Long Beach's Breakers Hotel Checks Out Today

Times Staff Writer

The financially troubled Breakers Hotel will close its doors today, checking out its remaining guests, laying off the last of a skeleton crew and canceling all future events, officials confirmed Wednesday.

The owner plans to renovate the hotel "so the property can be more viable in the future," said Joseph F. Prevratil, president of the Wrather Port Management Corp., which manages the hotel.

Prevratil said he didn't know when, or if, the hotel would reopen.

The owner, Breakers Associates, has been unsuccessfully trying to sell or refinance the building. The hotel's 242 rooms are usually at 50% capacity, he said. The building is a money loser and needs to be renovated and made earthquake-safe, he said.

sh Renovation Is Planned

Prevratil said William Bloodgood, principal partner of Breakers Associates, plans to renovate the rooms and upgrade the building to meet the city's tough earthquake standards ordinance, which mandates that all buildings either be quake safe by 1991 or be torn down.

The hotel has had a series of ups and downs, including a couple of bankruptcies, through the years. The owners recently completed a three-year, $15-million restoration project.

Of about 150 employees, between 20% to 30% will be transferred to either the Queen Mary or some other facility affiliated with Wrather, Prevratil said.

Most of the employees left their jobs after Wrather first announced in late December that the hotel would close Jan. 2, Prevratil said.

Less than a week before its scheduled closure, however, officials announced an eleventh-hour reprieve pending negotiations with a potential new partner. Meanwhile, First Interstate Bank had been withholding foreclosure on the landmark resort.

On Monday, employees again got word that the hotel would close. And this time, there was no last-minute reprieve.

Tuesday night, last call at the Skyroom--the elegant bar and restaurant that tops the hotel--came early. By 9 p.m., the cocktail waitresses had run out of bar snacks. By 9:30 p.m., they were down to their last two bottles of wine, according to a waitress.

Tonya Williams, 20, a desk clerk who started her job five days earlier, said guests she talked to were sad and "said they were going to miss the place."

But even when she got her job, Williams said, "They told us they didn't know how long we'd be around."

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