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  From Pacific Business News, Friday, Jan. 14, 2000:

New owner of Kauai's Coco Palms vows to honor tradition
PBN Staff

California developer Lincoln Consulting Group is another step closer to its goal of rebuilding Kauai's Coco Palms Resort as a combined time-share/hotel development, after gaining county Planning Commission permit approvals.

Lincoln's director, Jim Reed, says the company intends to move forward with the plans, which will see most of the old resort's buildings demolished, but will leave the coconut palm grove and other historic and culturally important sites.

Coco Palms might be the most evocative and atmospheric of all Hawaii resorts, and the new owner says it intends to rebuild the property in a way which "pays respect to the Kauai people in the tradition of [former owner] Grace Guslander."

The hotel has been closed for eight years after being devastated by Hurricane Iniki. Last year Newport Beach, Calif.- based Lincoln Consulting Group purchased the property and announced plans to develop it as a mixed time share-hotel resort.

A Kauai Public Planning Commission public meeting was scheduled to be held yesterday to consider Lincoln's proposal, which will include the demolition of much of the old resort and the raising of the levels of some of the signature lagoons.

Lincoln director Jim Reed says his company wants to "respect the historical, cultural, spiritual and hospitality significance" of the resort and its grounds.

The plans include a museum, and Reed says the company is looking at ways to retain the Coconut Palace and Queen's Audience Hall buildings.

"These are beautiful buildings that have nice murals inside, and we are hoping to retain and utilize them. They also have the styling and linkage to the past which we are very interested in maintaining and possibly improving upon."

A major change to the property results from federal requirements that guest lodging be 15 feet above water level, which will require raising the floor levels of all the units.

The levels of the lagoons themselves will also be affected, with the aim of better water circulation and improving the ambience, Reed says.

Honolulu architectural firm Wimberly Allison Tong & Goo is designing the project, which is estimated to cost $60 million. Reed says the company hopes to have the resort open by early 2002.

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