(Carl Cronan is editor of Real EstateFlorida.)

MIAMI-Memphis, TN-based Davidson Hotel Co. is taking on management duties at two Florida hotels, the Miami Mart Airport Hotel and the Sheraton Orlando-Downtown. The full-service hotels will join three others around the state that the company also manages in a third-party or small ownership role.

Steve Margol, executive vice president of business development with Davidson, says both hotels have undergone extensive renovations over the past year and will benefit from its expertise in improving service to guests as well as increasing value for owners.

The 332-room Miami Mart, in the city’s Blue Lagoon business district, adjoins the Miami International Merchandise Mart. Margol says the 150,000-sf exhibition hall will allow it to compete for a larger segment of business beyond overnight travelers passing through nearby Miami International Airport.

“It is our intention to rebrand the property and reposition the asset into one of the premier properties in the Miami airport market,” Margol tells GlobeSt.com. “It can really play to a market for much larger conferences, exhibitions and shows.”

The 341-room Sheraton Orlando, near Interstate 4 at Lake Ivanhoe, is also in a better position to compete with newer hotels in the central business district, Margol says. “We’re basically reintroducing the property to the market.”

Davidson, which manages 34 upscale hotels with more than 9,600 rooms nationwide, will run the Miami and Orlando hotels on behalf of their respective private owners, SF Hotels Inc. and CF Hospitality Inc. Other Florida hotels under the company’s management are the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables, the Hilton University of Florida Conference Center in Gainesville and the Sheraton Suites Tampa Airport.

As reported earlier by GlobeSt.com, Davidson is in a joint venture with Square Mile Capital Management LLC in which they bought the 259-room Sheraton Suites hotel this past spring and will put $14 million toward renovations that will get under way after Super Bowl XLIII in February. The JV reportedly paid $24 million for the hotel in Tampa’s Westshore business district, though Margol will not confirm the amount, citing confidentiality agreements.

Margol did explain that Davidson’s principals hold a minority interest in roughly half the hotels that the company manages across the country. That includes the Westin Colonnade Coral Gables as well as its Tampa hotel, he says.

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