Royal Palm Hotel Opens
$80 million Royal Palm hotel opens on Miami Beach
May 16, 2002
Calling it the "crown
jewel" of an economic plan to help blacks move into the tourism industry, Miami
attorney H.T. Smith on Wednesday checked in as the first official guest of the
$80 million Royal Palm Crowne Plaza hotel built by developer R. Donahue
Smith led a 2 1/2-year boycott of Miami hotels by blacks
following a 1990 visit by South African president Nelson Mandela, who was
received coolly by some Miami officials for his support of Cuban leader Fidel
Castro. The boycott was settled in 1993 with a 20-point plan, which included
black ownership of a hotel.
"Development of this hotel was our dream, but
today it is Donahue Peebles' $80 million reality," said Smith. He called on
Miami Beach and Miami-Dade County politicians to support the 422-room hotel. "It
is essential that the Crowne Plaza survive and succeed," he
Although Miami Beach provided $10 million of financing for the
hotel, Peebles contends it did not offer a complete picture of the deteriorated
state of the 1940s-era Royal Palm and Shorecrest hotels, which were to be
incorporated into the new hotel as a historic preservation
Peebles eventually had to tear down and replicate the original
hotels because their concrete frames could not meet modern building codes. He
wants the city to absorb part of the $16 million cost overrun.
the city should rejoice that black groups, like the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People, are booked into the hotel. "The Royal Palm will
give Miami Beach more positive publicity than it could purchase with the entire
budget of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau," he said.
his part, Peebles was relieved to finally open the hotel and turn over the keys
to the general manager. "I'm going home tonight and have the best night of sleep
I've had in six years," he said.
Copyright Ā 2002, South Florida
Copyright © 2001, South Florida Sun-Sentinel