Our brokerage firm and our properties…
In the News
Deal of the Week: Fire Island’s ‘Ice Palace’ Ignites $7.2M Sale
The Exclusive New York Isle’s Legendary Hotel and Nightclub is Rare Real Estate
Fire Island doesn’t see a lot of deals go down. The small, development-resilient summer paradise accessible only by boat from New York’s Long Island barely even sees properties go up for sale. But last year, the island’s largest resort — rooting back to 1882 and serving as an LGBTQ staple for arguably almost as long — suddenly came scorching onto the market. Myriad real estate players checked in. But after more than a year, only the right buyer checked out.
“People just want to be there,” Mitch Muroff, owner of Muroff Hospitality Group brokerage, says of the Ice Palace Resort — an iconic business made up of a two-story, 63-room waterfront hotel and adjacent single-story nightclub that he helped sell to Bowline Hospitality Group for $7.2 million last week.
Sparking the Fire
When the property hit the market during the height of the pandemic in 2020, its owner of about 15 years, a local veterinarian, initially had trouble finding a buyer. But then Muroff, a specialist in boutique hospitality, contacted the owner, took over the listing from a generalist broker, and “immediately attracted a great deal of interest.”
Muroff wasn’t surprised by this. “It’s the largest hotel on Fire Island; it has the largest swimming pool and the largest nightclub,” he told LoopNet. “It may be the most important structure on Fire Island.”
“With an extremely high barrier to entry on Fire Island, the sale of the Ice Palace Resort represents a unique opportunity to own a historic piece of what’s really another world.”
Mitch Muroff, Muroff Hospitality
The small island is recognized nationally as one of the first and most renown meccas for LGBTQ culture. Interest in Fire Island has likely piqued even more this summer due to the popularity of the eponymic romantic comedy “Fire Island,” a film loosely adapted from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice” and released on Hulu last month. The Ice Palace is featured prominently in the film, which is set in the Cherry Grove village of the island.
The approximately 9-square-mile, mostly residential sandspit is just a few miles off the coast, but it’s known for its far-flung feel; a car-free vacation destination with pristine beaches and tranquil towns.
It’s also decidedly exclusive. Development of new commercial properties on the magnitude of this 30,000-square feet hotel is unthinkable on Fire Island, Muroff noted. “With an extremely high barrier to entry, this sale represents a unique opportunity to own a historic piece of what’s really another world.”
Stoking the Flame
But finding the right buyer wasn’t so simple. “Many interested parties from New York City and all over the country just saw the property as a hotel in Long Island,” Muroff said. “Some knew a great deal about the site and the history of this resort,” he added. “But someone who was just in the rooms business wouldn’t necessarily be a good fit.”
Instead, he explained, “the right buyer needed to be comfortable with the fact that close to half of the property’s revenue was coming from the nightclub.” The hotel’s separate, adjacent Ice Palace nightclub has been a hotspot for queer culture since it opened in the 1950s and has hosted icons such as Carol Channing, Liza Minnelli and Lady Gaga ever since.
As for the hotel, the site has been home to several variations since the late 19th century, all on the same footprint. The newest iteration representing that legacy, the two-story Grove Hotel, was rebuilt in 2018 from the ground up after the 1958-built Cherry Grove Hotel was destroyed in 2015 by — no joke — a fire on the island. Going from an exterior corridor, motel-like build to double-loaded interior corridors, the new construction is a big improvement to the site, Muroff said.
Still, much can be done to improve the CoStar-classified 2-star hotel, likely through upgrades, renovations and rate management, he said. The buyer is a good fit for such a thing, he added. Bowline is a hospitality-based private equity firm headquartered in Key West, Florida, where it owns and operates two other boutique hotels along with a resort in St. Thomas.
Bowline will operate the Ice Palace Resort “pretty much the way it’s run today,” Muroff pointed out. “Since it’s a seasonal resort, they plan to do renovations and design updates later this year, during the off-season.”
The Ice Palace Resort sale, which landed right on the asking price of $7.2 million, includes not just the 61,855-square foot lot and its two buildings, but the entire value of the business.
Given the likelihood of achieving higher average daily rate (ADR) and occupancy levels through professional, experienced management, Muroff noted in prepared sales materials, the transaction represents a 10% pro forma capitalization rate.
While a traditional cap rate measures the current net operating income figure against the acquisition cost, a pro forma cap rate uses an assumed future NOI that could be achieved by a new buyer. As for Bowline, Muroff believes they’ll do a “great job of taking the Ice Palace Resort to the next level.”
