Albert Piazza, president of the development for Penn-Florida Companies, is the developer behind the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences project in Boca Raton, which is expected to be completed during the first half of 2025.

Once open, the project, located in downtown Boca Raton at the intersection of Federal Highway and Camino Real, will unveil a 164-room hotel and 85 luxury units. The majority of the residences have been sold.

According to Piazza, the amenities will include a downtown golf and city club, restaurants, and retail spots—the “kind of stores you find in Paris or Milan.”

The developer said he began designing the project in 2015, and the primary delay has been the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent supply constraints.M2dugSEyEv6l91WvX7hYCPg0pVHw1wuSNGiiWCN9WuUmoTz45TtzQ3L6nBkNqUrmtkx1SujFr0jbl ld8I Yfq91iRKE8616gzn PdykPi9Is2O5HxkBUUyVyPNthIX47nNB 2yoU1z E9bBJidoIEk

“We’re part of the real world,” Piazza said. “We were interrupted by the pandemic.” He added, “We have what is going to be one of the most expensive hotels in the United States. We want to make sure that when we deliver it, the designs are, in fact, current.”

Their desire not to date the designs further spurred delays. “If we’re going to be putting a billion-dollar project in the middle of Boca Raton, it better be the best thing ever done.”

Pen-Florida’s vice president of marketing, Elizabeth Cross, echoed Piazza’s sentiments, emphasizing that they are taking time to ensure the highest quality possible. “It’s more important to us than timing,” Cross stated.

According to Piazza, the project currently sits at $1.5 billion and was ultimately refinanced, creating an “extremely complex” situation. He said, “Because of the long-term nature of it, it’s typical and quite natural that the loan structure changes as the project moves forward.” Refinancing entails financing with a new loan, often with a lower interest rate.

“The loans typically have a shorter time period than the overall construction of the project may take. So loans in their normal life cycle are modified as you go through or extended,” Piazza added.

According to Cross, the project is “fully capitalized,” and they “have ample funding” to finish it.

Piazza said that while a Mandarin Oriental Hotel currently exists in Miami, it will soon close for new construction. It will only place additional pressure on the Boca Raton location to reach completion.

He said, “The Mandarin is very anxious for us to get our hotel open because we’ll be opening here just about the time they’re closing the hotel down there.” Piazza continued, “So they’re looking at us being their footprint here in South Florida.”

According to Piazza, the hotel has been designed as an “ultra-luxury resort in of itself,” with a “rooftop resort experience,” pools, a prohibition-style bar, Michelin-star restaurants, a ballroom, a meditation garden, and a children’s activity center.

Penn-Florida promises the hotel will be one of 36 in 24 countries, and the included residences will be one of 10 worldwide.

Scott Gerow, director of luxury sales for the CBG Luxury Team at Compass in Boca Raton, said people are incredibly excited to have the Mandarin brand associated with Boca Raton.

“I think it’s a great privilege to have them as part of the community.” Gerow continued, “So many people in the city are excited to see the finished product.”