Big changes at Pheasant Run? Resort to lay off 75% of its staff amid plans to restructure

Pheasant Run management anticipates reducing its staff by more than 75% amid plans to restructure operations at the iconic St. Charles resort.

The impending layoffs are a result of an ongoing assessment by Pheasant Run owners, who decided to scale back operations in the offseason while "pursuing various options for the future of the resort," said Jerome Cataldo, president of the Schaumburg-based Hostmark Hospitality Group that manages the property.

How exactly the 56-year-old resort could be developed has not been determined, Cataldo said Friday. But he confirmed there are no plans to shut down operations at this time, despite widespread rumors of the facility's closure.

Roughly 150 of the resort's 190 employees, including on-call staff members, are expected to be laid off by mid-January, said Christine Andrews, Hostmark's vice president of people and culture. Separation notices have started being delivered, per the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act.

Pheasant Run will continue honoring existing reservations by groups and guests through the end of February, she said.

St. Charles officials were notified of the restructuring plans in a letter from Hostmark dated Tuesday, Mayor Ray Rogina said. The city has always maintained a strong relationship with the resort, which helped put St. Charles on the map as a Chicago-area vacation spot, he said.

"Pheasant Run is a very iconic business here in our community," Rogina said. "The city stands ready to work with any developer on any or all parts of the property."

Edward McArdle founded the resort in 1963 after purchasing the land, a dairy farm at the time, from renowned St. Charles resident Col. Edward Baker. For years, the resort continued expanding, with the tower constructed in the late 1970s and the convention center built in 1986.

But business struggled during the economic downturn, and the property fell into foreclosure in 2011. The site was purchased in 2014 by Saint Charles Resort LLC, and Hostmark was hired to manage it.

The future of Pheasant Run was brought into question again about two years later, when the DuPage Airport Authority filed a condemnation lawsuit to block a residential development proposed for the resort's golf course. A portion of the site was eventually acquired by the airport in a settlement.

With specific restructuring plans still unknown, Cataldo said it's difficult to predict whether new or former workers will be hired as business picks up.

"It is certainly quite feasible," he said. "That is all dependent upon how the plan ultimately turns out."

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