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Centerpiece Project

Loews Coral Gables Moves Closer To Opening As Anchor Of New Multi-Use Plaza

By Steve Pike | July 15, 2022

In the end—or perhaps the beginning—the idea of a Loews Hotels luxury boutique property only 15 minutes from downtown Miami was too good an offer to refuse. Hence, later this fall, the 242-room Loews Coral Gables will open as the centerpiece of The Plaza Coral Gables. The seven-acre, multi-use project has been more than 10 years in the making by Agave Holdings, a group that includes the family behind the Jose Cuervo spirits business.

Featuring 169,000 square feet of office, residential, retail and dining spaces along Ponce de Leon Blvd, in the middle of Coral Gables, The Plaza Coral Gables is the city’s largest (and most ambitious) project in 20 years. Constructed on land that was once lined with crumbling homes, low-rise office buildings and old warehouses, The Plaza Coral Gables is expected to transform Coral Gables into a premier South Florida destination, with the Loews Coral Gables acting as its luxury hotel.

“There are a lot of things happening here,” said Nadim Barrage, the hotel’s general manager, as he looked out over Coral Gables and the blue waters of Biscayne Bay from the Loews Coral Gables’ 18th floor pool deck. “This project really is transformational. It’s going to drive more attention to Coral Gables.”

Loews Coral Gables is the second Loews hotel in South Florida. The Loews Miami Beach Hotel—in the heart of South Beach—is roughly 30 minutes away.  When it opened more than 20 years ago, Loews Miami Beach Hotel was the catalyst in South Beach’s revival as an international tourist destination. The Loews Coral Gables—with its signature cupola visible throughout Miami—could do the same for the city.

The Miami area is one of several cities in the U.S. with multiple Loews-branded properties. Loews Hotels owns and operates eight hotels at Universal Orlando in a joint venture with Comcast NBCUniversal. In addition, Chicago has two Loews Hotels and southern California has multiple properties.

In addition, Loews also is building a second hotel across from its Live! by Loews in Arlington, TX. When it opens in 2024, the $555 million, 888-room Loews Arlington Hotel and Convention Center will give Loews nearly 1,200 guest rooms and 300,000 square feet of meeting space in the Texas Live! entertainment district that includes AT&T Stadium (home of the Dallas Cowboys) and Globe Life Field (home of the Texas Rangers). The two hotels will be joined by a skyway.

While Loews Coral Gables isn’t Texas-sized in terms of scope or ambition, “This is a unique property for Loews,” Barrage said. “It’s a smaller footprint—meant to have that ‘boutique luxury’ vibe. It’s anchored in the community culture. And it continues what Loews Miami Beach established in the marketplace. It’s really a little jewel box.”

A jewel box that will include 21 suites, a spa, fitness center, four restaurants, oversized events deck, outdoor bar area and, perhaps most important, more than 30,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meetings and events space. That meeting and event space is essential in an area known for high profile events, such as the Super Bowl and Formula One Racing. In 2026, Miami will be among the host cities for the World Cup.

“If you were looking for a luxury hotel in Coral Gables, your options were limited,” said Mutluhan Kucuk, complex managing director for Loews’ South Florida properties.

Kucuk is working closely with Agave Holdings on the opening of the Loews Coral Gables, as well as continuing to oversee all operational aspects of Loews Miami Beach Hotel, where he has served as Managing Director since 2019.

“Loews Miami Beach has always been considered with the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton,” Kucuk said. “The guests in Coral Gables will be different. We’re anticipating a lot of business travelers, groups and weekend vacationers. It will be a five-star property without seeking a five-star designation.

“I’m envisioning business owners and residents using our amenities on a daily basis. We want to partner with the local businesses and residents. That’s our goal and that’s what Loews loves to do as a brand.’’


Steve Pike

Steve Pike is an award-winning golf writer and author who helped define golf business reporting in the early 1990s as the first Golf Business Editor for Golfweek magazine and later at Golf World and Golf Shop Operations magazines for Golf Digest. Pike further pioneered this genre at the PGA of America and Time Warner as the golf business writer and editor for PGA.com. He started in newspapers more than 25 years ago and has covered all sports including Major League Baseball, the NFL, NHL, NBA, as well as beat writer for nationally ranked collegiate baseball and basketball teams. As a travel and golf writer, “Spike” has climbed volcanoes in the Canary Islands, ascended the Great Wall of China, teed off in the Austrian Alps, and shared single-malt scotch with Sir Michael Bonallack at the Royal & Ancient Golf Club of St. Andrews, Scotland. A die-hard baseball fan, Pike named his son Zachary Seaver after his childhood hero, New York Mets pitcher Tom Seaver. Pike lives with Zachary, daughter Keilly, and wife Brenda (an ovarian cancer survivor, trained journalist, master teacher, and an active member of the DAR) in the South Florida village of Wellington.

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