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(Crystal Proenza is associate editor of Real Estate Florida.)

AVENTURA, FL-As part of the expansion of its new brand of hotels, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. has broken ground on aloft Aventura, owned and developed by Cabi Aventura Hotel LLP and Aventura Development. The 215-room hotel at 2777 NE 185th St. is expected to open in November 2009 and is one of six aloft brands planned throughout Florida.

“Bringing aloft hotels to Aventura fits with the growing community’s active and chic lifestyle,” Misha Mladenovic, VP of development for Cabi Developers, said in a release. “Aloft Aventura Hotel will provide a getaway from the area’s fast-paced environment, while staying true to the glamour and essence of South Florida.”

The hotel will be located just 2.5 miles from Aventura Mall, a 2.4 million-sf upscale retail center, and between Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports. The architect for the project is Revuelta, Vega and Leon Co.

The aloft brand of hotels is designed in the vision of Starwood’s luxurious W Hotels, yet meant to be smaller, with loft-style rooms in an urban-chic design, according to a Cabi spokesperson. Amenities at each of the hotels include meeting space, atmospheric public spaces meant to draw guests from their rooms, high-tech office and entertainment features in each room and fitness centers.

There are currently more than 60 aloft brand hotels in development in ten countries. Fifty of those projects are expected to open in 2009, including aloft Jacksonville Airport, which broke ground in April. It is the first aloft expected to open in Florida in January 2009.

The 136-room Jacksonville location is being developed by the Summit Group Inc. as part of the 465-acre RiverCity Marketplace mixed-use development. The brand also plans developments in Bay Harbor, Downtown Tallahassee and two in Orlando, all to open in summer and fall of next year.

The first aloft brand openings are scheduled in Chicago O’Hare, IL, Minneapolis, MN, and Philadelphia Airport, PA, Lexington, MA, Ontario-Rancho Cucamonga, CA, Rogers-Bentonville, AR as well as Montreal Airport and Beijing, China. Starwood Hotels has approximately 900 properties in more than 100 countries.

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