The Gazette Interviews Hotel Developer Mark Ellert

Rendering courtesy of Wilton Hotel & Pool Club.

This is the first of a two-part series in the upcoming propose hotel in Wilton Manors, speaking directly with the developer of the project.

Wilton Manors is getting its first hotel and the developer has a career spanning four decades, numerous booms-and-busts, and is still very much in the game. The hotel
s investors all possess backgrounds in real estate, but most lack lead developer Mark Ellerts hotel experience.

That would hold true for developers anywhere. Some of his Fort Lauderdale projects include the Marriot Harbor Beach, the (currently named) Hilton Marina, the purchase and renovation of Bahia Mar, and the purchase and resale of Pier 66 to name a few. Since 1984, hes thrown himself into real estate and hotel development. If he were an artist, penthouse suites would be his canvas.

It took more to impress the city commissioners than flashing his long resume.

Wilton Manors City Commissioner Chris Caputo bristled as he recalled incidents where other developers tried to shove their plans down our throats.What struck Caputo was the lengths the hotel developers were willing to go to win over the community. They have made it clear to me that they are invested in Wilton Manors, and they are going to do what they need to do to be successful here.

Adding that several revisions to the developers plans were implemented after constituent feedback from town halls.

There is a reluctance to describe the development as a gay hotelby Ellert. According to him, in most respects this will be a hotel like many others. Ive developed a lot of hotels. The difference is that this one is going into a community that will make it a special place.

He is confident the permits and entitlements will be granted, but there are several things that have not been approved yet, which was also confirmed by Chris Caputo.

A Brand-less Hotel For now

Once the project moves into the brick-and-mortar construction phase, many of the conceptual responsibilities Ellert now holds will fall to others.

For example, none of us are hotel operators. Well hire a third party.His development group, IAG, is vetting several firms well suited to run the Wilton Hotel. Too preliminary…” to share names he said.

Engaging third-party operators is typical in the world of hotels. Big hotel brands, like The Hilton or Marriot, dont own most of their branded properties; they are hospitality management franchises. Independently owned hotel spaces use their franchises sleek branding and operating methods to run the show.

The traditional hotel” rooms in town means more revenue generated through Bed Taxes. In theory, it will reduce the demand on AirBnBs in single family home neighborhoods, a win for residents who want it quieter on their block.

The hope is that IAG Developers will break ground before the end of 2024. The best scenario shows an 18-month build schedule. The hotel will do a grand opening at the start of the season, which targets November/December of 2026.


Hotel Hysteria: All The Latest News on the Wilton Manors Hotel


Phone: 954-514-7095
Hours: Monday - Friday 9AM - 2PM


2520 N. Dixie Highway,
Wilton Manors, FL 33305



Got a juicy lead or story idea? Let us know!



Out South Florida

Hello from OutSFL! We hope you'll consider donating to us. Starting a business can be a scary prospect, but with your support so far, we've had tremendous success. Thank you!

donate button