Construction work begins on Makena development project

Principal construction began last week on turning the former 310-room Makena Beach & Golf Resort into 50 condominium units and other structures that will be part of the Makena Golf & Beach Club, a the private beachfront community.

A news release Friday from landowner ATC Makena Holdings LLC and Discovery Land Co., which is managing the development, noted the blessing ceremony at the site May 15, which included workers of Makena Golf & Beach Club and Goodfellow Bros., which is working with Discovery Land on the redevelopment project.

The blessing marked the beginning of earthwork and construction on the first residences in the project, which received its special management area permit in 2014, Ka’imi Judd, vice president of development for Makena Golf & Beach Club, said Friday. There had been some site preparation work going on since late last year, including putting up a dust fence and some construction preparation activities, he said.

The $240 million project includes keeping the shell of the six-story hotel and turning it into 50 condominium units, county building permits show. The work also includes building a new restaurant, pool, spa and common area.

Other structures on the 24-acre site include two four-story, six-unit condo buildings; nine beach cottages; five spa hales; and a 76-unit hotel, planning and property tax documents show. The rooftop will include 12 terraces and photovoltaic panels.

A low impact development philosophy employed by developers led to green roofs, porous materials and bioretention work in combination with traditional stormwater management techniques, said Amanda Cording of EcoSolutions.

The entire project is expected to take three years to complete, but occupancy of the first units is expected in the latter part of 2018, said Judd.

Discovery Land and Goodfellow Bros. noted that the project will generate 270 construction jobs — with an emphasis on hiring from the local community.

“We are elated to commence principal construction on the Makena Golf & Beach Club,” said Ed Divita, a partner with Discovery Land. “Our intent has always been to support the greater Maui community . . . having construction employment come from local resources as much as possible.”

Chad Goodfellow, president of Goodfellow Bros., said that its Makena staff initially will consist totally of Maui County residents, “and we plan to continue hiring locally as the project ramps up.” The company has a local workforce of 250 to 300 workers, many of whom have been with Goodfellow for three decades.“Everyone at GBI is excited to begin revitalizing a very special property,” he said.

When completed, the Makena Golf & Beach Club will employ 285 full-time equivalent jobs in the hospitality and service sector, according to the news release announcing the groundbreaking. Discovery is looking to offer work to some of the 300 people who lost their jobs when the Makena Beach & Golf Resort shut down in July.

The original six-story hotel was built by Japan-based developer Seibu Hawaii and opened in 1986 as the Maui Prince Hotel. Owner Seibu Group of Japan sold the hotel to Makena Hotel LLC in 2007 for about $570 million. The property went into foreclosure two years later and ATC Makena purchased much of the resort in 2010 for approximately $190 million.

ATC Makena Holdings is a consortium involving Honolulu’s Stanford Carr Development, Trinity Investments LLC and New York-based AREA Property Partners.

The changes to the resort were necessary to make it economically viable, Discovery Land officials told the Maui Planning Commission in 2014 when they sought the SMA for the project. Developers said losses were $20 million or more after ATC Makena Holdings took control of the property.

ATC Makena also is working on a $355 million, 158-unit mixed-use project on vacant land between Makena Alanui Road and Makena-Keoneoio Road, also known as Old Makena Road.

Project plans call for building 88 multifamily units (including four affordable rental units), 20 single-family cottages, 26 single-family custom lots, 10 transient vacation rentals, 14 condominium units, about 27,300 square feet of commercial space and grading, utility, landscaping and roadway improvements on 47 acres on Makena Alanui Road.

The project has run into legal challenges from Ho’opono O Makena, Maui Tomorrow Foundation and Sierra Club Maui Group, which filed a lawsuit earlier this month in Maui’s Environmental Court. They allege that the project’s environmental assessment provided only a limited review of the master-planned development and that a more extensive environmental impact statement is needed.

The plaintiffs are seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the processing of the SMA permit, and the county has agreed to halt processing the permit until the outcome of a June 9 hearing.

* Lee Imada can be reached at leeimada@mauinews.com.