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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, April 26, 2002

A&B partnership to hasten resort project on Kaua'i

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

Alexander & Baldwin Inc. has partnered with a private Arizona real estate development firm to modify and accelerate construction of the long-planned Kukui'ula resort community in Po'ipu, Kaua'i.

A&B announced the joint-venture agreement with DMB Associates Inc. yesterday, and said an initial component of residential units is anticipated to break ground within 18 months.

Other parts of the 1,045-acre project, which will cost hundreds of millions of dollars overall, consist of hotel and time-share units, an 18-hole golf course and commercial property.

However, the exact number and layout of residential, hotel and time-share units will be reassessed under the new partnership.

Kukui'ula is expected to be fully built over 15 to 20 years, according to A&B spokeswoman Meredith Ching. That's less than the 20 to 30 years as previously planned.

"We are very excited about setting a quicker pace on this project and are particularly pleased to be moving forward with such an experienced, high-caliber partner as DMB," Allen Doane, A&B's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Kaua'i Mayor Maryanne Kusaka said in a statement that she was delighted to see new progress for the project that will bring capital and development momentum to the island.

"We have worked closely with A&B to address many challenges over the years and were always confident that they would find the right vision for this property," she said.

A&B, which owns about 22,000 acres on Kaua'i, first initiated the Kukui'ula master plan and began to seek approvals in 1985. A key state land approval was granted in 1995 for the project, then envisioned with 3,400 homes, a marina and golf course.

But the aftermath of Hurricane 'Iniki in 1992 and the economic downturn that followed led A&B to mothball Kukui'ula.

In 1998, A&B restarted the planned project then envisioned with a 200-unit low-rise hotel, 300 time-share units, residential homes and a golf course.

The marina was eliminated, and the number of approved hotel and time-share units increased to 700 — making Kukui'ula the biggest resort development on Kaua'i since Princeville at Hanalei was begun more than 30 years ago.

In 1999, A&B began selling 32 residential lots known as Koloa Estates, which sold out earlier this year.

The company has all necessary approvals for the resort, golf course and residential units on 837 acres. Another 208 acres are partially approved for development.

Ching said if significant changes are made to the master plan, more entitlements may need to be obtained. A&B and DMB will jointly reassess the project and guide future development, though Ching said how development costs will be shared has yet to be determined.

DMB has developed several master-planned communities in Arizona, California and Utah — mostly resort properties with joint-venture partners.

The Scottsdale-based firm, established in 1984, has 12 ongoing or recently completed projects with a total of 10 golf courses and 40,000 residential units.

Drew Brown, DMB's president and managing partner, said Kukui'ula is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for his company. "We have long wanted to establish a presence in Hawai'i," he said.