Former Renaissance employees getting first crack at 60 new Margaritaville jobs


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ST. THOMAS - Wyndham officials said the hotel company is making good on its promise to give former employees of Renaissance Grand Beach Palace first crack at being hired at the Margaritaville Vacation Club opening on St. Thomas next year.

The new timeshare resort is going in where Renaissance Grand Beach Palace used to be on Water Bay, adjacent to Point Pleasant and Pineapple Village.

Lindsay Graham, communications manager for Wyndham Vacation Ownership, said about 60 positions will be filled for the first phase of the resort opening.

Major renovations are being done at the property, and the first phase is expected to be complete and ready for guests in the spring of 2015, she said.

Jobs will be available in guest services, housekeeping, maintenance, pool and common areas, bell staff, groundskeeping, activities and department management. Anyone hired will go through a comprehensive orientation program, and full-time employees will receive benefits, according to Graham.

The former Renaissance has changed hands multiple times in the last decade and has been completely shuttered since 2004.

The shuffle began in 2003 when CTF St. Thomas Corporation sold the 290-room Renaissance Grand Beach Resort to Mexico-based Palace Resorts. A Palace subsidiary, Palace Resorts St. Thomas, agreed to pay $9.75 million for the Smith Bay property.

Layoffs announced later that year sparked a series of labor disputes, and the hotel announced its closure in August 2004, leaving about 300 employees out of a job.

In November 2006, St. Thomas-based Palm Resorts paid $17.5 million for the resort. Months later, in January 2007, Wyndham St. Thomas Development LLC bought the property for $31 million.

Days after the purchase, Wyndham said it planned to spend $40 million to renovate the hotel and convert the rooms into 143 condominium timeshare units by late 2008.

It is unclear how much, if any, of those renovations took place, but the resort never reopened.

When Wyndham purchased the property, the company agreed to rehire the employees who lost their jobs when the resort closed.

At a hearing before the Economic Development Commission last year, Wyndham's representative, George Dudley, said the company still plans to honor that commitment.

The company has published advertisements calling for former Renaissance employees to apply for jobs.

While it is not guaranteed that former employees will be hired, they will be first in line to interview for any open positions, Graham said.

Former Renaissance employees will be able to go to www.WVOJobs.com and enter a number code - 1408801 - into the keyword field. Applicants will be asked to provide employment history since working at the Grand Beach Palace.

Once former resort employees have had a chance to apply for and interview for the 60 open positions, any remaining jobs will be advertised publicly, Graham said.

- Contact reporter Aldeth Lewin at 714-9111 or email alewin@dailynews.vi.

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