Holiday Inn unveiling

Back row, Major Shawn Brown with the MDPD Northside Station; Mack Samuel and Gene Lamano, of the Seventh Avenue CRA. Front row, Mae Bryant, Seventh Avenue CRA; Commissioner Jean Monestime; Neil Kukreja, hotel owner; Leroy Jones, Neighbors and Neighbors Association Inc. and Carmen Ruiz Rojas.

Staycation lovers, get ready to pack your bags, grab your cell phone charger, lounge wear, bathing suit, dancing shoes and your favorite book and head over to Miami's newest renovated hotel – the Holiday Inn. After years of being closed down and becoming a known breeding ground for all sorts of things, the Holiday Inn located at 7927 NW Seventh Ave., in Miami has finally reopened and is taking reservations. The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Feb. 6. Not too many people from the community were there, but the place was still packed nonetheless.

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jean Monestime was present to cut the ribbon and gave the opening remarks at the unveiling of the new Holiday Inn.

"This is one of the best things that has happened in my district. Before this facility was an eyesore, rat infested and nobody could live here. Now, developers have transformed this place bringing Holiday Inn back to the community," Monestime said.

The 10-floor, 174 room hotel was purchased May 2013 by developer MNK Hospitality LLC for $4.3 million. The hotel is fully equipped with meeting rooms, a bistro, business center, swimming pool and fitness center. It also has ample parking and is accessible by public transportation. There's even talk of a church coming there as well. On opening day, hotel staff served as tour guides.

Wanda Hewitt took a tour of the hotel. She found out about the grand opening from the Arcola Lakes Library. After touring the hotel she said it was a "very beautiful place."

Grace Marshall took part in the tour as well but enjoyed the food they served even more. She found out about the event from the county's website. "This is the best Cuban sandwich I ever had in Liberty City," Marshall said.

The city considers the fully refurbished building as a vibrant symbol of the transformation of the Seventh Avenue corridor that has taken place under the auspices of the “Northwest Seventh Avenue Community Redevelopment Agency.” The CRA received backing from Monestime for this project, a statement said.

“This attractive new Holiday Inn will further revitalize the 7th Avenue corridor by beautifying the area, generating economic activity and providing good-paying jobs to local residents,” Monestime said in the statement.

The hotel tower, which overlooks I-95, had stood out as a dingy building after suffering years of neglect under previous management.

The Miami Times previously reported that the hotel has had many names and many owners. It first opened as a Holiday Inn in 1969. Then owners were switched and it became Days Inn in the ‘80s. In 1986 a man was forced out of his 10th floor window when a trio of thieves robbed him in his hotel room.

Costly renovations have been proposed before. Back in the early '90s one company funneled $2 million into fixing up the place, but the hotel just couldn’t shake the dark shadow that the area’s blight cast over it. While most avoided it, the hotel was a main attraction for prostitutes and drug users, reports said.

The hotel closed twice before being sold for $1.7 million and renamed Hotel City Inn in 2000.

Those owners failed to revive the hotel.

The hotel sits near the Northside Police Station. Back in 2014, Monestime told The Miami Times he believes the station and the investment will change the area.

"I think the presence of the police station on the corridor is a plus. But one of the greatest deterrents to crime is economic development," Monestime said.

Daniella Pierre is a native of Miami, with Caribbean Diaspora roots. She's been an active member of the NAACP for most of her adult life. Her advocacy work in affordable housing and social justice has been featured in various global media outlets.

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