$30M resort project moving forward

KAILUA-KONA — A $30 million resort project in Waikoloa is picking up steam again.

Two years after the Planning Department accepted applications to rezone part of a Waikoloa parcel and grant a special management area use permit for a proposed 44-unit resort development, the issue is moving forward again.

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The Leeward Planning Commission is expected to take up the issue later, perhaps in January. Its December meeting has been canceled.

While the applications were under review, it was determined that an archaeological inventory survey previously approved by the State Historic Preservation Division needed to be updated. A previously approved preservation plan also needed to be updated to reflect that survey.

The site is part of a 10-acre coastal property that includes Lava Lava Beach Club restaurant. The parcel is owned by Waikoloa BC LLC, according to the County of Hawaii Real Property Tax Office.

An application to subdivide that parcel into 7.849 acres and 2.151 acres is pending approval of the special management area permit request. The larger portion, which wouldn’t include the restaurant, is the site of the proposed 44-unit resort development.

The project would consist of 44 rental units tentatively set to be within 12 single-story bungalows, 16 two-story duplex units and 16 more units in a two-story structure. Other structures include a single-story caretaker’s cottage, a restaurant/cafe, fitness center, reception area and 55 parking spaces.

None of those structures would exceed 30 feet in height, according to documents filed with the Planning Commission.

While the project’s concept remains the same, the location and height of the structures had to be changed because of the updated archaeological inventory survey and preservation plan.

Because the project had changed, the more recent report was filed to provide “a better and clearer idea of what is being proposed,” according to the application.

The report says the updated archaeological survey of the 10-acre site, which was approved by the State Historic Preservation Division ultimately recommended six sites for preservation, including petroglyph sites and two anchialine ponds. Trails in the area will also be preserved.

The application said that the company would ideally develop the project all at once, but acknowledged that projects such as this rely on economic conditions and demand.

If conditions required it to be built in phases, phase one would include some of the bungalows, the reception/office area, parking and landscaping.

A second phase for all remaining components, including pools and the fitness center, would follow.

The company said it plans to get any other permits and start making needed improvements immediately upon getting development permits, putting completion of the first phase or the entire project within five years of approval of the zoning change.

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If done in phases, the second phase could be completed within three years of the first phase.

The project is also expected to create at least 150 construction-related jobs in the short term and in the end, generate about 30 full-time-equivalent positions, about a third of which would be office-related or retail. The rest would be for maintenance of the grounds and facilities.

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