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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, July 14, 2007

Starwood pulls out of Turtle Bay talks

By Robbie Dingeman
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

The planned expansion at Turtle Bay includes five new hotels with 3,500 rooms. But Starwood Hotels & Resorts won't be part of it.

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Starwood Hotels & Resorts has withdrawn from negotiations with Kuilima Resort Co. to purchase or partner in the expansion of the Turtle Bay Resort, which could include up to five new hotels, according to a resort spokesman.

"There were negotiations between Kuilima Resort Co. and Starwood," said Nathan Hokama, a spokesman for Kuilima resort. "Those negotiations have stopped."

He said Kuilima is still looking for a joint venture partner or an outright sale, but he would not divulge any details about what went awry with the Starwood talks or even whether those negotiations had centered on sale or partnership.

Hokama said the resort remains optimistic about other potential negotiations but he offered no timetable for the next step in the process.

"We are encouraged because there has been interest and inquiries about the property," Hokama said, on behalf of Oaktree Capital Management, the owner of Kuilima Resort Co.

Executives of Starwood Hotels & Resorts did not respond to a request to comment on this story and had declined to comment earlier on any pending talks.

Hokama said he could not comment on any next steps for development for the North Shore resort: "There are no definitive plans."

The proposed resort expansion includes five new hotels with 3,500 rooms and four public parks. Community opposition to the project has emerged from those who believe the massive expansion would change the character of the area.

Opponents say the project should be required to provide a supplemental environmental impact statement because the project is being undertaken more than two decades after the first environmental assessment was completed. But others support the project as one that would provide needed jobs in the area.

Reach Robbie Dingeman at rdingeman@honoluluadvertiser.com.