It was bitter news indeed: Just a few months after Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar announced that it would close, putting 700 or so people out of work, Makena Beach & Golf Resort announced that they would shut down on July 1, throwing another 385 people out of work.
The reason? The resort’s owner, ATC Makena Holdings, Inc., wants to convert the property into luxury condos.
“It sucks. I don’t want to look for another job,” said an unnamed employee in The Maui News‘ unbylined Mar. 30 story “Makena Resort to close July1,” which broke the news of the closing. According to the News, Makena Resort GM Declan McCarthy told employees about the impending closure on Tuesday, Mar. 29 (though it’s contradictory on the exact time, stating first the announcement was in the “early evening” and later that it was at “noon”).
But MauiTime has just obtained a copy of a letter McCarthy sent to Makena Resort employees 12 days earlier that stated everything was fine at the resort–at least until the end of 2016.
“There has been much talk about the possibility of the hotel closing and when that may happen,” McCarthy said in the letter, which is reproduced below. “It is important to confirm that no date has been established and as things stand right now we do not expect to have a date before the end of this year.”
If that wasn’t positive enough, McCarthy doubled-down on his employees’ expectations.
“In the meantime we will be focusing all our efforts on continuing the high occupancies that the hotel has been enjoying for the past three months,” McCarthy said in his letter. “Our Sales team is actively involved in booking business for this year and next year for the hotel.”
Of course, The Maui News reported today that the resort’s employees might get their jobs back–in three years.
“According to a statement from the Mayor’s Office, resort officials assured Arakawa that the layoffs were necessary for the creation of high-end condominiums,” the paper reported. “However, once construction is completed in nearly three years, the property would rehire employees, officials said.”
Makena Resort PR and Marketing Manager Jovelyn Bonilla declined to comment about McCarthy’s letter or resort’s closure.
Here’s McCarthy’s letter:
Photo of Makena Resort: Declan McCarthy/Wikimedia Commons