Saturday, February 3, 2001
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Posted on: Saturday, February 3, 2001

City plan may open Royal Kunia Golf Course

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser City Hall Writer

City Council Chairman Jon Yoshimura thinks this time the city is heading toward resolution of a debt that has kept the Royal Kunia Golf Course closed but ready for play since 1994.

The Central Oahu course has lush fairways, manicured greens and a view that stretches to Diamond Head, but it couldn’t be opened because of unfulfilled obligations by a Japanese developer.

In the early 1990s, developer Royal Oahu Resort Inc. promised to pay the city $25 million as a "community impact fee" for permission to build the course. The developer quickly paid $10 million to the city and $2 million to the Waipahu Community Foundation, leaving the city looking for the rest of the money.

Under the latest proposal, Yoshimura said, "The new owner will pay $2.5 million and a dollar per round in perpetuity."

Attorneys for JAC Hawaii, the major lender for owner Liongain Hawaii, could not be reached to comment on the latest proposal.

Mayor Jeremy Harris said through a spokeswoman that Yoshimura’s proposal sounds promising.

Yoshimura said he believes this proposal can succeed because all nine council members are willing to consider it and will have time to develop the proposal in the coming months.

"I’m confident after they weigh all the facts that they’ll be able to support the proposal," Yoshimura said.

He said the proposal is a good deal for the city because of the economic benefit of the additional jobs at the course, the recreational asset for the community, as well as the potential for luring major golf tournaments to the new course.

He has introduced a resolution asking the city Department of Planning and Permitting to review the proposal. Then it goes to the city Planning Commission, whose recommendation then returns to the City Council for decision-making.

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