Aug. 09--The long-shuttered Coco Palms Resort, once the playground of celebrities and the filming site for "Blue Hawaii," starring Elvis Presley, soon could be restored to its pre-Hurricane Iniki glory days.
Coco Palms Hui LLC, a local investment group, has a deal to buy the circa-1953 resort, which closed in 1992 after destructive winds and water swept through the property. Developer Tyler Greene, who is a managing partner with Bridge Real Estate, said the hui applied and paid for a demolition permit Thursday and already has a team on-site cleaning up the property and putting up dust fences and security lighting.
"We still have to get the demolition and building permits to proceed," Greene said.
"Since we plan to restore the property as it was before, it falls under the Hurricane Iniki Ordinance and we won't need to do an environmental impact statement."
Greene said the hui hopes to close the deal in the next few months, get the necessary permits and start construction by the first quarter of next year. Plans include cleaning up the famous lagoon and restoring about 350 to 388 hotel rooms from the original 398.
"We'd like to have an Elvis component, too," Greene said, adding that investors hope to have the resort back in operation by the end of 2015 or the beginning of 2016.
This latest investment group is about the fourth developer to express interest in the resort since it closed. Annapolis, Md.-based Petrie Ross Ventures has owned the resort since 2006.
The company, which paid $12.3 million for the hotel, had plans to transform the decaying Coco Palms into a resort with 200 condominiums and 28 hotel rooms with two restaurants and a banquet and conference center. However, plans were shelved in 2007, when Kauai's tourism and real estate market slowed. The company's development entitlements for Coco Palms were revoked by the Kauai Planning Commission earlier this year.
"We've been watching Coco Palms for the last few years," Greene said.
"We think Kauai's current hotel market makes it the right time to restore it to its original glory and to honor and respect the land that it sits on. The other plans didn't work because they were trying to do time shares and condos. We feel this land is best suited for its original use as a hotel."
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