Boarded up Vagabond Motel will be rebuilt

Historic hotel gets major makeover

MIAMI - In the 1950s, The Vagabond Motel was Miami's seaside elegance. More recently it's fallen on hard times and is boarded up. 

Now, there are plans to restore it, and in doing so, help the Miami Modern Historical District (MiMo) neighborhood.

Nancy Liebman stayed at the Vagabond over 50 years ago when 73rd Street and Biscayne Boulevard was part of Miami's motel row, the first stop for car travelers coming from the north. 

"It was that whole 1940s and 50s excitement and MiMo Boulevard was the center of all of it," said Liebman.

More recently, developer Avra Jain drove by a run down Vagabond Hotel and saw potential. 

"When you look at the building from the outside, it looks abandoned, but actually inside it is much better than what you would think," said Jain, who bought it for $2 million.

Jain has done loft conversions in New York City and restorations in Miami's Midtown area. 

"Our concept is to do really a 4-star design but keep it more like 3-star service because we want it to be affordable," said Jain. 

Room rates are projected to be about $125 a night.

Plans include rebuilding all 48 motel rooms, giving the buildings a face lift, all while keeping that 50s feel.

Property owners in the 27 block MiMo see a vibrant Vagabond Hotel as a huge boost to other area businesses. 

"As that project gets on it's way, if it's properly done, they should do well," said MiMo property owner Ricky Cava. 

"This is the real thing and when it's restored, it is going to bring back the ambiance of how the boulevard was," said Liebman.

Jain and The Vagabond Group plan to have the motel up and running in a year.

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