LIHUE — A vacant Waipouli property that was once slated to host the 198-room Coconut Plantation Resort apartment hotel complex is back on the market after years of inactivity.
“It’s owned by a huge hedge fund in California, and they have made a simple business decision to get it off the books,” said William Bone, president of the Gadsden, Alabama-based National Auction Group, which is charged with selling the beachfront property along Kuhio Highway next month in an absolute action, where no asking price is attached and the property goes to the highest bidder.
“It could be a great opportunity to somebody because it’s a fabulous piece of property and it’s not often that you get to buy something this nice at your price,” Bone added.
Plans for the Coconut Plantation Resort date back to 2007, when county Planning Commissioners gave developers the green light to construct an apartment hotel complex containing 192 multi-family units, six hotel rooms, associated amenities, 399 on-site parking spaces, a cultural preserve area, and vertical and lateral beach access paths.
The 11.78-acre property, however, has sat vacant as developers worked to get the project off the ground and resolve legal challenges by residents who were concerned about the project’s environmental and cultural impact on the Royal Coconut Coast.
Those legal challenges, filed by 1,000 Friends of Kauai and native Hawaiian cultural practitioner Puanani Rogers in 2007, were dismissed by the state appellate court in 2010.
Some residents who opposed previous plans to build the resort say news of the sale opens the door to new possibilities, both good and bad.
The impending sale, Rogers said, will require her and others to “start all over again to educate the new developer of our concerns to protect and preserve the lands and shoreline.”
“They need to be educated before one shovel of dirt is turned,” Rogers wrote in an email. “Who is the new developer and is he privy to our cultural and traditional customary rights to the land? There are na iwi kupuna buried there and it is a popular area for people to swim, fish and picnic with their families. We need that more than we need another resort. I’m happy about one thing: the delay to build. To me, that is a small victory!”
Kilauea resident David Dinner said he is also cautiously optimistic about what lies ahead but opined that “it would make a beautiful open space just by leaving it alone.”
“It’s something that is hard to tell,” Dinner said. “It’s an opportunity for something different to happen, which would be great. I think it’s an opportunity for us to do something right, and I’m not sure what the possibility is, but we’ve done plenty of wrong on that whole strip of land along the Coconut Plantation area — this is an opportunity to change that.”
The Coconut Plantation Resort property, wedged between the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach and the Mokihana Lodge, was valued at $9.4 million for the 2015 tax year, according to county real property assessment records.
Though it has sat vacant over the years, the property last year was “infiltrated by vagrant/homeless people who have caused problems to and within the resort area,” the resort’s authorized agent, Avery Youn, wrote in a letter to county planning officials in December.
“The accumulation of trash and unsightly debris, tents, discarded bottles/cans, furniture stolen from the adjacent resorts, and fecal matter in the underbrush generated complaints from the two adjacent resort properties,” Youn wrote. “All debris and trash were removed from the property so that it would not be an eyesore within the resort area. After cleaning and trimming, the property is in better maintained condition, and now, any trespassers, or illegal campers/campsites can be seen from Aleka Loop or adjacent properties.”
Officials from the Lihue-based Niu Pia Land Company, Ltd. sold the property for $11.4 million in 2005 to a Delaware-based landholding company called Coconut Plantation Holdings, LLC, according to state Bureau of Conveyances documents.
The current Los Angeles-based owners, Coconut Plantation Owners, LLC, later purchased the property from Coconut Plantation Holdings, LLC officials in a foreclosure sale for $3 million in 2009.
The property is available for touring from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from March 9-16.
The live auction is set for Thursday, March 19 and will be held at the Courtyard Kauai at Coconut Beach, 650 Aleka Loop in Waipouli.
Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the auction will start at 1 p.m.
Info: (800) 648-6435