Coco Palms demolition decision deferred

LIHUE — A $135-million project to bring Coco Palms back to life is still moving ahead.

After being told that funding for the project is in the bank, the Planning Commission unanimously voted Tuesday to defer its decision on demolition of the resort until June 28.

The request was made by Mike Dahilig, director of the planning department, to give officials time to settle project negotiations that are currently being heard in hearings.

Once county officials give their approval, demolition can start immediately.

Officials were ready to begin the $3.5-million demolition as early as May 31, said Tyler Greene, representative for Coco Palms, Hui, LLC.

Coco Palms Hui reached an agreement in April with Private Capital, a loan company based in Utah, to fund the project.

“We were successful in sending over mobilization payment to PCCC, the construction contractor here on Kauai, so we’ve done everything on our side to get it going and moving,” Greene said.

Not every building will be torn down during demolition.

“We call it selective demo,” Greene said.

“There are some steel and concrete structures in the front (of the resort) that will get extensively cleaned up, so the mechanical, electrical and drywall will be torn out, but the structure itself will remain the same,” he said.

The Queen’s Audience Hall will be constructed in the same way, Greene said.

The bungalow buildings will be elevated eight feet to adhere to Federal Emergency Management Agency standards, he added.

During the meeting, Greene and John Pang, another Coco Palms representative, recognized the long road the company has taken with the planning commission to get the project started.

Coco Palms Hui plans to demolish and rebuild the historic 350-room resort, which has been shuttered since Hurricane Iniki buffeted the island in 1992.

“I want to express my gratitude for your patience and assistance in getting us here,” Pang said.

Greene added: “We all know this has taken a lot longer than we ever wanted or expected, but we remain positive and are ready to start this journey.”

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