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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hotel Hana-Maui being sold again; new owners planning to cut jobs

By Alan Yonan Jr.
Advertiser Staff Writer

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

A visitor relaxes on the grounds of the Hotel Hana-Maui, which has been bought by a Denver-based company.


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A Denver-based real estate investment and development company said yesterday it is buying the Hotel Hana-Maui and plans to cut an unspecified number of jobs.

Privately held Amstar Group LLC, which will become the third owner of the luxury hotel in a year and a half, did not disclose the terms of the purchase. The deal is expected to close next month.

Amstar subsidiary Green Tea LLC will manage the property. Amstar said it expects to lay off an undetermined number of the 200 employees as it revamps operations at the 66-room boutique hotel.

Green Tea will create new job descriptions for hotel employees that "in the short term will mean a reduction in jobs," the company said in a news release.

"A change in the existing operational model is critical to turning the hotel around and into a viable operation," said Joe Berry, president of Green Tea. "Our revamped organizational structure will take a team approach requiring employees to have more than one role, so that no matter the task, we all work together and help each other out to ensure the long-term viability and success of the hotel and more jobs for the community," Berry said.

Green Tea will host an "employment fair" in the coming weeks at which current hotel employees and others can apply for the newly created positions, Berry said.

The current owner of the hotel, Ohana Hotel Co. LLC, bought the 70-acre oceanfront property in January 2009 from California-based Passport Resorts. Passport had acquired the hotel in 2001 and launched an extensive renovation project.

Sen. J. Kalani English, D-6th, (East Maui, Moloka'i, Lāna'i) welcomed news of the sale.

"I am very happy to welcome Amstar and its subsidiary, Green Tea LLC, to the Hana community," English said in a prepared statement.

"All of Hana has experienced the uncertainty surrounding the Hotel Hana-Maui's financial condition, and I think we are all extremely satisfied with the plans we have seen for the hotel's future.

The hotel has won more than 22 industry awards since reopening in 2002.