Joe Beeton Editor – Joe has been reporting business news for nearly a decade, having traveled extensively to cover international oil markets before pursuing his interests in architecture and planning. Joe holds a Graduate Certificate in Real Estate and Urban Development at the Virginia Commonwealth University, where he’s finishing a Masters of Science in Business.
Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group handles $1.125 million hotel sale
July 12, 2022
Ilion, NY Muroff Hospitality Group handled the sale of the Motel 6, located at 345 E Main St. The hotel traded for $1.125 million.
The seller was Shreyarsh Corporation and the buyer was Midas Touch Gevaldig LLC.
Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller and secured the buyer in this exclusive listing. The business transaction closed on Friday, June 9, 2022.
Mitch Muroff started in hospitality. Now he sells it in Lake George.
By Robin K. Cooper – Reporter, Albany Business Review
Jun 22, 2022
Broker Mitch Muroff spent a lot of time throughout the Covid-19 pandemic negotiating real estate deals with manufacturing executives, tax analysts, financial advisers and hotel owners as Adirondack Mountains resort properties became a safe haven for investors looking for a place to park their money.
Last year, Muroff brokered the sale of five hotels and motels, including three on Lake George — the Flamingo Resort, Lake George Suites and Country Cottages & Motel. The purchase prices on those properties ranged from $6.5 million to $2.75 million.
“The Lake George market is as strong as I have seen it,” Muroff said. “This a drive-to-leisure destination not unlike Cape Cod, Ogunquit, Maine, and the New Jersey shore, where people felt like they could vacation safely during the [pandemic] without having to get on a plane.”
Smaller leisure markets like the Adirondacks fared much better over the past three years than larger urban hotels and convention centers, many of which have yet to recover, Muroff said.
Despite rising interest rates and escalating material and supply costs, the number of potential buyers looking to purchase hospitality property does not appear to be slowing.
Muroff is under contract to sell two more resort properties, one in the Berkshire Mountains and the other on Fire Island off the south shore of Long Island. And he has offers on two other hospitality properties that the sellers have not yet accepted.
What was your first introduction to the hospitality industry? I grew up on Long Island and started working as a cabana boy and helping out in the kitchen while working at beach clubs on Atlantic Beach while I was in high school and college.
You chose a different path when you started your career. I always had an analytical mind and thought a career in law would make sense. After graduating from American University, I went to law school at New England Law in Boston. Then, I moved back to New York and started working in a general practice firm focusing on real estate, corporate, estates and I did a lot of matrimonial and divorce work.
How did you end up moving back into hospitality? My wife Marjorie’s dad was a prominent hotel owner in Boston. We lived in New York while I was building my law practice and every time we went to visit her family, Marjorie’s dad would talk to me about coming to work for him. Eventually, I agreed. We moved back to Boston and I joined her father at Sage Hotel Corp., which owned and operated six hotels in the Northeast.
What was that transition like? It was a great experience. I was brand new. It was important to work in all of the departments. I spent time on the front desk, worked in housekeeping and sales, and learned about the restaurants. I worked my way up to director of development before becoming executive vice president and general counsel.
We grew a lot and ended up owning the franchise rights for Howard Johnson’s in Canada and expanded our company from 14 to 35 hotels. We had limited partnerships with the individual properties and after about 25 years there, some of the partners wanted to get out so we started selling the hotels one at a time.
Is that what prompted you to make the transition to starting a brokerage focused on hotel and resort sales? It seemed like a natural progression. I knew hoteliers all over the country. I understood the mechanics of owning and operating hotels, so I could explain the strengths and weaknesses of each property. Starting Muroff Hospitality Group was a way for me to combine my negotiating skills, my experience selling hotels and my law degree and build something new.
You were living near Boston, how did Lake George land on your radar as an area to focus a lot of your practice? I had some connections here. I knew a couple of hotel owners and approached them to see if they were interested in selling. It grew from there. Muroff Hospitality Group is located in Newton, Massachusetts, but the major focus is selling hospitality property in Lake George and the Capital Region of New York state.
How have the last few years impacted financing and mortgages for investors buying hotels and motels? Financing has gotten better as we slowly come out of the pandemic. But the requirements are different than they were five or six years ago. You are seeing more instances where you need to put in 30% or 35% equity now. You used to see a lot of deals that were in the 15% to 20% equity range. Banks are looking a lot closer at operating numbers. They want to see a proven track record of the business and they look seriously at the experience of the buyer.
Interview has been edited and condensed.
