By Michele Kayal
Advertiser Staff Writer
Hilton Grand Vacations Co. officially unveiled its first timeshare property in Hawai'i yesterday - the renovated Lagoon Tower of Waikiki's Hilton Hawaiian Village.
"Hilton wanted to do a timeshare in this market because they had an opportunity in the center of a very successful resort," said Antoine Dagot, chief executive officer of Hilton Grand Vacations. "The combination of vacation ownership and a regular hotel creates much more synergy than just the hotel."
The 24-story building on Kalia Road was being used for apartments when Hil-
ton announced in 1999 that residents would have to move out by early last year so it could convert the site to a time-share property.
Since then, the 264-unit Lagoon Tower has undergone a $36 million renovation of its guest rooms and public areas and now features one-, two-, and three-bedroom condominium-style units as well as duplex penthouses.
About 15 percent of the "intervals," or timeshare blocks, have been sold, said Grand Vacations Hawaii Vice President Mark Wang. The first timeshare clients come to the property Jan. 27, Wang said.
Most of the towers units are currently being rented out like hotel rooms, Wang said. They will be removed from the rotation as timeshare blocks are sold.
Hilton Grand Vacations, owned by Hilton Hotels Corp., plans to extend its reach to other islands, Dagot said. The company is investigating a second property in Honolulu, he said, and properties on Kauai, Maui and other islands.
"Wed like to have a second project on line by 2004," he said.
Hilton joins the ranks of companies with timeshare projects in the islands, including Starwood, Hyatt and Mariott. The growing timeshare trend in Hawaii has boosted sales about 133 percent to more than $250 million over the past five years, according to some estimates.
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