Bought right before Irma, two destroyed Keys hotels back online

In the weeks before Hurricane Irma hit the Keys as a Category 4 storm and knocked out just about every major Islamorada resort for the lucrative winter tourist season, an Atlanta, Georgia-based commercial real estate firm bought two area hotels for a combined $16 million.

Like other oceanfront hotels in the four-island village, the newly acquired properties were flooded by four feet of storm surge, leaving behind wreckage, debris and seagrass when the waters ebbed.

A year and $5 million later, the hotels are open for business, according to an announcement from Songy Highroads, LLC, the firm that bought both Harbor Lights on Windley Key and the Days Inn Suites on Upper Matecumbe Key in August 2017.

“We moved more than 30 people down here for construction,” David Songy, chief executive and founder of Songy Highroads, said in a statement released Tuesday. “We were lucky because we still had power from the grid when more than 90 percent of the Keys were without power.

“To get an idea of the damage, we had a 600-pound ice machine that literally floated out the front door of one hotel and landed in a ditch across the street. That machine was almost impossible to fit through that door under any other circumstance.”

Songy bought the properties with Washington, D.C.-based real estate investment firm the Wardman Group, whose chief executive and founder is Thad Paul, former managing director of the mega private equity and investment firm the Carlyle Group. According to a Songy Highroads release, the company invested more than $100,000 per room “in both properties to give them complete remodels. The result is two hotels with a sleek, modern take on Florida Keys decor.”

What was once Harbor Lights, an oceanfront hotel at mile marker 84.9 in the 1950s, and which appeared on the hit Netflix series “Bloodline,” is now Fisher Inn Resort & Marina. It is a 37-room resort that includes a three-story lodge, four villas, a heated pool “with ocean views,” a boat ramp and boat trailer parking, according to the Songy release. Rooms in season run in the $280 range, according to the hotel’s website.

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The Fisher Inn Resort and Marina opened this month. It stands on the property that was the Harbor Lights motel on Windley Key.

Songy Highroads, LLC

The Days Inn is now Hadley House Islamorada, also a 37-room “boutique resort,” according to the release. The oceanfront resort includes eight buildings, a pool and a 15-slip marina. It was completely remodeled with a new lobby and guestrooms, as well as new landscaping and an outdoor tiki bar.

Both resorts are managed by Aimbridge-Hospitality, based in Dallas, Texas.

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An artists rendering of the Hadley House, an oceanfront resort that was the Days Inn Suites in Islamorada.

Songy Highroads, LLC