Starwood Hotels bids on part of Turtle Bay
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has offered to acquire a portion of the Turtle Bay Resort on Oahu's North Shore.
The 880-acre resort, which has been quietly marketed by Eastdil Secured LLC for nearly a year, is down to a short list of potential buyers.
"We've been interested in Turtle Bay from the beginning and we're still interested," said Keith Vieira, director of Hawaii operations for Starwood.
Kuilima Resort Co., the entity that has owned Turtle Bay since 1988, has in recent years considered multiple options in developing the resort, including a joint venture to create a stand-alone project, selling off individual parcels to developers or selling the entire property, said Terry O'Toole, attorney for Kuilima Resort Co.
The resort has been caught up in labor disputes and controversy over ancient Hawaiian burials in recent years, as well as opposition to the site's zoning for five hotels with up to 3,500 hotel and condominium units.
"Kuilima has been seeking out interested parties, particularly a local partner who really shares their values to what's important with this resort," O'Toole said.
He said the resort hopes to have a partner or buyer secured in the near future.
Eric Gill, secretary/treasurer of Unite Here Local 5, the hotel workers' union, which last July settled a four-year labor dispute with the resort, said large private equity funds have looked at the property.
Hilton Hotels Corp. also has looked at the resort in recent years, but is not interested in bidding at this time, according to a Hilton executive who asked not to be identified.
Brokers familiar with Kuilima's plans said that a potential sale has been delayed because prospective buyers were concerned about the turmoil surrounding the beachfront resort.
Big Island developer Brian Anderson, whose company, Anekona LLC, owns the Ilikai hotel in Waikiki, said, "There's too much opposition -- they're furious, and I ain't going to touch that."