Soffer’s Fontainebleau Miami Beach and Dell’s Boca Resort lay off thousands

Mandarin Oriental and PGA National Resort also recently laid off workers

Jeffrey Soffer with the Fontainebleau and Michael Dell with the Boca Raton Resort & Club
Jeffrey Soffer with the Fontainebleau and Michael Dell with the Boca Raton Resort & Club

The Fontainebleau Miami Beach laid off more than 1,300 employees, marking the largest hotel layoff in the Miami area since the pandemic began. Michael Dell’s Boca Raton Resort & Club also laid off nearly 1,000 employees, state filings show.

Jeffrey Soffer’s 846-room resort, at 4441 Collins Avenue, had temporarily laid off 2,083 employees early during the pandemic, expecting to bring them back prior to September, according to a letter the hotel’s vice president of human resources wrote to the state. The resort brought back 774 employees after it reopened in June.

But the hotel recently provided 1,309 laid-off workers with a separation notice, citing the effects of ongoing restrictions on travel and large gatherings, as well as low occupancy.

“Restrictions on travel and tourism have continued much longer than anticipated. There have been continued, longer-than-anticipated prohibitions on large gatherings, and the hotel occupancy has remained low,” Silvia Pereda, vice president of human resources, wrote in the WARN notice.

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Soffer’s Fontainebleau Development owns the Miami Beach resort. The company is seeking modifications to the loan documents for $975 million in commercial mortgage-backed securities debt backing the resort, which prompted it to go into special servicing. The hotel said it has been making payments throughout the pandemic.

In a separate WARN notice, Fontainebleau Development said it permanently laid off 306 of 572 temporarily laid off workers at the JW Marriott Miami Turnberry Resort & Spa at 19999 West Country Club Drive in Aventura.

The Boca Raton Resort & Club, owned by billionaire Michael Dell’s MSD Partners, laid off 995 employees. MSD Partners purchased the 1,047-room resort for $875 million from Blackstone in June 2019.

Notices filed in June reveal the Mandarin Oriental on Brickell Key laid off 180 employees and PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens laid off 348 employees.