Reprinted with Permission from Maui News, 9/14/97

 

Developer plans new Makena hotel

By HARRY EAGAR

Staff Writer

WAILEA -- Before the decade is out, Makena Resort plans to build another hotel just south of the Maui Prince. It would be the only large new resort built on Maui in the '90s, following the extraordinary building of the '80s.

Resort Vice President Yoichi Asari said Thursday that the size, style and level of service of the new resort have not been settled, but for planning purposes it is being treated as a 500-room hotel. The Maui Prince has 310 rooms.

Makena Resort was before the Land Use Commission Thursday at the Aston Wailea Resort to ask for boundary amendments on 146 acres. These would be added to the 500 acres that were urbanized in 1973.

Both the county Planning Department and the state Office of Planning supported the application, with conditions to ensure environmental and other concerns. No one opposed it.

The commission will make its decision no earlier than January.

The next phase of Makena Resort includes 1,500 units of multifamily housing, the hotel and, first, a sewage treatment plant.

Lack of assured water and sewage treatment were among the factors that slowed development of Makena Resort, but lack of demand was also a factor.

Resort spokesmen said they decided to go ahead with a 700,000-gallon-a-day private sewage plant, expandable to 1.5 million gpd.

Irrigation of the golf courses is by brackish water from wells on the property and reclaimed water. The resort eventually will require 2.13 mgd of potable water.

Makena is owed at least that much water from its participation in the Central Maui Joint Venture that developed more than half the water now available in Central and South Maui. However, the joint venture did not get as much water as predicted, so there is a question about whether the water owed will actually be there.

That question, raised by LUC member Casey Jarman, was the only serious negative raised at the hearing. Resort spokesmen said they believe water will be available when they need it.

The Department of Water Supply makes such decisions at the time a meter is applied for. The project needs some rezoning and a special management area permit, but Asari said the resort hopes to start the multifamily development in 1998.

Final design decisions on those have not been made, either, but he said they probably will resemble condominiums in Wailea.

Although the Maui Prince has had low occupancies since it opened, consultant Ann Bouslog said Maui island is on the verge of running short of hotel rooms -- within five to 10 years.

Bouslog, a former KPMG Peat Marwick hospitality specialist who now has her own consulting firm, Mahiko Corp., said ``the trend in visits has been reversed.'' Not only that, ``the county of Maui's capture rate has actually increased during the '90s.''

The ``capture rate'' is the share of total visits in Hawaii that go to Maui County.

Occupancies have risen to 73 percent to 75 percent, up 10 points between 1991 and 1995, with strength shown in the ``other Maui'' category that includes Makena. (These figures are compiled by Pannell Kerr Forster.)

As room rates are also rising strongly, that indicates a potential shortage of rooms.

Landowners on Maui have zoning to build another 2,800 visitor rooms, said Bouslog, but some of the these areas are not going to be built. Even assuming all of them are, she testified, Maui ``will need 700 to 2,000 more rooms'' by 2005 and up to another 2,000 rooms by 2010.

She was asked whether her calculations took into account the lengthening of the Kahului Airport runway. No, she said, but if it were built the demand could be even higher.

Similarly, she offered economic justification for the 1,500 multifamily units by noting that sales of off-beach condos have been around 50 per year and increasing. Makena Resort foresees its sales at 75 to 100 per year. All 1,500 could be sold by 2015, she said.

Besides water, the only area that generated several questions was affordable housing. Jarman noted that the Makena condos, and their associated water demand, would not be for local people.

As of now, the resort would be liable for building affordable housing along with the hotel and as part of the condos.

However, Planning Director David Blane said the county administration is reconsidering the affordable housing ordinance, since there is an excess of unsold housing in that price range now.

Makena said it would adhere to the law at the time it gets permits. Jarman asked whether that could mean no affordable housing requirement at all.

That could be possible, she was told.

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Psy 412 Miami University. Last revised: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 17:06:35. This document has been accessed 1 times since July 15, 1997. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman .