Employees at the iconic Battery Hotel in St. John's received layoff notices yesterday because the property has been sold.

The approximately 1.8 hectare property sits on the lower portion of Signal Hill and overlooks St. John's harbour.

Carol Furlong, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Association of Public and Private Employees, represents many of the 70 workers at the hotel. Furlong says they will all be laid off in early January.

A worker at the hotel confirms that the property was sold by American developer Rick Butler who also owns the Hotel California. The property has been for sale since 2010 -- at the time it was listed for $15 million dollars.

Furlong said workers do not know who has purchased the hotel or what the future holds for the property.

"It's a little unsettling right at this moment. They don't know what's going to happen," she said.

However if the buyer does maintain the business as is, she added, the union employees would still have their collective agreement in place. 

When Butler bought the Battery complex back in 2005, he later submitted a proposal to demolish the existing hotel. He envisioned a 10-storey complex of hotel rooms and condominiums. The plan was halted after local residents campaigned against it.