Miami Beach hotel-condo association files Chapter 11, operator vows to reopen
South Florida Business Journal
Brian Bandell   Senior Reporter
08 December 2016

The condominium association for the Sixty Sixty Resort in Miami Beach filed Chapter 11 reorganization in U.S. Bankruptcy Court on Dec. 5 amid a dispute between many of the condo hotel unit owners and the company that owns and operates the hotel.

Brett D. Lieberman, who represents the Sixty Sixty Condominium Association, said the 82-room hotel at 6060 Indian Creek Drive has been closed for more than a year and it’s not operating now because the unit owners refuse to cooperate with hotel owner Schecher Group. He hopes to begin negotiations in Chapter 11 that would lead to the hotel reopening.

Richard Schecher, the head of Schecher Group, said the hotel will open soon with 52 of the 82 unit owners participating in the hotel rental program. Its soft opening is slated for Dec. 16, followed by a grand opening on Dec. 31. He said his attorneys would file a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy claim as an improper filing.

The Sixty Sixty Resort was developed in 1992 at the base of the 63rd Street bridge connecting Indian Creek Drive/A1A to La Gorce Island. It was converted to a condo hotel in 2006, during the height of the last real estate boom. The 82 hotel condos were sold to individuals and the four commercial condos—now empty—belong to the association. Schecher Group acquired the common areas of the hotel for $1.01 million in 2013.

That means Schecher Group was responsible for booking guests in the hotel condo units and managing the hotel’s operations.

The condo association’s Chapter 11 filing listed assets of $100,001 to $500,000 and liabilities of $1 million to $10 million. Its largest debtors include Schecher Group with $662,386, Windstream with $168,250, and law firm Haber Slade with $91,512.

Schecher said that most of the debts listed by the association were actually bills accrued by Schecher Group in the operation of the hotel. Many of those bills have since been repaid after he took out a $1 million loan to help reopen the hotel, Schecher said.

the Chapter 11 case should never have been filed

Schecher said the Chapter 11 case should never have been filed, citing a Florida law that restricts people more than 90 days delinquent on condo dues from serving on an association board of directors. He also said the association should have held a board meeting to vote on the bankruptcy filing.

Lieberman said Schecher has prohibited the unit owners from accessing their units.

The unit owners, having been locked out

“The unit owners, having been locked out, implemented their version of a rent strike,” Lieberman said. “Hopefully, through the bankruptcy process we will come up with a solution."

The condo association’s contract with the hotel manager is unworkable and should be amended in bankruptcy court, said attorney Tom Messana, who represents the association.

Schecher said that at one point 90 percent of the unit owners weren’t paying their monthly dues. Instead of collecting $90,000 a month in dues, Schecher Group was receiving only $38,000, and most of that went to paying the insurance premiums, he said. Schecher Group issued a special assessment on the unit owners, but most of them refused to pay, so it began foreclosure proceedings against the delinquent unit owners, he said.

either pay what they owe or face foreclosure

“They can either pay what they owe or face foreclosure,” Schecher said. "I have asked these people to make payment plans, even giving them eight months to get caught up. Now we are at the wire where you either pay or you are foreclosed on."

Schecher said the Sixty Sixty Resort has started taking bookings in the 52 participating units and it’s full through April. He’s encouraging unit owners to repay their debts and join the hotel.

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