Coco Palms stimulus

LIHUE — Renovation and operation of the historic Coco Palms Resort in Wailua is expected to provide Kauai with a major economic boost — 1,970 jobs and a $230 million output, to be exact — according to a new report.

“Sounds good,” said Bob Bartolo of the Kapaa Business Association. “It’s a win for the county, they’re going to collect more taxes, and a win for our people because they’re going to have more jobs.”

The Hyatt-branded hotel, slated to open in 2017, will feature 363 rooms and several food and beverage services, including a main restaurant and bar, pool grill and bar, luau, and beach bar and grill.

Other planned facilities include two ballrooms, two meeting rooms, two pools, a fitness center, Camp Hyatt and a historical museum, according to the economic report prepared by Florida-based Evans, Carroll & Associates, Inc.

The construction phase (including architecture and engineering services and the purchase of furniture, fixtures and equipment) is expected to cost $85 million and create 1,306 new jobs. Once complete, Coco Palms is expected to employ 664 people — 279 in hotel operations and 385 in food and beverage. The jobs should lower Kauai’s unemployment rate, which was 4.9 percent in April.

Construction jobs are expected to pay an average of $43,800 per year, while jobs in hotel operations will average $24,300, the report says. 

In the first full year of operation, the resort will have an average daily room rate of $236.66 and an occupancy rate of 72 percent, for total room revenues of $21.8 million, according to the report. Revenues from other operated departments will boost that figure to $24.992 million, and food and beverage services are expected to bring in $20.461 million in 2017.

Bartolo said he is also excited about the developers ridding the island’s Eastside of a decades-old blight.

“No matter how you look at it, you can’t lose,” he said.

The Coco Palms Resort, which served as a backdrop for the 1961 film “Blue Hawaii” starring Elvis Presley, has remained vacant and run down since Hurricane Iniki struck the island on Sept. 11, 1992. Last month, Coco Palms Hui confirmed that global Hyatt Hotels Corporation will operate the iconic Kauai landmark once it is finally reopened.

The resort has also announced plans to install a $10 million, 3-megawatt solar array to power nearly all of the new resort’s electricity needs — about $250,000 per month. Construction of the solar facility is expected to cost $10 million.

• Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cdangelo@thegardenisland.com.

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