Islamorada Resort resort rendering and Florida Keys mapThe Carlyle Group, one of the largest private equity firms in the world, has made a move into the Florida Keys hotel industry with two acquisitions in the Islamorada area.

In February, Carlyle closed on the $18.3 million purchase of a Hampton Inn. The company has since rebranded the 79-unit hotel as the Islamorada Resort.

Major changes are planned for the site. Carlyle has submitted an application to renovate the existing building, adding 16 guestrooms in the process, and to add a 15-unit building, which would include six suites. The resort's outdoor areas would also get a makeover, with the swimming pool being moved closer to the beach.

The Hampton Inn acquisition came on the heels of Carlyle's $10.6 million purchase in September of the various privately held condominiums in the Pelican Cove complex, also on Islamorada's oceanfront. The company has since disbanded Pelican Cove's condo association and begun running the property as a traditional hotel.

Carlyle has yet to submit a redevelopment plan for Pelican Cove, though it has made inquiries to the village of Islamorada.

As of the end of 2012, Carlyle had real estate investments in 137 cities around the world, according to Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The Islamorada Resort and Pelican Cove are managed by Coral Gables-based Trust Hospitality.

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