Point man named for Turtle Bay
An agreement by the owner of the Turtle Bay Resort and its creditors to restructure a $400 million loan and install new management is seen as opening the way for the state to better negotiate a deal to acquire the controversial property on Oahu's North Shore.
Lenders on the property, including Credit Suisse and Wells Fargo, yesterday announced that they have named local developer Stanford Carr as interim management officer to head Kuilima Resort Co.'s operations until a new investor or buyer is found.
"Having Stanford Carr as a point man or go-to guy will help define our ability to stay closer on track than trying to deal with a corral full of creditors," said Bill Paty, chairman Turtle Bay Advisory Working Group commissioned by Gov. Linda Lingle.
Carr, whose companies include Stanford Carr Development and Pacific Island Realty LLC, is charged with finding an investor for the property.
"This creates the conditions for us to, at the appropriate time, engage the party that is now empowered to deal with investors, and we are still an interested party," said Ted Liu, head of the state Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism. Liu also is a member of Lingle's advisory group, which is seeking ways for the state to acquire the isolated resort to protect it from development. "We're dealing with someone we know and who knows what we're up against."
Nicola Jones, Kuilima's chief executive officer since May 2006 will relinquish her role at the resort. Jones said in a statement yesterday that the settlement "reopens the door to a wide range of prospective investors."
Credit Suisse filed last December a $283 million foreclosure lawsuit against Kuilima, whose loan was backed by resort assets.
Controversy over Turtle Bay flared in 2006 when Kuilima announced plans to build an additional 3,500 hotel and condo-
minium units on the property.
Under the agreement announced yesterday, Kuilima will continue to hold the title to the 858-acre property. An affiliate of Kuilima parent company Oaktree Capital Management L.P. will continue to hold the title to the 470 acres of agricultural lands located mauka of the resort.