New managers sought for Volcano Golf Course

  • An aerial view of the Volcano Golf Course. (Courtesy photos

  • An aerial view of the Volcano Golf Course.

Kamehameha Schools is seeking bid proposals for new managers of Volcano Golf Course and Country Club after the previous managers abandoned the lease.

In May, the previous manager of the 156-acre property — Kailua-Kona-based corporation Hawaiian International Sporting Club — abruptly announced its dissolution and closed the golf course four years before its lease with Kamehameha Schools was to be terminated.

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Since then, Kamehameha Schools filed a lawsuit in the First Circuit Court in Honolulu, requesting the court to nullify the lease and return the property to Kamehameha Schools. The trust regained full possession of the property in August and announced Tuesday that bid proposals from prospective new managers of the course are being accepted.

Alapaki Nahale-a, Kamehameha Schools’ senior director of community strategies, said the trust has received inquiries about managing the property since HISC dropped out, but could not provide specifics about any actual proposals yet.

“We’re looking for someone who can fit all our core values, not just someone who can make it financially profitable,” Nahale-a said, referencing the school’s five values of community, culture, economics, education and environment.

Many terms of the new lease, including its length, will be determined through negotiations with the winning bidder, Nahale-a said. However, because of the substantial investment required by the managers, he added that Kamehameha Schools is pursuing a long-term lease.

While HISC became the lessee of the property in 1999, that lease originally began in 1969 and was set to expire in 2024.

The new manager will be responsible for restarting golf course operations and other amenities.

Since HISC abandoned the lease, the property had fallen into disrepair until Kamehameha Schools regained control of the property. The trust has since been maintaining the property, but the course remains closed.

Nahale-a said the terms of the lease may allow for an interim management policy that could allow the course to resume operations before the new management officially takes control of the property.

The lease also will include terms for rebuilding the country club on the property, which was damaged by a fire 2019 and has not been repaired. That fire caused an estimated $315,000 in damage and was still under investigation as of June.

Nahale-a did not have an estimate for how long the process of finding new management will take, saying it depends largely on the quality of the proposals.

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“We’ve heard from a lot of people concerned about what will happen to the course,” Nahale-a said. “It’s a historic course, and we don’t want it to degrade. We want to preserve as best we can.”

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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