Coco rebuild in question

WAILUA — The county may revoke the permits necessary for the rebuild of the Coco Palms Resort.

The shuttered hotel’s restoration is once again up for debate, this time in front of the Planning Commission in a meeting scheduled at 9 a.m. today.

According to the agenda, the county’s planning director Michael Dahilig will present a petition to “modify or revoke” Coco Palms Hui, LLC’s certificate of service for class IV zoning permit, project development use permit, variance permit, and special management area use permit.

The planning department isn’t saying much about what that means.

“As we are entering a potential contested case hearing, any comment we are reserving to discuss before the planning commission tomorrow,” Dahilig said on Monday.

Tyler Greene, management partners of the Honolulu-based redevelopment firm Coco Palms Hui, said the company is still “just as excited about the project as we have ever been.”

“Things are moving forward on our end, and we are finalizing the financing for the project,” Greene said. “We expect to be closing on our loan shortly and then start the demolition process then.”

In August, the Kauai Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve a time extension to submit demolition permits, which is the first step in the estimated $135 million project to resurrect the historic hotel destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992.

In October, managing partner Chad Waters, told TGI the group had received the 25 necessary permits needed for demolition and construction of the planned 350-room Wailua resort.

Construction permits were given a submission deadline of October 2016.

Conditions approved by the planning commission required Coco Palms developers to complete demolition work within six months of when the permits were issued.

Demolition work has not started.

The deadline for demolition completion is April, giving the developers at most, about six weeks to finish the teardown phase of the project. The demolition is expected to take between four and six months.

Greene said the redevelopment firm started the financing process once the permits were released.

County Councilman Ross Kagawa said council members usually don’t comment on issues that aren’t before the council, but he said when the council granted the extension of the demolition permits last year, it was with high hopes.

“We felt like we should give these guys a chance to see if they could restore it back to how it was,” Kagawa said.

He said in his memory, this is the third time developers have tried to return the hotel to its former glory.

“I think the problem is, it’s going to cost millions just to clean it up and then to build, you probably need billions,” Kagawa said. “That’s why it’s a tough one. If it was a flat piece of land, we would have seen somebody build on there.”

Kagawa said, in his opinion, time’s run out for options to try and fix Coco Palms.

“That’s what the planning commission is talking about,” Kagawa said. “What do we do now?”

Coco Palms was ravaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and has never reopened, but in its glory days, the hotel was a magnet for some of the world’s rich and famous.

As of now, it’s planned to be reopened as a Hyatt-branded property in the spring of 2017.

The planning commission meeting will be in room 2A-2B of the Moikeha Building.

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