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Delray’s Seagate hotel, beach club to lay off workers as owner ramps up remodeling project

The decades-old Seagate Hotel & Spa and an affiliated beach club are laying off 69 employees as the two locations prepare for a “major remodeling” at both sites, according to a filing by the properties’ management with the state of Florida.
Delray’s Seagate hotel, beach club to lay off workers as owner ramps up remodeling project

The downtown centerpiece hotel is located at 1000 E. Atlantic Ave. The Seagate Beach Club is a short distance away at 401 S. Ocean Blvd.

“The employee separations will begin on May 20, 2024, and end on or about July 1, 2024,” according to a recent notice filed by a human resources director under the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act. “The terminations will be permanent in nature and are precipitated by a major remodeling project.”

Among the people losing their jobs are bartenders, servers, cooks, chefs and retail workers, according to the filing.

Although the act mandates public notifications of layoffs of 100 or more people, Heather Hedrick, the HR director, wrote the company provided the notice “for transparency.”

In a separate statement, Hedrick said the 154-room hotel will remain open as the remodeling unfolds in the coming months, with “temporary closures of specific areas.”

“Those impacted will have opportunities to explore employment for additional positions as we begin to unveil these exciting improvements throughout the year,” Hedrick said.

The website for the hotel bills the property as the only resort in town where the guests have “exclusive access” to a private beach, as well as the use of the hotel’s newly redesigned championship golf course, full-service spa and two swimming pools.

The hotel’s on-site Atlantic Grille restaurant features locally harvested seafood.

The Seagate’s 18-hole, 120-acre golf course, located 4 miles southwest of the hotel, underwent an eight-month makeover last year before reopening in December. It is open to hotel guests and golf club members.

In 2009, the hotel emerged as a luxury destination after a three-year renovation project. The hotel announced another remodeling in 2021, according to reports.

Peter Ricci, head of Florida Atlantic University’s hospitality management program, said hotel owners are looking for efficiencies and cost reductions in the wake of COVID and cost spirals that have thinned tourist pocketbooks.

“In my opinion, if I have the ability to cut positions, I’m going to do it,” he said. But the hotel industry isn’t at the point of desperation even though Florida saw more Americans choosing to travel abroad last year for the first time since COVID.

“We’re still busy. We’re not slow,” Ricci said. “We’re reverting to normal whatever normal is. It’s a crazy time post-COVID. Booking patterns are very short and nobody knows how to budget right now, and the consumers are running out of money. Everybody is waiting for the shoes to drop. It’s a month-by-month conversation no matter where I go.”

By DAVID LYONS 

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