It is among the largest hotel complexes on Ocean Drive.

The purchase price was not immediately available. The deal was financed through CGI’s $650 million Hospitality Opportunity Fund, launched in December 2020. The acquisition follows the reopening of sister property The Gabriel Miami, Curio Collection, located in downtown Miami at 1100 Biscayne Blvd.

All CGI hospitality fund properties will carry the Hilton brand — and the Celino is the first flagged hotel on Ocean Drive. Comprising 132 guest rooms including 26 suites, the Celino was most recently renovated in 2019.

Rodriguez was not immediately available for comment.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Miami Beach family and to partake in the reinvention of Ocean Drive,” said CGI founder and CEO Raoul Thomas in a statement. “The strip has such incredible history, and we all have great memories from visiting from afar or as locals. We look forward to helping the area reach its full potential and sharing how it reflects our vision for the hospitality industry.”

In a separate interview, Thomas said CGI is focused on investing through a environmental, social, and governance (ESG) lens.

“[The firm] has a responsibility to make a social difference and be advocates for change,” he said.

Founded in 2006, CGI’s other Miami-area properties include the mixed-use commercial properties 55 Miracle Mile, 550 Biltmore Way and 3480 Main Highway.

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