Makena hotel coming down piece by piece

Leveling to make way for 65 luxury condos

Piles of scrap steel await recycling as a high-reach excavator crushes the concrete building into manageable bits Thursday afternoon at the old Makena Beach & Golf Resort, formerly the Maui Prince Hotel. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

MAKENA — Portions of the seven-story hotel that was once the Maui Prince and Makena Beach & Golf Resort are coming down.

The hotel’s ballroom is mostly gone and demolition of the south wing is underway and projected to be completed by the end of August, said Ka’imi Judd, vice president of development for the Makena Golf & Beach Club, which will replace the old hotel.

On Thursday afternoon, a high reach excavator with hydraulic processor, resembling a Pac-Man, chomped down on the south wing, exposing rebar and sending rubble to the ground below. Dust was controlled by a continuous stream of nonpotable water from the hydraulic processor.

Demolition of the 310-room hotel, famous for its Sunday brunches, Asian meditation garden and ponds full of colorful carp, began June 4. From the rubble will rise the $324.3 million Makena Golf & Beach Club, a high-end condominium project on the 24-acre site with a private beachfront community and club. Construction began in May 2017.

The demolition is scheduled to be substantially completed by the end of this year, Judd said.

An equipment operator from Northwest Demolition & Dismantling uses a high-reach excavator and hydraulic processor Thursday afternoon to methodically bring down a section of the old hotel

Heaps of metal, along with a green dumpster and construction equipment, are located at what was the hotel entrance and valet area. Bougainvillea on the lanai of hotel rooms are overgrown or have been replaced by weeds.

This is a far cry from the plush hotel built in 1986 by Japan-based developer Seibu Hawaii. The hotel that hosted local weddings and conventions underwent several ownership changes before closing in the summer of 2016 as the Makena Beach & Golf Resort.

About 310 hotel workers lost their jobs. Some 100 employees remain on the payroll to maintain the property’s golf course and grounds and to perform other tasks.

One of those employees still on the job is Keoni Marciel, who handles “outdoor pursuits.” This includes ocean activities as well as teaching those who own properties in the development about the Hawaiian culture.

“It’s kind of bittersweet,” he said, looking at the former hotel Thursday afternoon at a sunset gathering for employees, construction workers and long-time residents. “It’s sad.”

The south wing of the seven-story old Makena Beach & Golf Resort is methodically demolished. The demolition of this section of the old hotel is expected to be completed by the end of August

But looking to the future, he said there are new friends to make. The ohana of the Makena Golf & Beach Club will grow with owners who are investing in the new development. They will come from Maui, the Mainland and Canada.

Adrian Kahoohanohano, another former hotel employee still employed, said the hotel was part of Maui’s history. He is working at the golf course.

There will be more traffic in the area when the new development is up, but it’s part of growing the economy, he said.

“It’s good for the island,” Kahoohanohano said at the gathering on the Maluaka Lawn on the makai side of the former hotel.

Efforts are being made to make the demolition as green as possible. Windows are being repurposed and other materials recycled. During the demolition work, concrete is being separated out and will be reused as fill material to minimize hauling and waste.

Workers pointed out how machines can extract rebar from the concrete. The rebar will be shipped off-island for reuse.

The Maui Planning Commission approved the demolition of the hotel in an amended special management area permit in November. In addition to the removal, the amendment provides an overall reduction of the density of the project from 76 residences and a 76-room hotel to 65 residences.

Project plans no longer call for building the hotel. Now, there will be 65-units in low-rise, single-family and multifamily structures. The tallest buildings will be four stories high.

Construction on the project is anticipated to continue with site work into the first half of 2019. Vertical construction is planned for the following two or more years, Judd said.

Currently, 20 residences are under construction, which consists of eight homes and two six-plex buildings. The eight homes are scheduled to be completed in the first quarter of 2019 and the two buildings at the end of 2019, Judd said.

The eight homes are visible near the south wing and have a view of Maluaka Beach. Further mauka of the south wing are the two six-plex buildings, where foundation work is being done.

Judd said the balance of the project will follow after the demolition of the hotel. This will make way for further construction, which will take another two to three years to build out.

A separate $355 million, mixed-use development is going up on the Kihei side of the hotel. This project, informally called Ka’eo for the Hawaiian land division it is in, consists of 134 units, which will include 67 multifamily units, 18 single-family cottages, 26 single-family custom lots, nine transient vacation rentals and 14 condominiums.

The project also includes 27,300 square feet of commercial space.

Judd said some grading permits for the project are awaiting approval from the county. ATC Makena Holdings and Discovery Land Co. are developing both projects.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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