Wanted: Wailua Golf Course vendor

WAILUA — After months of searching, Kauai County officials are still looking for a vendor to set up shop in a vacant Wailua Golf Course clubhouse concession area.

“The county has not received any bids on the operation of the Wailua Golf Course restaurant to date,” County of Kauai spokeswoman Mary Daubert said in an e-mail. “Our hope is to find an operator and get the concession running as soon as possible.”

In the past year, Department of Parks and Recreation officials have extended the bidding process for the space at least three times, conducted a sweeping overhaul of the restaurant’s infrastructure and even lowered the minimum bid to operate the fully-furnished restaurant to $800 a month.

But, so far, efforts to strike a deal with interested vendors have been unsuccessful.

“I think it’s just kind of a weird time,” Department of Parks and Recreation Deputy Director Ian Costa said. “It seems like plenty people have come to inquire. If we do not get bids in for some reason, I think we seriously need to look at using the space for something else, but we would have to invest some money to split it (the concession area).”

The bid date, Daubert said, was recently extended to 2 p.m. on Sept. 6.

What may be at issue for some interested tenants, Costa said, are the financial eligibility requirements needed to submit an intent to bid for the space.

Under current county standards, Costa said potential bidders must have at least one year of restaurant operation experience and $75,000 in working capital.

These bidders, he said, must also be willing to submit a bond payment equal to a year of rent payments.

“There’s a lot of people who wouldn’t mind making a go of it but few of them have that kind of capital,” Costa said.

The last tenant to occupy the 3,668-square-foot concession area, which includes a commercial kitchen and restaurant space, was The Jailhouse Pub and Grill.

Their 60-month lease, which began in June 2011, was terminated in December of that year “by mutual agreement between the county and the concessionaire,” Costa said.

Since then, Costa said only the dining room in the concession space has been used by several community organizations for activities and events at no charge.

A $249,536 project to remove and replace the clubhouse restaurant’s wastewater lines, grease traps and jalousie windows began on May 9 was completed about a week ago, Costa said.

“I really hope they find someone soon,” said Rosa Minjares, who operates a mobile food cart at the golf course on a month-to-month basis with the county.

“It’s in a beautiful location and the views are great from there.”

The concession space dates back to the early 1960s, when the clubhouse was first built at its current site to accomodate the expansion of the golf course from 9 holes to 18 holes.

An additional dining room and bar section in the concession area, now separated by a partition, was constructed about a decade later, Costa said.

The old clubhouse building, once located near the bathrooms in the Kamalani Playground area, was moved later to its current location — across the street from the Chevron station in Kapaa. 

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