ST. PETE BEACH — TradeWinds Island Beach Resort has sold the property to a South Florida investment firm for $81 million, the new owner said Monday.
Joseph Smith, the founder of 1754 Properties, said his real estate group will take over the 31-acre, two-hotel resort but keep its 1,100 employees in place. It will retain the TradeWinds name following the sale, which closed on Thursday. The deal also involved an unnamed lead investor.
“I think it’s important the properties run independently and under the TradeWinds brands,” said Smith, whose firm also manages hotels. “And we have great plans and arrangements for the current team to stay in place.”
TradeWinds will still run its “stay at one, play at two" model, which allows guests at the TradeWinds Island Grand and RumFish Beach Resort to enjoy both properties as one. Together they boast nearly 800 rooms, seven pools and 14 bars and restaurants.
Smith said ongoing renovations of the 280-room hotel and condo tower will be completed in the first quarter of next year. Earlier this year, TradeWinds rebranded the Guy Harvey Outpost as the RumFish Beach Resort, named for its already popular resort restaurant. As part of the name change, it renovated rooms and added 56 beach-front balconies.
TradeWinds is 1754′s first Tampa Bay Property. The firm, based in Coral Gables, has resorts and hotels throughout the U.S. and Mexico. But Smith has been eyeing Tampa Bay, well aware of the area’s tourism growth over the last decade.
“St. Pete Beach seems like a great market not only because of the fantastic beach,” he said, “but because you have a variety of new hotel owners.”
Smith expects those owners to continue to invest in their properties, elevating St. Pete Beach as a destination even further. Smith’s partner, Alexander Galewicz,, said loyal customers will continue to enjoy what they’ve loved about TradeWinds year after year.
“1754 and its investment partner are uniquely well suited to continue the great legacy of TradeWinds," Tim Bogott, the previous TradeWinds owner, said in a statement. "The resort is in excellent hands, and its guests, the resort’s team members and the city of St. Pete Beach should be excited about their involvement.”
In the period since Bogott first took over TradeWinds in 1999, Pinellas County’s tourism has grown dramatically. The County has consistently broken its own tourism records each year, attracting more visitors to the area.
The county collects a tax on every overnight stay, and is on track to hit more than $60 million over this fiscal year, beating last year’s record of $59.7 million. That would also mean hoteliers hit about $1 billion in revenue in 2019.
Smith said TradeWinds has no unannounced renovation plans coming.
“There’s a lot to review at the property and what changes might be appropriate,” he said.
Overall, he said his group plans to continue to invest and grow the county’s biggest resort.