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Friday, March 10, 2000

Coco Palms Resort
to be torn down

The landmark will
be replaced with a time-
share complex

By Anthony Sommer
Kauai correspondent


LIHUE -- The Kauai Planning Commission has given the green light to a California partnership to tear down the historic Coco Palms Resort in Wailua and replace it with a $60 million time-share complex using the same name and the same Polynesian themes of the original.

The 396-room Coco Palms, located in a former coconut plantation, was once considered among the most beautiful hotels in Hawaii. It is best known for its lagoons where the wedding scene in the Elvis Presley movie "Blue Hawaii" was filmed in 1961. The hotel has been closed since Sept. 11, 1992, when Hurricane Iniki struck Kauai.

The property currently belongs to a group of Hong Kong investors and has been sold to Lincoln Consulting Group of Newport Beach, Calif. Financing of the sale was contingent on approval of the series of permits issued by the planning commission yesterday.

The only remaining original
structure will be the cottage in
which Elvis stayed while filming
'Blue Hawaii' in 1961


The vote on the permits came only after the county Planning Department added a long list of conditions ensuring protection of native Hawaiian archaeological sites and burial grounds.

Cheryl Lovell Obatake of the Kauai and Niihau Burial Council approved the plans to conduct archaeological surveys of the property before construction begins. The original hotel was built on top of an ancient settlement, and 34 skeletal remains were reburied when the hotel was built.

Kauai architect Avery Youn, who represents Lincoln Consulting, agreed to the conditions and suggested even more stringent requirements. He said it will take at least a year for the property to be surveyed, and the new resort is still at least two years away from opening.

Almost all of the existing buildings on the 47 acres will be demolished. The hotel's famous lagoons will be redone.

The hotel will be replaced by 232 time-share units and 20 luxury suites. The Seashell Restaurant on Wailua Beach will be rebuilt and linked to the hotel by a walkway over Kuhio Highway.

The only original structure that will remain will be the cottage in which Elvis Presley stayed while filming "Blue Hawaii." The new owners plan to turn it into an Elvis museum.

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