More jobs lost

PO‘IPU — Kukui‘ula Development Co. will lay off 20 to 24 full-time employees, or about 20 percent of its staff, due to increasingly difficult market conditions, the company confirmed yesterday.

The earliest cuts will take effect immediately, with the latest taking place by the end of the year.

The 1,010-acre project is the largest on Kaua‘i’s South Shore, which has seen a slowdown in construction activity as the local, state and national economies have soured this year.

“We are adjusting the overall team to respond to the slower pace of the economy,” Kukui‘ula Development Co. President Richard Holtzman told The Garden Island in a phone interview.

“We are recognizing that the market conditions were impacting almost every facet of the general economy, and Kukui‘ula as well.”

Holtzman said no single department is being targeted; instead, the layoffs are distributed among administration, marketing and planning departments.

He described the decision as “very difficult,” and said it was the “prudent” thing to do to ensure the company’s ability to see the development to completion.

There are no immediate plans for additional cuts.

“It is my hope that this will suffice for the long term,” Holtzman said.

Severance packages have been offered, and the company is coordinating with the state unemployment agency to make information available about benefits.

All those affected will have a “positive rehire status” should the company decide to fill the empty positions in the future.

The timeline for Kukui‘ula’s homes, shopping center and golf course will not be affected, according to Holtzman.

“People expect amenities on time and on schedule,” he said of the development’s current homeowners.

Kukui‘ula has been in the works since the 1980s. Kukui‘ula Development Co. is a partnership between Hawai‘i-based A&B Properties Inc. and Arizona-based DMB Associates Inc.

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