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  From The Honolulu Advertiser, Friday, August 18, 2000:

Kaua'i hotel sale goes to court
By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kauai Bureau

LIHU'E, Kaua'i ó The buyer and seller are in court over the sale of the old Coco Palms Hotel, whose redevelopment has been approved by the Kaua'i Planning Commission.

Neither party would predict when the issue might be resolved, nor when the hotel, closed since shortly after 1992ís Hurricane 'Iniki, might once again welcome visitors.

The venerable property, across Kuhio Highway from Wailua Beach and built around ponds that once were the property of a Kaua'i queen, was the first of a class of Polynesian resort that ultimately was copied throughout the Pacific.

Grace Guslander, the late hotelier who conceived of the resort, nestled thatched-roofed bungalows around lagoons where outrigger canoes were paddled. Pacific artifacts filled the public spaces, and rooms included such features as giant clamshell bathroom sinks.

Resort owner Wailua Associates, which operated Coco Palms through Park Lane Hotels, shut down the hurricane-damaged hotel a few months after the storm, and then became locked in an extended struggle with the insurer over the value of the storm loss.

After discussing the sale of the property with a number of suitors, Wailua Associates agreed to sell it to developer James Reedís Lincoln Consulting Group. Reedís attorney said the sale price is $10 million.

Reed proposed retaining much of the Polynesian feel of the place but converting it into a 232-unit time-share project, with 20 luxury units to be operated as traditional hotel suites.

The Kaua'i Planning Commission in March approved zoning permits for the project, subject to a number of conditions calling for the preservation of archaeological features and human burials on the sandy grounds.

But there has been little progress since then. Reedís attorney, Jack Dwyer, said the parties are in a legal dispute before the Circuit Court in Honolulu. Dwyer said the closing of the sale, which had been scheduled for Jan. 1, was delayed while the buyers reviewed a state Department of Transportation bypass road plan that could involve condemnation of part of the resort property.

Wailua Associates representatives had no comment on the causes for the delayed sale closing.

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