Kula Lodge owner eyes $15M revamp
By HARRY EAGAR
The Maui News
Kula Lodge, which has operated on a scenic hillside since before Maui County required building permits, wants approval to launch a $15 million reconstruction.
The proposal would not add to the 15 guest rooms, although it would replace them with new, bigger ones. It also would add a spa, pool and Jacuzzi.
The Maui Planning Department supports the proposal by owner Fred Romanchak. Since the lodge has its own zoning, called Kula Project District 1, a hearing in the district is required.
The Maui Planning Commission will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Kula Community Center to review the request.
Romanchak said he wants to demolish the main building, which houses the restaurant and the Curtis Wilson Cost Gallery, as well as the five two-story guest chalets. The newer Kula Market Place building would get a second story and a more level connection to the parking lot. Today, the steep lot requires a long walk down a concrete path to reach the entrance.
The gravel lot built to accommodate the market place also would be paved, and the entrances to Haleakala Highway would be revised to make for easier access.
The 3.7-acre lot has acquired residential neighbors since it was opened, and the last time the business had extensive changes, in the mid-'90s, it was required to take steps to control noise.
The new design would result in three principal structures: a main lodge and restaurant; a single building to house 850-square-foot guest rooms; and the commercial and retail building. There would be 110 parking stalls (some underground) and an on-site wastewater treatment plant.
The new main building, with two stories, would retain the restaurant's outdoor dining lanai, and have the spa and pool below.
The guest building would be three stories. The Kula Market Place would acquire a mezzanine and second story. The caretaker's cottage would be replaced.
The planning commission approved an earlier version of the redevelopment in May 2000, but the plan has since been considerably revised.
Although various incarnations of the lodge have existed since the 1940s, which predates the planning department and zoning code, the Project District 1 was enacted in 1989 to provide for development of the lot as a "retreat resort."