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May 19--A 145-room Clarion Inn hotel in Fort Lauderdale at 1055 N. Federal Highway has changed ownership in a $13.75 million deal recorded this week in Broward County.

The new owner plans to operate it over the next six months without its Choice Hotels' brand affiliation, and then remodel and transform it into an independent boutique property, a spokeswoman said Thursday.

Property deeds filed Wednesday in Broward list the hotel's new owner as 1055 N. Federal LLC, which is managed by Hospitality Sunrise led by Daniel Pena Giraldi. Giraldi has ties to Stambul USA, a Miami-based real estate firm that recently developed the Langford Hotel in its downtown vicinity.

The seller was Sunrise Hotel LLC of Largo, Fl., which had previously purchased the Fort Lauderdale hotel in October 2014 for $8.25 million, property records show.

The Clarion purchase marks Giraldi's debut into the Fort Lauderdale real estate market. He was attracted by a development renaissance in the neighborhood and the hotel's close proximity to the beach.

Broward's strong tourism sector was also a draw, the spokeswoman said.

Preliminary data released last week show Broward welcomed 12.27 million domestic visitors in 2016, up 4 percent from 2015, according to the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Real estate brokerage firm Metro 1 of Miami represented the buyer in the transaction.

"We believe that Fort Lauderdale is becoming a global destination," said Tony Cho, Metro's founder and CEO, who has been active in brokerage and investment deals in the city for more than six years. "We are committed to bringing creative and innovative concepts to Fort Lauderdale."

In about seven months, Giraldi's group plans to begin a renovation that will mainly include upgrades to its exterior and guest amenities and a new food and beverage component. The hotel had recently completed extensive interior upgrades.

When renovations are done, the hotel will be renamed The Link, and will aim to cater to Millennials and young professionals who visit and live in the area.

Staff researcher Barbara Hijek contributed to this report., 954-356-4209 or Twitter@TheSatchreport

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