Kyo-ya adds Maui resort to upgrades
by Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer
The owner of five Sheraton hotels in Hawai'i has broadened a $1 billion renovation and redevelopment initiative beyond its four Waikīkī hotels, with plans to upgrade and expand the Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa.
Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts is working on conceptual plans that would renovate parts of the property and add 410 residential condominiums and condo-hotel units to the existing 508-room property in Kā'anapali.
If realized, the project would be the second major overhaul in two decades for the oceanfront hotel complex, and follow recent upgrades by Kyo-ya to the Sheraton Waikiki and Royal Hawaiian hotel as well as more advanced plans for partial redevelopments of its Princess Kaiulani and Moana Surfrider hotels that could begin construction in 2012 pending approval.
"The Sheraton Maui redevelopment is part of Kyo-ya's overall plan to reinvest in all of its hotels in Hawai'i," said Greg Dickhens, executive vice president of the company.
At a rough potential cost of around $500 million, the project would increase Kyo-ya's recently completed or planned investments to around $1.5 billion in Hawai'i.
Expanding the Sheraton Maui also would be the biggest addition of new resort accommodation units for the company among its recent projects.
Dickhens emphasized that the plan for the Sheraton Maui is conceptual and could change depending on market conditions, community feedback or other factors.
As presently crafted, changes for the six-building complex covering 23 acres would include renovations to existing hotel units, conversion of some hotel units to condos sold for residential use and conversion of other hotel units to condos sold to individual investors expected to keep them in hotel use as so-called condotel units.
410 NEW UNITS
The total number of units would rise from 508 to 918, with the number of hotel rooms maintained at 508.
The main hotel building known as the Molokai Wing, which dates to 1963 and is perched atop the Pu'u Keka'a promontory commonly known as Black Rock, would be renovated and converted into residential condos.
A group of single-story hotel villas known as the Pu'u Keka'a Presidential Suites also would be converted into residences.
And a building called the Cliff Tower along the inland face of Pu'u Keka'a would remain in hotel use.
Three other hotel buildings, a parking structure, tennis courts and the lobby and meeting room complex would be demolished and replaced by four towers containing a mix of hotel units, condotel units and residences. Two new parking structures also would be added.
Three of the four new buildings would rise 12 stories, or double the present height of the tallest buildings on the property.
Dickhens said present zoning allows buildings to be 12 stories.
Public amenities in the plan include a cultural park atop Pu'u Keka'a, affordable housing, a public canoe hālau and increased beach access and parking.
Under county rules, Kyo-ya would be required to build more than 100 affordable homes as a trade-off for the expansion of its resort.
Project representatives have been meeting with some community leaders and public agencies to discuss its plans in advance of submitting permit applications to Maui County and preparing an environmental impact statement. The company anticipates that the regulatory process will take at least a couple of years.
Some concerns have been raised by members of Maui County's Cultural Resources Commission over the possibility that work could disturb graves on the property.
A graveyard once existed atop Pu'u Keka'a, and other remains have been discovered during past construction on the site.
Patty Nishiyama, a member of cultural group Na Kūpuna 'O Maui who was briefed by Kyo-ya on its plan, said she opposes the project because of concerns that it will degrade Pu'u Keka'a and disturb more burials.
"I can't see them fitting all that new development on the pu'u," she said. "It seems like this (redevelopment) will really desecrate it some more. You can't call it Pu'u Keka'a anymore."
Dickhens said there would be minimal disruption to Pu'u Keka'a, and the benefit of replacing a parking lot on the site with a cultural park. A pool planned on the site would be built atop fill added to the ground.
Kyo-ya intends to prepare an archaeological inventory survey and a cultural impact statement to ensure proper treatment of archaeological and cultural issues.
Besides the environmental impact statement, Kyo-ya would need to obtain a shoreline management area permit from the county. But no zoning change is needed.
Dickhens said plans are too preliminary to estimate costs. But he said the project as envisioned could be close to the $550 million investment Kyo-ya plans for the Princess Kaiulani, which involves replacing two 11-story towers with a 33-story tower as well as a new parking structure and expanded retail.
The Sheraton Maui investment also would well exceed the $160 million spent to overhaul the property in 1997.
"It's a big undertaking," Dickhens said.
The Sheraton Maui was built by Sheraton Corp. in 1963, establishing the first hotel at Kā'anapali Resort. In 1974, the Tokyo-based parent of Kyo-ya, Kokusai Kogyo KK, bought the leasehold property and later acquired the land.
Sheraton, now a part of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, has continued to manage the hotel.