Miami developers lease land from Catholic charity to turn Vatican City boutique hotel

Miami developers lease land from a Catholic charity to turn a Vatican City boutique hotel. (Photo by Marten Bjork from Unsplash)

A Miami real estate developer is leasing land from a Catholic group to convert a portion of an Italian palace from the 15th century into a boutique hotel in Vatican City.

Catholic Charity to Hotel

According to The Wall Street Journal, the owner of the land, the Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and Fort Partners secured an agreement this month for a 30-year lease, according to a statement from Cardinal Fernando Filoni, the Grand Master of the Order.

The developer has hired Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts to run a hotel on the site just outside Vatican City and a three-minute walk from St. Peter's Basilica. 

According to Fort Partners' chief executive, Nadim Ashi, the hotel would have between 55 and 60 rooms and a restaurant with a tree-lined patio.

Mr. Ashi stated in an interview, "It is a calm spot." With a view of St. Peter's Basilica, people are constantly reminded of the location.

The hotel will reside in the Renaissance-era, ochre-colored Palace Della Rovere. In 1999, the Catholic Church donated the structure to the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a Middle Eastern-based Catholic group.

Fort Partners has promised to invest 54 million euros, or $57.5 million, towards the restoration of the property as part of the agreement. Fort Partners is collaborating with Milanese architect Fabrizio Casiraghi.

The developer plans to open the hotel in 2025, which is the next Catholic Jubilee or Holy Year for the forgiveness of sins.

Mr. Ashi stated that he and Four Seasons had yet to decide how much to charge for a night's stay at the palazzo. However, Four Seasons is a premium brand that frequently sets the highest accommodation rates in the cities where it operates.

He stated, "we must accept where it is. We cannot be too high." Mr. Ashi noted that visiting cardinals and priests will receive a preferential discount.

The Vatican City concept combines Mr. Ashi's interests in luxury hospitality, real estate, and Religion. He was born to Lebanese parents in Liberia before going to Paris. He studied engineering at George Washington University in the United States before migrating to Miami and entering the real estate industry.

His company is well-known for collaborating with Four Seasons on luxury hotels and residences, notably the Surf Club in Surfside, Florida, and three other Four Seasons locations in South Florida.

Mr. Ashi, a lifelong Catholic, claims to have visited the Vatican more than ten times. In Rome approximately five years ago, when investigating possibilities for a separate Four Seasons, he found that the Order was interested in reopening a hotel in the Palace Della Rovere, where the relatively modest Hotel Columbus had closed in 2018.

Fort Partners

Fort Partners is a privately held real estate and hotel development company headquartered in Miami and founded by entrepreneur Nadim Ashi.

Mr. Ashi's primary concept for the Fort Partners brand is stability and sturdiness, understated elegance, intelligent design, and immaculate, unmatched service. 

Through meticulous cooperation and civil partnerships, it establishes long-lasting connections with firms whose ambitions fit its own. 

Hence, Fort Partners reportedly delivers the most outstanding standards of quality and service and an internationally acknowledged creative talent to a market prepared for world-class real estate and hospitality.


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