Who he is: Founder and owner of Muroff Hospitality Group
What they do: Hotel, motel, campground and resort sales focused heavily in the Adirondacks, Lake George, the Berkshires and upstate New York
Where he is from: Born in Brooklyn, grew up on Long Island
Where he lives: Newton, Massachusetts
Education: Bachelor’s in political science from American University; law degree from New England Law in Boston
Family: Wife, Marjorie; they have two sons, a daughter and three grandchildren
Fire Island’s largest hotel and resort sold for $7.2 million
By Leonard A. Robinson – Staff Reporter, New York Business Journal
Jul 13, 2022
Bowline Hospitality Group, a Key West, Florida-based hospitality focused private equity firm, has purchased Fire Island’s Ice Palace resort for $7.2 million.
The purchase includes the Grove Hotel, Fire Island’s largest hotel boasting 63 rooms along with the Ice Palace night club, a popular LGBT nightclub that has hosted Judy Garland, Liza Minelli and Lady Gaga along with the Miss Fire Island contest since opening its doors in the 1950s.
Ice Palace Resort, situated at 1 Ocean Walk in Cherry Grove, New York, is a short distance from the Cherry Grove dock. Fire Island is only accessible by ferry from Bay Shore, Sayville or Patchogue, all of which are on Long Island.
Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller, a veterinarian, and secured Bowline Hospitality Group as the buyer.
First National Bank of Long Island was the lender.
The Grove Hotel dates back to 1885 as Perkinson’s Hotel and later Duffy’s. It was replaced by the Cherry Grove Hotel in 1958. In 2018, after 11 years of ownership, the former owner rebuilt the hotel, naming it The Grove after a fire destroyed much of the property.
Cherry Grove, in 1885 and since then, was among the three most popular destinations for LGBT travelers alongside Key West, Florida, and Provincetown, Massachusetts.
Bowline Hospitality Group, which owns and operates boutique hotels in Key West, St. Thomas, and Marathon, Florida, is planning renovations and upgrades for the off season.
The recent sale, Muroff says, is strategic for Bowline Hospitality as current zoning would prevent a similar size hotel from being constructed.
“This would be an enormous opportunity for them as they have successfully run boutique hotels around the world and they’ll now have the chance to do the same with a unique slice of Fire Island history,” Muroff said.
Hammondsport, NY Muroff Hospitality Group has completed the sale of Vinehurst Inn & Suites.
The Seller was Vinehurst Retreat LLC and the Tinta family and the buyer was Vinehurst Stays LLC and the Kapoor family. The sales price was $1.2 million.
Mitch Muroff of Muroff Hospitality Group represented the seller and secured the buyer in this exclusive listing.
Hammondsport inn’s new owners have grand vision: See what’s new at Vinehurst Inn & Suites
A popular Finger Lakes inn has new owners and a new plan to welcome visitors year-round as Steuben County’s lodging industry rebounds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Vinehurst Inn & Suites, located on State Route 54 in Hammondsport, was recently purchased by Baldev and Neeta Kapoor. This is the first foray into hotel ownership for the couple, who previously owned a gas station and convenience store in Florida.
The Kapoors were attracted to the Inn’s place in the heart of the tourism scene in the Finger Lakes. Vinehurst Inn & Suites sits just a mile south of Keuka Lake and generates significant traffic from the region’s many wineries and the on-track action at nearby Watkins Glen International.
“This is a really nice area. We love the location,” said Neeta Kapoor. “It gets really busy in the summer. You can never go wrong with lakes and mountains. There’s so much to do out here.
“Wineries of course are the main attractions, but there’s other things that people come to do, like attend all kinds of festivals that are going on and the races at Watkins Glen. There’s camping and hiking trails. It’s a really good area for outdoor sports and outside activities.”
The Kapoors closed on the property April 1 for $1.2 million. The Inn was open seasonally for six to seven months under the previous ownership, but the Kapoors intend to keep it open year-round.
Vinehurst Inn & Suites features 26 guest rooms and two large suites for families and longer-term rentals.
“No two rooms are the same. They have different linens, different furniture,” said Kapoor. “The basics are the same but they don’t look the same. Each room has its own character. That’s what I love about this place.
“Repeat customers love their rooms and always ask for a specific room. It’s not a cookie cutter like franchises where everything is the same. It’s all different here. It keeps us busy and on our toes. We can be creative with it, too.”
The Kapoors have lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, New York and New Jersey since immigrating from India. The couple sold their Florida business and were traveling the world, returning to India before stops in London and Paris, when COVID-19 hit. The Kapoors then began exploring business opportunities in New York, ultimately discovering Vinehurst Inn & Suites in northern Steuben County.
