[ Coco Palms ]   Remembering and Reviving the
Coco Palms Hotel
Kauai, Hawaii
Home > Articles > Condominium sales signal new life
Home
News
History
Photos
Articles
Memories
Mahalo
Contact
 
Condominium sales signal new life for Kauai's Coco Palms
Pacific Business News (Honolulu) - August 4, 2006
by Kristen Consillio | Pacific Business News

Kauai's historic Coco Palms Resort has reached a significant milestone -- the start of sales this month for 200 luxury resort condominiums.

After years of anticipation of a rebirth, the former kitschy hotel made famous by Elvis Presley's film "Blue Hawaii" hopes to sign a management contract this month with Colorado-based luxury resort operator RockResorts.

RockResorts, which was created in 1956 by Laurance Rockefeller, formerly managed The Lodge at Koele and Manele Bay on Lanai; The Mauna Kea Beach Hotel on the Big Island; and Kapalua Bay Hotel on Maui. It currently has no Hawaii properties.

RockResorts would run the hotel component of the project, which includes 48 cottages, and restore the former hotel's Polynesian ambience. The Wailua resort closed after it was heavily damaged by Hurricane Iniki in 1992 and couldn't afford repairs to the property.

Prices for condos ranging from 920-square-foot one-bedrooms to 3,200-square-foot three-bedroom penthouses are set at between $1 million and $7 million. Owners will have the option of placing the condos in a hotel rental pool. Rates for the 48 hotel cottages haven't been determined.

Developers will add a spa and an over-the-highway walkway between the hotel and Wailua Bay.

Part-time Kauai resident Richard Weiser, principal of Coco Palms Ventures, says the project costs are well over the $220 million originally forecasted. Coco Palms Ventures is a joint venture between The Weiser Cos. Inc. and Annapolis-based Petrie Ross Ventures.

The damaged resort buildings are expected to be demolished in 30 to 60 days with groundbreaking set for late fall. Construction is expected to be completed in fall 2008.

Kauai-based Oceanfront Realty International Inc. in Princeville will exclusively sell the condominiums. Coco Palms Ventures also has contracted Honolulu-based Architects Hawaii and Hawaiian Dredging/Shioi Construction based on Kauai.

"It's just a great step forward -- it really is the last piece of the puzzle we're trying to put together to make our island whole again," said former Kauai Mayor Maryanne Kusaka, a consultant for the project.

Kusaka, who sang at the former hotel in the late 1960s, says there is widespread support on the island for the restoration of the famed resort.

"We have all been waiting for a return of this hotel because people have been associated with this property for so many years and to just see it wasting away by the wayside has been devastating to many of us," she said.

As part of the resort's community effort, the Council of Aloha comprising nine mostly Hawaiian members was created. The council is working with developers to ensure the restoration is culturally sensitive and follows Hawaiian protocol.

The hotel originally opened in 1953 with 24 rooms and grew to 416 rooms by the mid-1970s. It was formerly managed by Grace Guslander, who promoted Hawaiian customs and created the hotel's unique Polynesian ambience.

Coco Palms Ventures bought the resort in January for an undisclosed price. The sale included 16.4 acres and the transfer of 17 acres of state leasehold land.

Kusaka said other developers have been interested in restoring the property over the past 14 years, but no one has come this close to reopening the resort.

"Off and on, people have been interested but one thing or another put a damper on plans," she said.

Jim Reed of Newport Beach was the last developer interested in buying the hotel in 2000, but after Sept. 11 he lost his investors, Kusaka said.

kconsillio@bizjournals.com | 955-8036

All original material © 2007 Cisan Online Ventures