Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023 |
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• Coco Palms coming back to life
Coco Palms coming back to life
Coco Palms Ventures, LLC is gearing up for the reconstruction — and recreation — of the fabled Coco Palms Resort.
The Coco Palms has been shuttered since the devastation of Hurricane ‘Iniki in September, 1992, due to a variety of reasons. But now it appears a developer with a good vision for the lush property at Wailua and the funds to properly redo the resort is in place and ready to go.
Plans call for 104 hotel rooms and 200 condominiums with a construction and development cost estimated to be in excess of $200 million.
Work is expected to begin in early 2006, and to open about two and a half years later.
The developers have been working closely with Coco Palms entertainer Larry Rivera, and hosted a reunion party for former employees. The ties to the past are both positives for long-time Kaua‘i residents, and a sign that the glory and South Pacific tone of the resort won’t be lost to development.
Donna Apisa of Oceanfront Realty at Princeville is serving as a liaison for the developers and in the area of sales. She has told The Garden Island that there won’t be any time-share units in the project. We take this as another sign that the Coco Palms may be more like it was than a project that will be vastly different from the resort, and the Coco Palms way of doing things that former owner Grace Guslander created in the 1950s will continue.
The resort property is one of the last pieces of Kaua‘i’s visitor industry to be restored following ‘Iniki. It is the key to the look and feel for the Wailua Beach area, which has suffered due to the resort’s derelict condition for some 13 years. In particular, the old Sea Shell Restaurant is an eyesore at Wailua.
Also tied to the past of the Coco Palms are past visits by the late Elvis Presley. Presley used the Coco Palms as a main location for his most successful film, “Blue Hawaii.” A new DVD put out by the Presley family features home movie footage of Presley, wife and young daughter on vacation at the Coco Palms.
Hopefully plans for the Coco Palms will result in a hotel with all the charm and leisurely feel of the old resort. With the link to Elvis, and to the 19th century heritage of hospitality shown by Kaua‘i’s last queen, Kapule, there’s a lot to build upon.
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