That plan is a big part of what drew Breen to invest. “What really intrigued me is that The Reeds at Shelter Haven isn’t just a boutique hotel; it’s an events place,” says Breen. “We have a ballroom that holds 200 people, and we structured the building so we can have a bunch of different events going on at the same time. It definitely made this an interesting project. If you’re going to build the square feet, you have to think about how you’re going to optimize it financially. We’ve done that.”
Finally, another big appeal for Breen was the fact that he would be the sole investor. “I wasn’t really interested in a project where there was going to be a lot of people involved. It just wouldn’t have been as easy in terms of decision making or as much fun,” says Breen. And the way he and Sprandio hit it off from the start clinched the deal. “Life is too short not to do things with people who have similar integrity, honesty, and openness as you do,” says Breen. “That’s the way I’ve run my business career, and that’s what I know is needed to do well and have fun doing it.”
The fun in building a hotel
With a long career as a CEO, not all of the meetings Breen found himself running and attending fell under the category of “fun.” This investment was different from the start, says Breen. “We’d do monthly meetings with architects and design people, our wives would come to some of these, and it was just a really good time,” he says. “These weren’t meetings where you’re stressing about anything.”
Breen, Sprandio, and their wives wanted the boutique hotel to exude luxury, so they aimed to make everything as high-end as possible—from the white oak wood floors and Frette linens in the guestrooms to the sliding windows overlooking the bay in the ballroom.
“When it’s just two of you, it’s your name on it—you’re not one of 30 investors, so you’re more involved,” says Breen. Gorodesky says this kind of detailed involvement Breen and Sprandio both showed really helped make the hotel as amazing as it is—and as hugely successful as it is so quickly.
“People in Stone Harbor have been shocked at the speed at which this property went up. In 11 months, we went from breaking ground to open,” says Gorodesky. “And we’re almost fully booked for weddings and events through spring of 2014. What made this possible was really the passion of the players—Ed and John. They’ve both been very involved in the project, and that has made a huge difference.”