Consultant: Overbuilt West Palm Still Needs Convention Center Hotel
|Photo by C. Stiles|
|CityPlace South Tower is still mostly empty.|
It seemed an insane move, since thousands of empty condo units already crowd the South Florida skyline, including more than 350 unsold units in CityPlace South Tower, next door to the convention center. Logic -- and a previous post on this blog -- would suggest that the South Tower should be converted into a hotel.
But the truth is a bit more complicated. Apparently, the busted real estate market hasn't been kind to condo-hotels, either.
"Almost every condo-hotel building we've seen completed in the last four years has been a failure," says Jack McCabe, a Deerfield Beach real estate analyst.
As for the existing Marriott near the convention center on Okeechobee Boulevard, McCabe says it doesn't have enough rooms and is not close enough to provide the "synergy" the center will need to compete with its peers in Fort Lauderdale or Miami.
All of which begs the question: Was there really a need for a publicly financed convention center in downtown West Palm?
"We've pretty much built everything we could overbuild," McCabe says. "Now that they've got the convention center up, they may as well make the most of it."