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Maui development adapts to stay viable


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POSTED: Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Due to the tight financing environment, the developer of the luxury Maluaka at Makena project has downsized the first project within the 18-acre resort.

Developer Everett Dowling said Monday that even though half of the units had been presold, the project lost its financial backing, forcing him to change its scope from 71 condominiums to 13 luxury estates and two condominiums to make it viable again.

“;It's much easier to get financing for single-family homes,”; Dowling said. “;We were fortunate that we had another option so that we could still complete this project.”;

The Maui Planning Commission approved the project changes in March, he said.

“;We returned deposits to about 35 buyers,”; Dowling said.

Demand for the project is still there, said Dowling, who has closed on five of the residential lots, which range from $4.2 million to $7 million.

“;I think the only two segments of the market that are doing well are luxury homes and affordable housing,”; he said. “;Four of our buyers were from among those that had previously reserved condominiums in the project. So far, they are all from the U.S. West Coast.”;

Dowling anticipates that the first home in the luxury development will be completed in the next 12 months. The beach club is slated to open in late 2010, he said.

Dowling will construct two condominium units above the beach club, each of which will be priced just under $6 million, he said.

Dowling said that in addition to unparalleled views of the ocean and golf course, residents will enjoy golf privileges, a beach club with a fitness pool and a Jacuzzi. There also will be beach access and hiking, he said.

Only residents and their guests will get to enjoy the property, Dowling said.

“;To ensure privacy, we don't allow rentals,”; he said.

Further stewardship of the place is evidenced by the company's decision to seek the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED certification, Dowling said.

“;We plan to attain a silver level for the residences,”; he said.

LEED, which stands for “;leadership in energy and environmental design,”; is the recognized standard for measuring so-called green buildings.