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The NYT recently profiled the most reviled hotel developer on the planet right now and no, it's not Donald Trump.
The man is Robert Falor, the once and former condo-hotel king who almost supported the failed Nicky O hotels venture from Nicky Hilton as well as the failed Rande Gerber/Maxim bar inside the Royal Palm Hotel in South Beach.
And guess what? He's flat broke and has no friends.
It musta been a birthday cake for Nicky Hilton in the shape of the Breakwater Hotel which was the doomed location for her further doomed Nicky O Hotels enterprise. Man, we're so glad this is over.
Nicky has moved on to restaurant investing, at least for now, though don't be completely shocked if she resurfaces as a fledgling hotelier --
Our friends at Luxist reminded us that something has to happen to the old Breakwater Inn on Ocean Drive, the property now known as the Curse of Nicky O. According to bankruptcy orders, a court ordered property auction will take place on November 19, 2007 at 10:00 AM at the Claude Pepper Federal Building.
Of course, there is hardly a doubt that this property will end up being a hotel at some point, so the big question is who will be at Claude Pepper on the 19th? A Pomeranc brother? Can't think of many other boutique or brand hoteliers that are not already in South Beach. So if you are a budding hotelier in Southern Florida here is your chance -- just be sure to bring your check book.
Oh, and as far as Nicky O's domain redirecting to the Royal Palm Resort, wouldn't read too much into that at this point.
We don't even know how to break this to you, especially on a Monday morning, but it looks like Nicky O Hotels ain't over yet.
A devoted HotelChatter tipster, AFdude, emailed us over the weekend to alert us to the new official Nicky Hilton website. Here you can find information about Nicky's clothing endeavors, boutiques, fan club and the dreaded Nicky-O Hotels.
Last we left Nicky O, the project was dead in the ground and Nicky's developer Robert Falor was in some serious doo-doo with the property, not to mention he has a lawsuit against Nicky. But so far, there's no real new news on Nicky O on Nicky's website, other than the condo-tel might rise again. Kinda like Voldemort.
We still doubt that Nicky O will ever open up anywhere but we guess she's just trying to save face and get some more publicity at the same time.
The full email from our tipster is after the jump.
"Falor went bankrupt, what a loser! Cross him off my Blackberry!"
Nicky Hilton's disastrous Nicky O hotel plan has forced her developer Robert Falor and his Falor Companies to file for bankruptcy.
Oaktree lenders are suing Falor's Company for $36 million for failing to a) finish Nicky O and for b) failing to get celebs like Scott Storch or Pharrell Williams, or another "celebrity reasonably satisfactory to the Mezzanine Lender" to buy condos in the building.
So now that Oaktree's pulled out of the deal, Falor can't afford to renovate the property into a hotel-condo, regardless of Nicky O's presence. He's filing for bankrupty and plans to just make a regular old hotel sans condos. Key word: plans which is highly unlikely. He's probably hoping for someone to swoop in and buy it off of him. Maybe Clooney?
Either way, Nicky O got all sorts of media attention last fall* with Nicky making the usual press rounds. But it has turned out to be an embarrassment for everyone involved and Nicky hasn't even publicly commented on the destruction she left behind.
Perhaps the only person coming out on top is Mark Zilbert, who was initially assigned to sell the condo units of the proposed Nicky O South Beach.
But he found they weren't enamored by the idea of hotel ownership, no matter whose name was on the front door. "We were selling 300-square-foot hotel rooms," Zilbert said. "Celebrity clients are not interested in condo-hotels at all."
Zilbert will never sell condo-hotels to celebrities in this town again! By his own accord of course. Meanwhile, another hotel broker Guy Trusty (whatta name!) says Falor has given the hotel-model a bad name, thanks to Nicky O and some of his other failed condo-hotel ventures in South Florida.
All the while, Nicky Hilton's dating David Katzenberg and she and her tampon are hitting the Hollywood club scene nightly. Just another day in Hollywood folks!
*We wanna know---why hasn't People Magazine run an article on this yet since they were so gung-ho about Nicky's announcement last summer? Are they afraid they won't have exclusive rights to Paris' "How I Deal with Genital Herpes" story?
A Chicago development group is ditching plans to work with heiress Nicky Hilton to convert the Hotel Blake in Printers Row into a Nicky O's Chicago. "While we are always evaluating the marketplace, we anticipate that the property will remain as the Hotel Blake for the foreseeable future," Robert Falor, president of Robert Falor Investments, said Tuesday in a statement. The company also is dropping a similar conversion planned for the Breakwater hotel in Miami's chic South Beach. Nicky Hilton and her representatives could not be reached for comment.
Hotel Blake will remain the Blake, at least for now, and who knows what will happen to the old Edison Hotel on Ocean Drive, which is gutted at this point.
In any event, we are sure Nicky and her Balenciaga bag will resurface somewhere, probably in LA, and may even attempt a return to the hotel game, however it is time to stop holding out hope that Nicky O is going to happen. Shocking we know.
Despite what you might think, we are actually bummed about this. Not as upset as we were when Clooney's "upscale" Vegas project went up in flames, but bummed nonetheless.
· Hotel Group Drops Nicky Hilton Plans [Chicago Tribune]
In a lawsuit filed Monday in federal court, Robert Falor Investments and Grand USA Hotel Supply & Restaurant allege Hilton hasn't kept up her end of an April 2006 agreement in which she promised to promote the redevelopment project known as Nicky O's Chicago, a Nicky Hilton Hotel.
