Over a year ago, I reported that Kauai’s legendary Coco Palms Resort would reopen as a Hyatt. And at that time, demolition was about to commence. But since then, there hasn’t been much news on the resort. So finally, here’s Coco Palms Resort update 2.
The Good News
Even though a lot of time has passed since the last update, there actually is good news to report on the project. At present, all major demolition work has been completed, and the property is ready to begin its transformation. And, currently, the property owners hope to reopen the Coco Palms Resort in 2019. For those of you wonder, they still intend to have the resort branded under the Hyatt Unbound Collection.
The Bad News
Unfortunately, construction work at the Coco Palms won’t begin anytime soon. In fact, the property owners anticipate construction won’t begin until mid-2018. The holdup? Permitting. The Kauai County government has yet to approve the final building permits the property owners need to commence construction work. And thus far, some government officials are questioning the project, casting doubt on the permitting process. In fact, Hawaii News Now recently quoted Kauai County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura saying “there’s a lot of concern about how much more tourism growth we can handle at this point. I know there are some alternative visions for that site and it may be time to take a look at those.”
Ouch. To make matters worst, a group of Native Hawaiians claiming to be the descendants of Kauai’s last ruling chief have claimed the property and are occupying it. And it doesn’t look like they’ll be going anywhere soon. A Kauai County Circuit Court judge is allowing the group to remain on the property, at least for now.
What We Know
Should Coco Palms obtain its building permits and complete construction, the new resort will be built using the shell of the original resort. Nearly all of the old buildings have been retained and have been gutted. And once those buildings are refitted, it’s envisioned that the property will boast 350 guest rooms, 50 less than during the property’s heyday. I’m guessing that the reduction in total rooms is a move to make the property more luxurious and to be able to better compete with newer rivals. Afterall, Kauai is already home to a St. Regis, Westin, Grand Hyatt, and a number of luxury boutique properties.
Coco Palms Resort Update 2 Final Thoughts
This restoration project has been a long, slow process. Thus far there’s been funding issues, permitting issues, and now even land rights issues. If I’m honest, things aren’t looking too good for the Coco Palms right now; especially with anti-development sentiments being shared by government officials. But I sincerely hope the Coco Palms redevelopment project can be brought to fruition. So far the renderings look great and based on what little information we know today, it’s going to be a property I’d like to give a try.
Even if permitting is granted by mid-2018 as is the hope, I have serious doubts the property will open in 2019. Today, it stands as an empty shell. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done, which includes completely new infrastructure and enormous amounts of landscaping. Personally, I think a late 2020 opening date is more plausible. But I sincerely hope I’m wrong!