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Wednesday, February 7, 2001

A&B building
140-room hotel
in Kahului

The facility, which will be
near Maui's airport and geared
toward business travelers,
could be finished by 2003

By Tim Ruel

A&B Properties Inc. said today it is planning to develop a 140-room $13 million hotel near Maui's Kahului Airport to tap the island's business travelers.

A&B The 72,000-square-foot project, which could be completed by 2003, would be one of the Valley Isle's few hotels located outside its tourist hot spots of Lahaina, Kihei and Wailea. A&B estimates it will pay $11 million on construction and $2 million on planning.

Hotel operator Marriott International Inc. has already been contracted to manage the hotel under the Courtyard by Marriott brand. The new hotel could create up to 40 new jobs, A&B spokeswoman Linda Howe said.

The architect for the four-story hotel is Nishikawa Architects of Hawaii, and planning is being handled by Munekiyo, Arakawa & Hiraga, both Maui companies.

"We're at the very beginning of the process," Howe said.

A&B, which owns the project's 3.35-acre parcel, must get a change in the zoning and land use amendment to hotel from industrial. The company also needs building permits. Construction could begin by mid-2002.

The site is bounded by Haleakala Highway and Keolani Place, near Costco and Kmart, across from A&B's Triangle Square retail project.

The property currently houses several month-to-month tenants, including a long-term airport parking lot, a rental car agency and tourist-oriented vendors, Howe said. The occupants were notified of the project last week. "It will be some time before these folks have to relocate," Howe said.

The nearest hotels to the property are the Maui Beach Hotel and Maui Seaside Hotel, both on Kahului Harbor, Howe said.

The last hotel opened on Maui was Wailea's Kea Lani Hotel in 1991.

A&B, a subsidiary of Honolulu-based diversified company Alexander & Baldwin Inc., said it has been indirectly involved with hotel development for several decades as a landowner in Wailea.

Elsewhere in Hawaii, A&B has invested in nine properties in the past couple years.

The company agreed in November to buy the 18-story Pacific Guardian Tower on Kapiolani Boulevard for an undisclosed price.

On the mainland, the company earlier this week sold three retail and office properties in Washington State for $15.6 million.

A&B's decision to gear the new Maui hotel toward business travelers received praise from one local developer. "There's a lot of business going on in Maui now," said Christine Camp, president of Avalon Development Co.

Working travelers are often forced to drive to Kaanapali and Wailea for lodging, she said, although many do business in the island's central district.

"They've been studying this for several years," Camp said of A&B.

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