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POSTED: Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Big Isle hotel tops for romance

Mauna Lani Bay Hotel & Bungalows on the Big Island has been named the best hotel for romance in the country, according to 2009 Travelers' Choice awards by TripAdvisor, the world's largest travel community.

This year's awards are the biggest ever, with 443 hotels being honored in the seventh year of the competition.

Nearly one-third of the winning hotels have an average nightly rate of less than $150, with hotels in the Best for Romance category averaging $452.

Residential construction plummets

Residential construction contracts in Honolulu totaled $19.7 million in December, a 44 percent drop from $35.2 million a year earlier, according to a McGraw-Hill Construction report released yesterday.

Nonresidential contracts climbed 16 percent to $54.3 million from $46.6 million in December 2007, for a total building decline of 10 percent to $74 million from $81.8 million.

For 2008, residential construction contracts slipped 69 percent to $240.4 million from $781 million in 2007. Nonresidential contracts dropped 7 percent to $569.3 million from $608.9 million a year ago.

Firms put Big Isle ranches for sale

Wilshire Finance in Los Angeles and Strand Equity Group of Irvine, Calif., said yesterday they are listing more than 22,000 acres in Kona for sale.

The 11,100-acre Hokukano Ranch, listed at $75 million, and the 11,490-acre Kealakekua Heritage Ranch, listed at $55 million, are located 9 miles south of Kona. The properties, which run from sea level to 7,000 feet, are comprised of agricultural, ranch, residential and conservation preserve.

Hokukano Ranch has been approved for a residential subdivision and commercial development. The property can be subdivided into 4,450 acres of residential development land, 5 acres of commercial property or more than 500-acre agricultural lots.

In July, $4 million earmarked by the federal and state governments to secure a conservation easement on Kealakekua Heritage Ranch will be provided to the owner, the companies said.

Mokulele to start Kahului jet service

Interisland carrier Mokulele Airlines will fly its inaugural flight from Honolulu to Kahului on Monday, departing at 9:10 a.m. from Honolulu International Airport and arriving at 9:46 a.m. at Kahului Airport.

The Embraer 170 jet service is operated under its partnership with Republic Airways, which started in November with flights to Lihue and Kona.

ACS, Queen's extend relationship

Affiliated Computer Services Inc. is extending its relationship with Queen's Health System through a renewed $26 million, three-year information technology outsourcing contract.

ACS has been providing technology services to Queen's Medical Center since 2001. Under the new contract, ACS will continue IT services for the medical center and other Queen's Health System affiliates.