Hilton also allegedly contracted out interior design work she was supposed to perform and tried to charge it back to the developer, the lawsuit alleges. The development group also claims Hilton misrepresented that she and her associates had experience in hotel design.
Update: According to the comments, the rumors of Nicky O's demise have been greatly exaggerated.
Either way, with all that has gone on this week, probably best for the hotel to issue a statement at some point.
A HotelChatter tipster, who has reliably tipped us off before, reports witnessing this scene on Ocean Drive just one hour ago:
I was walking on Ocean Drive and passing by the Nicky O which is still mostly covered up, and from where I was walking (across the street) a brown haired woman in huge sun-glasses stormed out walking in a very fast pace and seemed to be upset. This woman looked very much like Nicky Hilton. Although I am not sure if its her or not. However, if it was Nicky, it didn't seem like she was leaving her hotel in a very good mood.
What might he have witnessed? Could have been any old upset girl. However, if we were the betting sort, we would bet he may have witnessed someone from Robert Falor's group telling Nicky it is game over on the Nicky O hotel project.
Nicky O construction has slowed to a crawl and most importantly, to date, demand for a Nicky O condo units just has not been there. Throw in the fact that Falor floated the perfect public bail out theory to the Herald earlier this week, and it sure does look like this project has entered Clooneyville.
· Nicky O coverage [HotelChatter]
The trials and tribulations of Nicky Hilton's Nicky O Hotels are well-documented here from a design scandal to naked models on the rooftop to offering a non-refundable Super Bowl package without actually having a hotel for guests to stay in.
The latest snafu however might just signal the end of Nicky O hotels altogether or so we hope and pray.
As most of you know, last week a web site called ParisExposed.com launched, offering viewers an intimate look into Paris' life from her journals to pictures of ex-boyfriends to home videos--both sexual and non-sexual--all for just $39.99 a month. It has since been shut down due to some legal proceedings (the belongings came from a storage locker Paris forgot to pay the rent on) but the damage to Paris was done.
And it's also included her sis Nicky into the fray as well. Nicky was the camera holder behind the video where Paris utterred racial slurs. Which does not sit well with developer Robert Falor. Douglas Hanks of the Miami Herald reports that Falor is concerned not only about Nicky's behavior but also that her handbag and clothing line are doing poorly. All of which means that Nicky's "celebrity" name could mean squat by the time the hotel actually opens--which incidentally is now set for May.
And now, a HotelChatter reader sounds off about Nicky's hotelier intentions:
Paris is the one saying the nasty statements but Nicky is filming and laughing. Doesn't seem right that someone that would partake in this would be trying to open up a hotel, especially in an international city like Miami.
Maybe developers eager to make a buck off a celebrity should reconsider such celebrity ventures, like Falor whose company was close to declaring bankruptcy and has faced several litigation suits over the management of other South Florida hotels.
Or at least they could pick a celebrity that has successfully sold other products like Paul Newman or Gwen Stefani. Heck, George Foreman might even be able to sell a hotel better than Nicky O.
Sigh. Yes, more Nicky O non-news. Looks like Nicky O South Beach is back up again, although this time they have posted a cryptic message:
Site Down for Upgrades. Please check back February 15th for a completely new look and launch
Don't worry Nicky. We got this date circled on our calendars. Just curious though, did you get any takers for that $5,000 non-refundable Super Bowl package you were offering?
· Nicky O South Beach Definitely Does Not Have Rooms Open for Super Bowl [HotelChatter]
The above image is what we found today when we tried to go to the Nicky O South Beach web site. A HotelChatter tipster helped us along, saying:
The rumor about that it might not happen, could be true. If you call their number (305) 532-8250. The number is disconnected.
What we think happened here, and we are just spitballing at this point, is that Zilbert Realty who landed the supposedly plum assignment of selling the proposed hotel condo units put together the web site and hotline number. Now that Zilbert has dropped out (or been asked to leave), they dismantled the site and the aforementioned phone line. Either that or maybe Nicky's finance people realized Miami Beach wasn't buying Nicky Hilton Snake Oil so the powers that be are just canning the project entirely and getting ready to package the remains to another hotelier. Then again, maybe the Nicky O server just went down because of too much traffic--it happens, trust us.
However, if our above theory is even remotely accurate, and who knows if it is, Nicky O was at the very least a great publicity stunt for Nicky nonetheless. Just like her "marriage" a few years back. Anything to stay in the press right? Remember, this isn't over until we get an official word from someone.
Any tips on what's happening with Nicky O, let us know.
· Nicky O South Beach coverage [HotelChatter]
Poor Kitty Beyonce (professional name Kitty Bean Yancey). She's been trying so hard to get the latest word on Nicky Hilton's Nicky O Hotel but so far no one in Nicky's camp seems to be helping her out.
Kitty reports in her latest Hotel Hotsheet item that the Nicky O Hotel web site says its taking reservations for March 15 and beyond (and we're sure there's a no cancellation policy or a non-refundable deposit fee required too.) There's more to the story than that too:
I'm off to Miami Beach this week to check out new hotspots and am disappointed that the much-touted Nicky O South Beach -- the first condo/hotel from hotel heiress Nicky Hilton -- has not opened its doors on schedule....I haven't had good luck at getting callbacks from hotel salespeople or Hilton's PR reps, but will swing by on my trip and see what I can see.
We hope Kitty will find what she's looking for down in Miami Beach although we don't expect much for her to see except scaffolding. Keep your chin up Kitty, we can't get a hold of Nicky's PR people either. They are probably busy spinning the word to People Magazine that Nicky is fully hands-on in everything and anything involving the hotel. Which judging by the horrendous hype and delays could actually be true.