The Kapoors have spent their first month of ownership making updates to each room. Some larger projects, like the installation of energy-efficient windows, will wait until after the surge in summer travel.
“This is a really good property and we want to keep it that way,” said Kapoor. “We plan to be here long-term and make a lot of new friends and new contacts.”
‘The heart of bear country’: 5,000 people swap photos, stories in Steuben County group
How Steuben County’s lodging industry rebounded in 2021
Vinehurst Inn & Suites is part of a Steuben County lodging landscape that rebounded in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic severely curtailed travel in 2020.
Kevin Costello, president and CEO of the Steuben County Conference & Visitors’ Bureau, recently presented the bureau’s 2021 year-end data report.
Occupancy rates across Steuben County’s hotels never eclipsed 40% in 2020, according to the bureau’s data. The rate rebounded in 2021 as COVID restrictions eased and vaccines were made widely available. While the occupancy rate slightly trailed historical trends, it was over 40% for most of the year and peaked at around 65% in A
The average daily rate, meanwhile, returned to 2019 levels of around $100. Costello expects the market to surge in 2022.
“I don’t see (the average daily rate) going back down. I think there’s a lot of pent-up demand for tourism,” said Costello. “I’m not sure the gas prices will have too big of an effect on us because we’re a drive market. We’re definitely a tank full of gas market. I think it will help.”
The bureau also tracks where those visitors are coming from. In 2021 in-state visitors narrowly edged the number of out-of-state visitors, 51%-49%, in a reversal of historical trends. The top-10 origin markets were the New York City metro region, Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Elmira, Binghamton, Wilkes-Barre-Scranton, Albany-Schenectady-Troy, Philadelphia and Boston.
In addition to traditional inns and hotels, Steuben County also counted around 470 short term rentals marketed through outfits like AirBnB in 2021. The bulk of these offerings were concentrated around Keuka Lake in the Hammondsport and Pulteney areas, though Corning also had a strong market for short term rentals.
Nearly 12,400 bookings generated over $13.2 million in revenue. Total occupancy in 2021 actually declined from 2020, however. Costello noted that the average daily rate for short term rentals “skyrocketed to almost $350, $400 a night last year out at the lake.”
“I think they priced themselves out of the marketplace at the same time people were more comfortable with staying at traditional lodging establishments,” said Costello. “We saw fewer short term rental bookings and higher average daily rate, but I think the revenue kind of balanced out.”
Chris Potter can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @ChrisPotter413. To get unlimited access to the latest news, please subscribe or activate your digital account today.
The former Brodie Mountain ski resort is up for sale, and for a reduced price
April 1, 2022
NEW ASHFORD — If there’s anybody in the market for an iconic ski resort that has been closed for nearly two decades, now’s the time to make your move.
The former Brodie Mountain ski resort, home of the legendary St. Patrick’s Day celebration with green ski slopes, leprechaun costumes and rowdy parties in the Blarney Room, went up for sale a few months ago.
The 500-acre parcel was initially listed for $2.7 million, according to Mitchell B. Muroff, real estate broker for Muroff Hospitality Group of Newton. Since then the price has been reduced to $1.95 million, which comes to about $3,800 per acre, with a number of interested parties inquiring about the property.
“There is huge interest in Brodie from a great number of people from around the country and locally, especially at that listed price,” Muroff said. “For the price of a high-end condo, you could buy the entire mountain.”
He said a variety of uses are possible for the parcel, including outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, snow tubing, zip lines, mountain biking and hiking. Also possible are vacation homes, condominium development, or timeshares.
A deed restriction on the property precludes the possibility of another commercial downhill ski area, but that still leaves room for a lot of other outdoor activities.
Muroff said that his agency has been chosen by the current owner, Holiday Inn Club Vacations, to market the property.
“This unique property is being offered as a prime residential development site or for snowboarding, cross country skiing, zipline, ATV, adventure park, glamping or more,” states the property sale website.
The former Brodie Mountain Ski Resort is up for sale again. Old, rusting chair lifts still sit idle, frozen in time as they wind their way up the overgrown slopes.
Having opened in 1964 under the ownership of James Kelly, the mountain finally closed in 2002, with new owner Jiminy Peak hosting a snow tubing attraction until 2007, under the site’s new name “Snowy Owl Resort.” At its peak, Brodie hosted roughly 150,000 ski visits in one season.
Since then, the main lodge, which housed the notorious Blarney Room, has been demolished. Most of the other structures, including the Children’s Center and The Canteen, still stand, although they are open to the elements and showing clear signs of deterioration and vandalism inside and out.
