Hilton Times Square Furloughs 152 Employees

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The Hilton Times Square hotel, right in the heart of The Crossroad of the World on 42nd Street, furloughed 152 employees because of the coronavirus pandemic, state records show.

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Owners of the hotel filed a WARN Act notice today saying that it temporarily laid off the workers on Saturday because of a “temporary plant layoff” due to “unforeseeable business circumstances prompted by COVID-19,” according to the filing.

It’s unclear if that represents the entire workforce for the 478-room hotel at 234 West 42nd Street. A spokesperson for Hilton Time Square’s owner, Sunstone Hotel Investors, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“As a result of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the hospitality industry is seeing an impact to business that is unprecedented,” a spokeswoman for Hilton said in a statement. “Our hotels and our franchise owners are currently assessing staffing needs based on a forward view of bookings and their local business environment, as well as collective bargaining agreements and local regulations. We are aware of properties implementing various actions, including adopting flexible hours, use of PTO, shorter weeks, job rotations, and in some cases, furloughs. What this means for the hotel and Team Members will be different in each situation.”

The coronavirus pandemic has obliterated the travel industry, left hotel rooms empty and city hotel operators expecting to lose millions of dollars in room revenues. Thousands of hotel workers have been laid off or furloughed in New York City during the pandemic, including 70 staffers at the Trump International Hotel & Tower on the Upper West Side.

Hotel operators have offered up the use of rooms for coronavirus patients or to health care workers for temporary lodging — with New York City committing $250 million for the initiative — but that hasn’t been enough to save hotels.

Revenues for hotels nationwide fell by more than 80 percent earlier this month while thousands of operators filed CMBS debt relief requests to master services since mid-May, as Commercial Observer previously reported.

Sunstone was forced to write down its value to less than the $77 million mortgage on the Hilton Times Square building and is considering handing the hotel to the lender, Bloomberg reported.

Meanwhile, some hotel lenders around the city have been scrambling to save their investments in any way possible.

In a unique move, an entity tied to Ashkenazy Acquisition Corporation filed a motion to force The Surrey Hotel on the Upper East Side into bankruptcy to save Ashkenazy’s nearly $45 million loan on the property, as CO previously reported. 

Ashkenazy took to bankruptcy court to save its investment because most other courts in the city have been temporarily suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, records show.