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MIAMI-Orient-Express Hotels Ltd. announced Tuesday that it will establish a 50/50 strategic partnership with the Related Group to develop luxury hotels and residences. Initial projects are slated for South Beach locally as well as Colombia and Panama.

The letter of intent signed between the two parties covers plans to build and operate multi-use projects including hotel, branded residential and commercial components. The agreement is non-binding until negotiations are completed over the next 90 days.

Initial projects over the next three years include a hotel with 28 luxury living units in South Beach’s fashionable “South of Fifth” area; an oceanfront hotel in Cartagena, Colombia; and a hotel along Panama City’s Avenida Balboa that will be part of a major city-led waterfront development. Hamilton, Bermuda-based Orient-Express will manage each of the hotels.

“Our development policy is clearly focused on high-end luxury properties which fit the Orient-Express customer profile and increasingly those customers are also interested in real estate opportunities,” Paul White, president and CEO of Orient-Express, stated in a release. He noted Related Group’s experience as a developer of high-end condominiums and its innovative lifestyle developments.

Jorge Perez, chairman and CEO of Miami-based Related Group, says the firm recognizes Orient-Express as the ideal partner to bring a new cachet to its luxury properties in South Beach, Cartagena and Panama City. “Together we can offer our customers a lifestyle that sets new standards in class and quality,” Perez said in a prepared statement.

Founded by Perez in 1979, Related Group is a local and national builder of luxury condos with a current development portfolio exceeding $10 billion and more than 60,000 condo and apartment units in major markets. Over the past year, it has established its Related International subsidiary in Latin America and launched its Icon Vallarta brand in Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay and the Caribbean.

The Miami project will be Orient-Express’ eighth property in the United States, with projects such as El Encanto in Santa Barbara, CA, and a planned luxury hotel on West 53rd Street in New York City. The company has also been a major investor in South America, including Rio de Janeiro’s Copacabana Palace Hotel and the luxury train line known as PeruRail.

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