Several unmoving chair lifts still haunt the slopes, windswept, empty and rusting through the harsh winters.
This aerial view of Brodie Mountain shows the layout of the now vacant ski resort.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY THE NEW ENGLAND LOST SKI AREAS PROJECT
The website for the property notes that the main mountain had three chairlifts, with one serving the summit. A shorter double chairlift and a pair of rope tows served novice terrain at the base. The vertical drop was 1,250 feet, making it one of the largest New England ski areas ever to close.
The trail map in 1968 showed the layout of the mountain then, with 2 chairlifts, 2 T-bars, 3 rope tows, and night skiing. It was known as the largest night skiing area at the time.
According to the website, the parcel is assessed at a value of $1.38 million.
Berkshire’s Brodie Mountain finds a buyer
Berkshire ski resort, near Jiminy Peak, had been closed for years
April 1, 2022 Updated: April 2, 2022 3:54 p.m.
NEW ASHFORD — The historic, long-shuttered shuttered Brodie Mountain ski resort in the Berkshires appears to have found an interested buyer.
The broker handling the sale of Brodie, which is three miles from Jiminy Peak, says the sellers have an accepted offer on the 500-acre property.
If they move forward and go under contract the sale could be finalized in the coming weeks.
“It’s an amazing opportunity for under $2 million,” said Mitch Muroff, of Muroff Hospitality, who is handling the sale.
The property, which includes three ski lifts, was listed at $1.9 million. Muroff declined to name the buyer or the offer amount pending completion of the sale.
One wrinkle is that, according to earlier published reports, the covenant on the property attached after Jiminy Peak’s ownership forbids “public downhill skiing.”
It’s unclear, however, whether the covenant has an expiration date or if it remains in perpetuity.
Brodie dates to the 1930s, and after several owners was purchased in 1999 by the Fairbank Group which owns and operates nearby Jiminy Peak.
Initially they said they had plans to unite the two areas, but ended up closing the ski operation in 2002, with a snow tubing park remaining in place until 2007.
The area was then sold to the Holiday Inn/Silverleaf company.
“This was an excess property for Holiday Inn,” said Muroff.
One possibility for reviving skiing could be to operate it as a private membership-based ski club, similar to the Hermitage Club in Vermont, which took over what was previously the Haystack ski area.
Additionally, the sales brochure said it could be used for “snowboarding” or cross country skiing. It was unclear whether the covenant could be interpreted as banning skiing but not snowboarding.
Either way, reviving the lifts would require a large investment since the existing chairlifts are decades old and would almost certainly have to be extensively re-built or replaced.
Muroff said the sale is “as is.”
Other possibilities, he said, would be to redevelop the property as a “glamping” site, an ATV track, RV park or to build vacation homes.
Brodie isn’t the first small ski center to be closed after coming under the wing of another nearby resort.
Toggenburg Mountain near Syracuse closed last year after being purchased by SkiCNY, which operates the nearby Song and Tully mountains.
firstname.lastname@example.org 518 454 5758 @RickKarlin
An earlier version of this story said the resort is under contract. It is not.
[FOR SALE] Ski Resort Could be Yours For Less Than $2-Million
SnowBrains | March 25, 2022
Brodie Ski Resort, located on US 7, in New Ashford, MA. was one of the leading ski areas in all of New England for many years. The ski area boasted world-renowned snowmaking and night skiing for much of its early history. Beyond alpine skiing, Brodie offered multiple kilometers of cross country ski trails and snow tubing. In the off-season, Brodie had a popular campground.
In 1999, the property was sold and later became the sister ski area of Jiminy Peak. Brodie’s facilities necessitated maintenance which created unforeseen expenses; ultimately leading to closing in 2002. The tubing operation continued at Brodie until 2007. The Brodie sign on Route 7 now reads “Snowy Owl.”
The main mountain was served by three chairlifts, though only one went to the summit area. A shorter double chairlift, as well as a pair of rope tows, served novice terrain at the base. The advertised vertical drop was 1,250 feet, making it one of the largest New England ski areas ever to close. The trail map in 1968 shows the layout of the mountain, with 2 chairs, 2 T-bars, 3 rope tows, and plenty of night skiing – in fact, was the largest night skiing area at that time.
The 500-acres property is now for sale for $1.9m. This is an incredible opportunity to redevelop this historic site for any use. Think residential, vacation homes, planned community, skiing, snowboarding, camping, and glamping. Let your imagination run wild and call now to schedule a tour before it’s gone again.
SnowBrains | March 25, 2022