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Developers planning to redevelop Kauai’s Coco Palms take control of property

  • DENNIS ODA / NOV. 12, 2013

    The Coco Palms hotel has been shuttered since it suffered extensive damage during Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

The investors redeveloping the hurricane-damaged Coco Palms hotel on Kauai now own the property.

The title transferred to Coco Palms Hui LLC from its previous owner — Prudential Insurance’s PR II LLC — after it closed escrow this morning.

Under a new lender, Private Capital Group of Alpine, Utah, the development hui received $3.5 million for demolition work. Contractor Pacific Concrete Cutting & Coring is expected to start work in the coming weeks.

“We’re excited to get going and make this a reality,” said Tyler Greene of Coco Palms Hui.

The hotel’s Alii Kai and Shell buildings are slated to be gutted and other structures on the property to be demolished.

In the past few months, the Kauai County planning department has raised concerns because of the lag in planned demolition work. Under a condition stipulated in the redevelopment permits, developers were required to complete demolition by April 13 but work has yet to start.

At a special meeting Monday, the Coco Palms Hui assured the commission of the new loan. Greene told members in a previous meeting that they were forced to seek a new lender and restart the process after the previous lender suffered serious health problems, contributing to the delay in securing financing.

The commission deferred a decision on whether to hold a status hearing on revocation or modification of the group’s redevelopment permits until it May 24 meeting when Coco Palms Hui plans to provide an update on the status of demolition.

County planning director Mike Dahilig said, “The developer provided information to the commission satisfactorily evidencing sufficient funding to close escrow and move forward with demolition.”

Dahilig said officials are optimistic that the demolition will proceed soon. “However, we will continue to monitor the developers’ progress and ensure Coco Palms meets its obligations to the public,” he said in an e-mailed statement.

Several different developers have attempted to redevelop Coco Palms but failed because of lack of funding.

Greene informed the commission he and partner Chad Waters put up personal assets to secure the loan to show their commitment to the project.

The hotel first opened in January 1953. The property was popularized with the wedding scene in the 1961 Elvis Presley movie, “Blue Hawaii,” filmed at the hotel’s lagoons. Coco Palms shut down in September 1992 due to extensive damage from Hurricane Iniki.

The estimated cost for the complete rebuilding project is $135 million.

The hui hopes to reopen the iconic hotel as a Hyatt property.

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    • I agree, but either the media doesn’t connect to actual events or???? Last news we had a demolition permit was issued that was months ago. Get it over with, already!!!

  • While growing up on Kauai walked by the site every weekend on my way to Wailua Golf Course when it was still 9 holes, a distance roughly 5 miles from Kapaa on the railroad tracks that hauled sugar cane from the Kealia area to the Lihue Mill. That’s back just before WW II began. Twenty-five cents was the caddie fees back than and we usually carried double bags. Of course, egg salad sandwich with black a black olive was fifteen cents and coke/soda pop a nickel. Back then it was a plain old coconut plantation and the Hall family had their residence there. Also, that’s long before the Smith’s water tours at Wailua River, which was started by Walter Smith who worked at the Hawaiian Canneries Company Lt’d. in Kapaa.

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