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MarriottWith sales in full swing before today's ground-breaking for the first phase of Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club, its owner, Marriott Vacation Club International, said it could easily bring 9,000 new visitors to the islands each year -- just to look at the project and other Marriott time-shares.
The project, which breaks groundMarriot's isle ties
today, will employ hundreds
and bring thousands to isles
Model homes opened
By Russ Lynch
The visitors will come on "preview package" deals, said Michael A. Kosmin, project director of the Ko Olina beach Club. The deals are six-day, five-night packages, not free but at a low price, marketed to millions of guests in Marriott's hotels around the world.
The visitors are good customers and many of them have never been to Hawaii before, Kosmin said.
Construction alone will employ hundreds, starting with the first phase of the $300 million project, 124 villas, each 1,240 square feet with two bedrooms and two bathrooms. When finished, the complex will have 750 units. The first units will be occupied starting in early 2003.
Ko Olina is part of about $1 billion that Marriott International Inc. is investing to develop and market Hawaii projects. It was a little slow coming, with Marriott's only management operation in the islands for nearly two decades at the Maui Marriott.
"Mr. Marriott (J.W. Marriott Jr., board chairman of Marriott International) has always had a special place for Hawaii" in his heart, Kosmin said, but his company has not been very aggressive in this market until recently.
The Ko Olina Beach Club is the single-biggest project anywhere by Marriott Vacation Club International, the time-share division of Marriott International Inc. By the time all villas are sold, total sales for the Ko Olina project could be worth $2 billion -- 750 units times 51.5 weekly "intervals" at prices ranging from $18,000 to $55,000 per week.
"It's an ambitious goal," but the company's experience so far in selling Hawaii shows it will be reached, he said.
On Kauai, for example, sales of Marriott's 232-unit Kauai Beach Club near Lihue finished several months ago, five years ahead of schedule, Kosmin said. There's no question that Hawaii is top of the list as the place Marriott's customers want to visit, he said.
"People just crave Hawaii," he said.
Marriott has a great marketing tool through its hotels, with 16 million members in its Marriott Awards program, frequent customers who get mailings and promotions. They are a very brand-loyal crowd. More than 90 percent of those who bought Marriott time-shares use their allotted times themselves, rather than trading them with other time-share owners.
They make themselves at home once a year, visit restaurants, see friends and become part of the community, Kosmin said.
It is a myth that time-share visitors spend less in the community than those staying in hotels, he said. Studies show they spend 50 percent more in local shops, restaurants and attractions than hotel stayers for one simple reason: They have paid for their accommodations years ahead of time and don't have hotel room rates hanging over them, Kosmin said.
Marriott Vacation Club paid $30 million for 28 acres of Ko Olina land fee simple and eventually it will have a village there, with three outdoor pools, spas, a fitness center, shops and restaurants, built around one of the man-made lagoons. There will be a good relationship with the nearby JW Marriott Ihilani Resort and Spa and the 18-hole Ko Olina Golf Club, both managed by subsidiaries of Marriott Vacations' parent, Marriott International Inc.
Plans for the whole 640-acre Ko Olina resort are proceeding fast, too, with home-builders launching projects for hundreds of units. A marina is already in place and soon there will be a new restaurant and community center complex.
Those involved have taken to calling it a "reinvention" of Ko Olina, where plans scrapped long ago for a string of high-rises in a "second Waikiki" have given way to luxury homes, low-rise complexes and a single tall hotel, the Ihilani.
Marriott has the money and the connections to market the place. Marriott International pulled almost $20 billion in revenue last year from 2,300 operating units in 60 countries. The company operates or franchises some of the world's best-known hotel brands, including Marriott, Renaissance, Courtyard and Ramada International. It owns the Ritz-Carlton Hotel company and develops time-share resorts under the Marriott, Ritz-Carlton and Horizons brands.
Hawaii is a popular place for time-share developments. A study done for the local chapter of the American Resort Development Association by KPMG, Market Trends Pacific and RCI Consulting shows there are more than 4,600 time-share units in Hawaii, a growth of more than 40 percent from just five years ago.
Time-share units make up 6.5 percent of Hawaii's 71,000 visitor units, the study said. They generate some 410,000 visitors to Hawaii each year.
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Marriott in Hawaii
Marriott Vacation Club International>> Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club, 750-villa time-share project in West Oahu on 28 acres bought by Marriott in January 2000. First phases, 124 villas, to be completed January 2003.
>> Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, 154 time-share units at the Maui Marriott, to be completed December 2001.
>> Marriott's Kauai Beach Club, 232 time-share units, Kalapaki Beach near Lihue.
>> Marriott's Kauai Waiohai Beach Club, 231 time-share villas. Under construction, completion 2003.
>> Sales gallery, 6,000 square feet, Waikiki Shopping Plaza. There is also a sales gallery at Ko Olina and another will open on January in the Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort
Marriott International Inc.>> Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort, 1,308-room hotel (formerly Hawaiian Regent), owns and manages.
>> Maui Marriott Resort & Ocean Club, 606 hotel rooms, 154 time-share units, owns and manages.
>> Ritz-Carlton Kapalua, Maui, 549-room hotel, manages and partially owns.
>> JW Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa, Ko Olina, 387-room hotel, and the 18-hole Ko Olina Gold Club, both owned by Massachusetts Mutual Life, manages both.
>> Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort, 345-room hotel, manages.
>> Renaissance Ilikai Waikiki, 782-room hotel, managed by Interstate Hotels Corp., marketed under the Marriott-owned Renaissance brand.
Source: Marriott International
Marriott's time-share project isn't the only development getting shown off today at the 640-acre Ko Olina Resort. Brookfield Homes opened eight model homes to the media as part of its 270-unit project, The Coconut Plantation, mauka of the Ko Olina Golf Club.
Brookfield unveilsBy Russ Lynch
Brookfield Homes Southland Inc., a California company whose parent is Toronto-based home-building giant Brookfield Homes, bought a 33-acre parcel at Ko Olina for an undisclosed price for the first phase.
To start with, it will build 18 duplex and multiplex homes, priced at more than $300,000 each.
Four are already reserved and the project doesn't even open to the public until this weekend, the developer said.
Brookfield has lined up two other parcels at Ko Olina, one of 30 acres and the other just more than 11 acres, and will build on them as sales progress. Brookfield says that it may build more than $300 million worth of homes at Ko Olina.
The Coconut Plantation is the first phase. The "Garden Villas" multiplex units will have apartments from 1,093 square feet to 1,715 square feet, in complexes of three, four and six units. Prices start in the "mid-$300,000" area, Brookfield said.
The duplex units, called "Grove Cottages," will start in the mid-$400,000 range and are sized from 1,350 square feet to 1,834 square feet.
All units have central air conditioning, lanais and granite-tile counters, the developers said.
Brookfield is one of the top 20 home-builders in North America and has been building residential communities since 1956.
Last year Brookfield Homes sold 2,660 homes for a total value of $1.05 billion. That makes it a significant new participant in Hawaii's home-building business.
The Ko Olina development came about because Jeff Prostor, president of Brookfield Homes Southland, decided to look around a bit more on a trip to Hawaii 18 months ago
He said he took a look at Ko Olina and fell in love with it, at the same time dreaming of a design that would echo the plantation days of old Hawaii in a modern community.
"We have learned over the years that people today look for much more than a building to live in," he said. "They want a home that is part of a community."