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Group picks architect, contractor for Coco Palms

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    The Coco Palms was once a popular resort in Kapaa, Kauai. It was used as one of the locations for the "Blue Hawaii" movie that starred Elvis Presley.

LIHUE >> The owners of Kauai’s Coco Palms Resort have sent most of their reconstruction permit applications to the county and have picked a team to rebuild the hotel.

“The remainder of the submittals will happen in the next few weeks,” Coco Palms redevelopment group member Chad Waters told The Garden Island (

Coco Palms has sat in ruins since Hurricane Iniki lashed Kauai in 1992. It’s the only major hotel that never reopened after the storm.

The group has selected Agor Architects to be the project’s architect and Unlimited Construction Services as the contractor.

The group is seeking permits under a county ordinance that allows developers to restore hurricane-damaged structures to their pre-Iniki condition without requiring them to adhere to current stricter health and safety standards.

The developers are under a tight deadline, however, because the Kauai County Council is considering legislation that would eliminate the ordinance.

The proposal, which would make it nearly impossible to rebuild Coco Palms exactly the way it was, passed a first reading Wednesday. A public hearing is scheduled Oct. 23, and the full council would eventually consider the measure before it goes to the mayor for his signature.

The legislative process could take six to eight weeks to complete, giving developers enough time to secure permits under the current law.

Project architect Ron Agor said he’s nervous about the “signs of inconsistency” in the administration’s position regarding the Coco Palms project. Still, he believes he can work with the administration and be able to start construction in February.

Agor said he electronically filed the majority of the required building permits, and is only waiting on a number provided by the county so he can send the blueprints. In the next few weeks, he said he will send the plans to rebuild the cottages in the back of Coco Palms.

Though dust screens are already in place, Agor said the demolition hasn’t started yet. The owners are waiting for building permits before taking down irreparable structures.

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