Coco Palms to be restored by 2018

KAPAA — The demolition phase of Coco Palms is closer to being completed.

Construction crews took a break for the holidays and went back to work last Monday, said Tyler Greene, co-owner of Coco Palms Hui, Inc.

If all goes to plan, demolition will be wrapped up in 60 days, he said.

As part of the $3.5 million selective-demolition project, the Queen’s Audience Hall and parking garage will remain intact. By not leveling the hotel, representatives hope to keep the integrity of the structures.

Demolition included tearing out the drywall, making mechanical and electrical repairs, clearing out the Lotus Restaurant and elevating the bungalow buildings so they adhere to Federal Emergency Management standards.

The demolition permit, which was issued in October, doesn’t expire. And while the county is monitoring the progress of the project, there’s no deadline to finish the project, said Mike Dahilig, director of the county Planning Department.

By spring, crews are expected to start Phase II — renovation and reconstruction — which will begin after the company receives its building permits.

“We are currently processing the building permits,” Greene said. “We are estimating that this will take a few months.”

Greene expects construction costs to be $135 million.

Coco Palms Hui, Inc., is also looking for accredited local investors with a minimum of $100,000 to be a part of the project.

“We are putting together local investors now and have had some great excitement about being part of the project. We will match the local investment with larger institutional equity,” Greene said. “We are currently in discussions now with larger equity partners who are interested in being a part of the project.”

The iconic Coco Palms hotel was damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and has sat idle since.

Greene and his business partner, Chad Waters, who have been involved in the project since 2012, hope to restore it to its former glory.

The 74-acre property will boast 350 rooms, 12,000 square feet of retail space, three restaurants, leisure areas and a four-acre cultural center.

The hotel will also create about 1,800 jobs.

The $175 million hotel is expected to open its doors by the end of 2018.

It will open under the Hyatt brand and be renamed Coco Palms Resort by Hyatt. It will be part of the Hyatt’s Unbound Collection, one of six upscale and luxury properties around the world, Greene said.

Other Hyatt Unbound locations include Miami Beach, Florida; Austin, Texas; Paris; Carmelo; Uruguay; and Phoenix, Arizona.

Other plans for the hotel include operating a shuttle between Coco Palms and Wailua Beach, which will be open to guests and the public.

As another way to mitigate traffic along Kuhio Highway near Coco Palms, the Hawaii Department of Transportation plans to widen Kuhio Highway from Kuamoo Road to the Kapaa Bypass Road. The $15 million project is expected to begin three years after funding is secured, said Timothy Sakahara, HDOT spokesman.

That project, which was identified by the Kapaa Solutions Working Group, made up of state, county and community business representatives, is the department’s top priority, he added.

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