MIAMI—Crescent Heights, the real estate development company behind some notable residential and mixed-use properties, office buildings and hotels, has sold 50% of the Mondrian South Beach hotel to investor Michael S. Liebowitz for an undisclosed amount. Russell Galbut, managing principal of Crescent Heights, will retain 50% ownership of the Mondrian South Beach, and Menin Hospitality will continue to manage and operate the property.
The sale will see Galbut and Liebowitz as managing members of the hotel and introduce new opportunities for the property in 2020. Together, Galbut and Liebowitz plan to play an active role in enhancing the customer experience while staying true to Menin Hospitality brand standards, according to the company.
“When I first met Michael, I knew he was special,” said Galbut. “He thinks through matters deeply and has a keen eye for design and operations. I know that Michael’s contribution to the Mondrian will be important and worthwhile. Together with Robert Festinger, Menin Hospitality’s VP of operations, we look forward to what the future brings to this magical property.”
Galbut and Liebowitz bring more than four decades of combined experience to the table. After graduating from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University and receiving a JD from the University of Miami School of Law, Galbut acquired the Shelborne South Beach in 1983. Galbut went on to co-found Crescent Heights which, since its inception in 1989, has specialized in the development, ownership and operation of architecturally distinctive mixed-use high-rises across the nation.
Liebowitz will join Galbut and lend his entrepreneurial experience in establishing and selling several businesses in the insurance and financial industries. Currently, he serves as president and CEO of Harbor Group Consulting, which he founded in 1995. Harbor advises many of the largest banks in risk management, such as JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Barclays, UBS and Deutsche Bank, within their real estate investment banking platforms. Many of these projects included major hotel operators such as Hilton, Marriott and the Four Seasons, and owners including Blackstone, Caesars Entertainment and Las Vegas Sands.
“When I first met Russell, it was to discuss buying the Mondrian. However, I immediately recognized it was in my best interest to partner with him instead and when he agreed, I jumped at the opportunity,” said Liebowitz. “I could not think of a better, more talented and seasoned person to guide me through my first foray into the hotel industry. I very much look forward to working collaboratively to make the Mondrian even better than it already is.”