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Coco Palms gets approval to use state land

November 11, 2016 GMT

WAILUA — The finish line for the demolition of Coco Palms is in sight.

”We hope to be done by the end of the year with demo and start construction in January,” said Tyler Greene, co-owner of Coco Palms Hui, LLC.

As part of the $3.5-million selective-demolition project, the Queen’s Audience Hall and parking garage will remain intact. Instead, crews with Pacific Concrete, Cutting & Coring are tearing out the drywall and making mechanical and electrical repairs.

Additionally, the bungalow buildings will be elevated eight feet to adhere to Federal Emergency Management Agency standards. And the Lotus Restaurant has been completely cleaned out.

By not leveling the hotel, representatives hope to keep the integrity of the structures.

While the county is monitoring the progress of the project, there is no deadline to finish the demolition, said Mike Dahilig, director of the county Planning Department.

As long as crews are working on the hotel, the demo permit, issued in October 2015, won’t expire, added Lyle Tabata, acting county engineer.

Greene and his business partner, Chad Waters, hope to restore the hotel, which was destroyed in 1992 by Hurricane Iniki, to its former glory.

If all goes according to plan, the resort will open in mid-2018 under the Hyatt brand. Coco Palms Resort by Hyatt will be part of the Hyatt’s Unbound collection, one of six upscale and luxury properties around the world, Greene said.

When the $175 million renovation is finished, the Kauai resort will boast 350 rooms, 12,000 square feet of retail space, three restaurants, leisure areas and a four-acre cultural center.

It is also expected to create about 1,800 jobs.

In October, the Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved issuing permits to Coco Palms Hui for use of state land on the property.

The state owns three parcels of land at Coco Palms, two of which are being used by Coco Palms Hui on a short-term basis during the renovation, according to the Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Greene and Waters have been involved with the project since 2012.

Chuck Blay, a Kauai geologist, said he plans to conduct surveys at Wailua Beach to prepare for increased usage in the area when Coco Palms is finished.

“It has had a history of going almost completely away over past decades,” he said. “We would like to learn more about how and why it may fluctuate from a beautiful, full, wide beac ah to almost nothing within months or even weeks.”