Thursday, October 29, 1998

Amfac donates land,
gets permit for
Maui development

By Gary T. Kubota


WAILUKU -- Lahaina resident Elizabeth Chenowith had wanted the 90-plus acres of undeveloped land north of Kaanapali resort to become a public park, but said she was happy to see at least 27 acres set aside for public use.

The Maui Planning Commission last night approved a shoreline permit for landowner Amfac/

JMB Hawaii for a 280-unit timeshare development at North Beach, clearing the way for the 27-acre park donation to the county.

Chenowith and husband David were among the residents who agreed to set aside their opposition to the development in return for Amfac's park lands donation.

Company president Gary Grottke said the project, scheduled to start construction early next year, will help to pay the firm's debts, including a $100 million note due in June.

Amfac, owner of Pioneer Mill Co. Ltd. on Maui, has been selling land parcels to meet its debts. One of the latest sales involved hundreds of acres at Olowalu for about $10 million, Grottke said.

"We're basically retrenching everywhere," he said. "The project is very important to Amfac."

He said that while the firm was trying to "stabilize" its sugar business, it was seeking to expand in coffee and timeshare sales in west Maui.

Grottke said Amfac plans to sell the timeshare units for $16,000 to $17,000 for a one-bedroom for one week a year, and about $20,000 for a two-bedroom unit.

The settlement with residents also continues to give the county the option to buy another 33 acres for $15 million or a combination of lots.

Under terms of a previous agreement, Amfac will also donate 13 acres of land mauka of the Lahaina Aquatic Center for a park.

During yesterday's hearing, Grottke pointed out that Amfac has also paid $1 million in design and engineering to expand the adjacent main highway from two to four lanes. According to a study, he said, the four-lane highway will more than accommodate the additional traffic generated by the timeshare project.

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