Permits expire on iconic Coco Palms

LIHUE (AP) – The iconic Coco Palms Resort in Wailua remains a visual blight on Kauai’s busiest corridor two decades after being damaged by Hurricane Iniki, and now efforts to redevelop the property may be more difficult because permits have expired.

County Planning Director Michael Dahilig is asking the Planning Commission to revoke various permits issued to the property’s owner, Coco Palms LLC Ventures, the Garden Island reported.

The permits, which expired Friday, would have allowed the Coco Palms’ reconstruction project to include 200 multifamily dwellings and 48 hotel units.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. and Kauai County Council Chairman Jay Furfaro released a joint statement criticizing the lack of progress on the project.

“The owners have had ample time to seek solutions, and yet we are still at square one,” the statement reads. “It’s time to move forward and look to other options that will address the future of this historic site.”

Dahilig said he inspected the property Saturday and saw no evidence of construction activity.

“Twenty years of blight and inaction must stop now,” he said.

Patrick Duddy, one of the potential investors in Coco Palms, told the Garden Island on Tuesday that he is ready to build on the property. He described the move by the county to revoke the permits as playing “hardball.”

“There is nothing more in the world that I want to do than rebuild the Coco Palms,” Duddy said. “We’ve got the money, we’ve got the investors, we’ve got everything ready to go.”

Coco Palms LLC bought the property in 2006 for $12.3 million, according to county records. The entire property is subdivided into smaller condominium property regime units.

County Real Property Division staff said Tuesday that the property is now worth roughly $13 million.

The new resort was supposed to be ready in 2010, in compliance with permits granted in 2005. The developers were granted a three-year extension to allow them to have the site demolished and rebuilt by Jan. 25.