Finally, a sign of hope for the future of the Coco Palms resort on Kauai. Twenty years after it was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki, local investors have stepped up to buy and renovate the Wailua resort.
"We hope that Coco Palms becomes the true place of aloha that it was prior to Hurricane Iniki," said Tyler Greene, developer for Coco Palms Hui LLC.
Greene says he wants to restore the property to what it looked like before the hurricane hit.
"There's quite a bit to do. It's a full renovation job," said Greene. "We'll be peeling the buildings back to the studs, but all the structures that exist today will stay as they are."
The investors' plan to renovate is an aggressive one.
Immediately after getting their demolition permit this week, crews are already clearing the overgrown brush and trees which have taken over the resort and reconstruction will begin in 2014.
The new buyers are going to reduce the number of rooms from 400 to 350 but will make the rooms larger.
Plans also include renovating the restaurants and restoring the popular lagoon.
"It is our hope to have things like weddings and luaus and cultural events there," said Greene. "We just want it to be a welcoming grounds for residents of Kauai as well as visitors from all around the world."
All of this activity and the announcement has been a welcoming surprise for the Coco Palms site manager and long-time Kauai resident Bob Jasper, who says this has been a long time coming.
"I am so elated, I can't stand it!" said Jasper. "This is the greatest thing I've heard in forever."
Kauai's mayor Bernard Carvalho released this statement on Friday about the activity at Coco Palms:
"Over the years we have heard many plans for the Coco Palms property, but this is the first time we’ve seen real action. Today’s announcement gives me hope that Coco Palms could be brought back to life in a way that honors its legendary past. I am also hopeful that, if this progresses as planned, we can work with the new owners to properly preserve the cultural and historical significance of the area."