CHARLOTTE AMALIE, St. Thomas -- The shutdown of the 290-room
Grand Beach Palace resort on Aug. 22 will be permanent, and not a
temporary closure as had been previously announced, according to
Luis Entrala Fabregas, general manager.
After less than a year of operation by Mexico-based Palace
Resorts, which purchased the 26-acre beachfront resort last
November from CTF St. Thomas Corp. for $9.75 million, the property
will cease operations nearly a week earlier than was announced in
Last month officials announced that the hotel would close
temporarily on Aug. 28 for $12 million worth of renovations, and
that the owners would ask the Virgin Islands Economic Development
Commission to exempt the resort from property and gross-receipts
taxes for 10 years, an exemption that more than 15 U.S.V.I. hotels
already have. The owners have now cancelled plans to apply for the
benefits and are closing permanently instead.
The closing will put almost 300 employees out of work, some of
whom had worked for the resort since it opened in 1984 as the
Wyndham Virgin Grand Beach Resort, which changed in 1993 to
Stouffers. The fate of the employees and their severance
compensation has become a center of political controversy,
according to lawyers representing the employees who had tried to
gather enough signatures to force a vote on unionizing before the
Palace Resorts owns 10 all-inclusive hotels in Mexico and plans
to open a resort next year in the Dominican Republic.
To contact reporter Gay Nagle Myers, send e-mail to [email protected].