After a legal battle over a prime piece of oceanfront, a West Palm Beach developer has emerged as the majority owner of the Ambassador Hotel in Palm Beach.
Copperline Partners paid a bit less than $35 million for 69 of the 97 apartments at the Ambassador Hotel Cooperative Apartments at 2730 S. Ocean Blvd., said David Layman, the Greenberg Traurig attorney who handled the deal.
That purchase price equates to about $500,000 per unit. Adam Schlesinger, the head of Copperline Partners, said this spring that he aims to renovate the Ambassador, whose buildings date to 1947 and 1963, turning it into a luxury hotel.
The Ambassador is near the Four Seasons and Tideline hotels.
While deeds haven’t been made public yet, seller Maurizio Russo said Copperline Partners paid him $240,000 for his 700-square-foot unit. The Palm Beach County Property Appraiser valued the apartment at just $81,191 for 2019.
The Ambassador Hotel is organized not as a condo but as a co-op, a type of ownership that gives residents shares in a company rather than individual pieces of property. Starting in late 2018, Schlesinger began asking apartment owners to sell so that he could redevelop the aging buildings.
Schlesinger’s offer turned contentious in the spring. The Ambassador sued Schlesinger, accusing the developer of spreading false information about the property’s financial condition and future prospects. Schlesinger countersued.
Those disputes ultimately were resolved, Layman said. The Ambassador will operate as usual through this tourist season, he said.
As part of the Ambassador deal, Copperline took a $23.5 million loan from Acore Capital Mortgage LP.
The Schlessinger family owns the majority of the historic Brazilian Court hotel-condominium resort in Palm Beach.
The Schlesinger family’s projects have included a number of high-profile flops.
In 2009, for instance, Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum sued Ceebraid-Signal Corp. and owners Richard Schlesinger, Leslie Schlesinger, Adam Schlesinger and Jason Schlesinger. The suit accused the developers of using “deceptive and unfair” tactics to sell units at the Eden Condominium in Boca Raton, which the Schlesingers abandoned mid-construction.
The Ambassador is just north of another oceanfront property that the Schlesingers bought during the last real estate boom and then lost to foreclosure. The hotel at 2842 S. Ocean Blvd., now known as The Tideline, is owned by billionaire Jeff Greene.
The historic Gulfstream Hotel in Lake Worth Beach is another of the family’s failures. The Schlesingers bought that property in 2005. It has been shuttered for years.