Thursday, June 10, 2004

5 new resorts
target Maui

Time-share condos account for
three of five projects that
would add 1,760 units in
Kaanapali and Kihei

KAANAPALI, Maui >> Several major resort projects are being developed or proposed for Maui -- the first major sign of a tourism construction upswing on the Valley Isle since the Four Seasons Resort, Kea Lani Hotel and Grand Wailea Resort opened in the early 1990s.


Three of the five recent proposals or projects are time-share resorts, rather than hotels.

Developers say Maui has a low inventory of time-share units, spurring demand for them, and that the time-share industry fared considerably better than hotels in the aftermath of Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the East Coast.

David Matheson, corporate affairs vice president of Starwood Vacation Ownership, said the time-share industry has continued to grow at a "pretty healthy clip."

"The long-term outlook for Maui for us is quite strong," he said.

While Starwood hotels' occupancy rates dropped to about 32 percent in Orlando, Fla., after the 9/11 attacks, the occupancy rate for its time-share properties decreased slightly to 82 percent from 92 percent, he said.

Starwood's Westin Kaanapali Ocean Resort has completed construction of the first phase 103-unit time-share complex on 13.9 acres north of Kahekili Park.

The company is expected to complete construction of the remaining 177 units in mid-2005.

Starwood is also proposing to expand the resort to an adjacent 11.4-acre parcel north of its current development.

The proposed time-share expansion, estimated at $183 million, will include the addition of 258 units with four guest wings ranging from four to six stories.

Matheson said the time-share properties will complement the nearby Westin Maui hotel in Kaanapali and that time-share guests will have access to many of the hotel's amenities.

He said the people expected to purchase time shares are well-educated, affluent professionals who enjoy travel and that many will come from California, although many will also be from New York, Texas and Michigan.

In time sharing, various people own a condominium or hotel unit, and each is entitled to use the unit one or several weeks a year during the period of ownership.

Also on North Beach at Kaanapali, Maui Beach Resort LP is proposing to develop a 700-unit resort on a 39.8-acre lot south of Embassy Suites in Kaanapali.

The resort, which still requires a permit from the Maui Planning Commission, would include 628 hotel rooms and 72 townhouses.

Attorney B. Martin Luna said Maui Beach Resort also has an option on developing a 16.6-acre lot south of the proposed 700-unit resort.

In South Maui, Genesee Capital plans to develop 400 time-share units at the Maui Lu Resort in Kihei.

The development includes converting or replacing 162 hotel units at the resort on about 27.8 acres. The time-share units would be two-bedroom or three-bedroom units.

Gregory Schneider, president of Genesee Capital, said his business decided to redevelop the Maui Lu property because of the scarcity of time-share units.

"There's virtually very, very little time share on Maui, especially on the south side," he said.

Genesee said the time-share units will be in the midlevel range and sell for about $20,000 to $30,000 for a one-week interval.

He expects to sell the 400 units in six to eight years and operate the place as a hotel in the meantime.

Also in South Maui, Colorado hotelier Craig McBride has proposed building a 225-room Kamaole Beach Hotel along south Kihei Road between the Maui Coast Hotel and the Pacific Shores condominium.

The project, which could be built as high as six stories, requires a county special management area permit.

Not including Kaanapali Ocean Resort phase one, the projects would add 1,760 units to the accommodations inventory.


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