Coming down

KAPAA — Salvaging of the Coco Palms property is wrapped up, and demolition has begun.

On Monday, heavy demolition equipment took to the 46-acre lot, tearing down the former cottages.

“The people of Kauai have long sought the cleanup of the Coco Palms site since Hurricane Iniki hit,” said Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., who was on site for the demo Monday. “The start of demolition is a good step toward renewing a critical gateway and historical area on our island.”

The $3.5-million demolition project will place take on the mauka side of the lagoon, said Julie Simonton, vice president of Pacific Concrete Cutting & Coring, Inc, the company in charge of demolition.

Tours of the property have officially ended, and a 24-hour security guard will be monitoring the area, she added.

“Coco Palms is now a construction and demolition site and, for safety reasons, can no longer be accessible to the public,” she said. “No unauthorized people are allowed on the site and, if anyone is caught on the site, will be considered trespassing.”

Representatives from Coco Palms Hui, LLC, will be before the Planning Commission today to give an update on the project.

The once-bustling hotel was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki in 1992. Two decades later, Coco Palms Hui team hopes to restore it to its former glory.

When it opens in 2017 as Coco Palms Resort by Hyatt, the land will boast a 350-room resort, complete with 12,000 square feet of retail space, three restaurants, leisure areas and a four-acre cultural center.

The final cost for the hotel is $175 million.

Coco Palms will undergo a “selective demolition” process, meaning only the wooden structures will be destroyed. The footprint and square footage of the hotel, including the concrete structures, will be untouched, said Tyler Greene, a representative from Coco Palms Hui, LLC.

Instead of destroying structures like the Queen’s Audience Hall and the parking garage, PCCC will tear out the drywall and make mechanical and electrical repairs. The bungalow buildings will be elevated eight feet to adhere to Federal Emergency Management Agency standards, Greene said.

Demo officially began June 15, with PCCC workers cutting down overgrown trees and salvaging the inside of the cottages.

Nothing of significance was found during the cleanup process, Simonton said.

“Anything of historical or cultural value had been previously removed from the site,” she said.

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