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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, February 23, 2006

Maui OKs Kapalua growth

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

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Maui County has approved an expansion of Kapalua Resort with 690 luxury homes and other attractions at the West Maui property over the next 10 to 15 years.

The plan, by resort owner Maui Land & Pineapple Co., is proceeding four years after the Kapalua Mauka project was initially proposed, and is expected to help improve the real-estate and resort development business for the largely agricultural company.

"Kapalua Mauka is vital to the repositioning efforts of our resort operations," David Cole, chairman, president and CEO of Maui Land & Pine, said in a statement.

"This project enables us to achieve sufficient scale to support a larger scope of amenities and visitor services throughout the Kapalua Resort, which in turn enhances our competitive position at the pinnacle of the hospitality industry."

Kapalua Mauka is to be developed on 925 acres of former pineapple land around one of the resort's three championship golf courses, The Village Course.

Under the approved plan, Maui Land & Pine can add another nine holes of golf, but instead plans to redesign The Village Course and give it a clubhouse.

Other elements of the resort expansion include parks, trails, a mountain adventure center and perhaps a general store.

The residential component is designed to be a mix of luxury home sites, villas and condominiums.

Under an agreement with the county, Maui Land & Pine will develop 173 homes outside the resort in West Maui for low- and moderate-income residents under county affordable-housing guidelines.

Bob McNatt, Maui Land & Pine executive vice president and general manager for community development, said home prices at Kapalua Mauka are likely to be at the million-dollar-plus level, though it would be premature to give a more specific estimate. Sales are not anticipated to begin until next year.

Completion of the master-planned community is estimated to take 10 to 15 years.

The company received zoning approval for Kapalua Mauka by a 6-3 County Council vote after a lengthy environmental review process, reclassification of the agriculture-zoned land by the state Land Use Commission and public hearings.

Kapalua Resort is a 23,000- acre master-planned resort amid Maui Land & Pine pineapple fields.

Other planned changes at the resort include closing the 196-room Kapalua Bay hotel in April to build a 155-unit time-share and condominium complex.

Maui Land & Pine also is planning 895 homes, an elementary school, community gardens, parks and walking trails on 312 acres of former pineapple fields surrounding Kapalua Airport.

This project, called Pulelehua, would restrict 450 of the homes to low- to moderate-income Maui residents, and includes the 173 affordable homes to be provided in connection with Kapalua Mauka. Pulelehua is subject to county approval, which if obtained could allow construction to start next year.

Reach Andrew Gomes at agomes@honoluluadvertiser.com.