KIHEI - Plans to convert the landmark Aston Maui Lu Resort in Kihei into time-share condominiums could be revived as the hotel's owners actively seek a buyer for the 27-acre property.
Owner Maxxam Enterprises of Beverly Hills, Calif., has tapped commercial real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle of Chicago to market the resort.
The Maui Lu owners obtained a special management area permit in 2008 to demolish the 50-year-old hotel and to build a 388-unit time-share complex on the sprawling property at 575 S. Kihei Road.
The existing complex of multilevel buildings and individual bungalows sits on prime oceanfront land with 600 feet of shoreline and six miles of state-owned white-sand beach on either side, according to Maxxam's website.
The land and buildings are valued at $11.7 million for tax purposes, according to Maui County property tax records.
At least one estimate places a potential sale price at almost six times that amount. Real Estate Alert, a weekly newsletter focused on investing in the U.S. commercial market, estimates the resort's sale could attract bids of approximately $68 million.
A spokesman for Aston Hotels & Resorts, which manages the Maui Lu, referred all comments to the hotel's owners. Calls and emails to Maxxam Enterprises were not immediately returned.
The Maui Lu had been a winter retreat for Canadian logger Gordon Gibson, who named his estate after a yacht he sailed across the Pacific. It was developed as South Maui's original bed-and-breakfast as Gibson added units for friends and family who were regular visitors to his estate. Subsequent owners expanded the property, which has been in operation since 1962.
Maxxam's website says it had planned to "redevelop the Maui Lu into a 400-unit timeshare complex, complete with lush landscaping, pools and water features."
The company notes that "Maui is the world's top timeshare destination, but due to strict zoning and development regulations, the market is considerably undersupplied. As our property was already zoned properly for a conversion to timeshare, we saw an opportunity for a new strategy to leverage the full potential of the asset."
A planned sale back in 2008 to Marriott Ownership Resorts did not go through. The Maui Lu had been slated to close at that time for a three-year overhaul.
Resort employees said that the Maui Lu is still taking hotel reservations for the foreseeable future.
Maxxam also lists the Maui Park Apartments in Lahaina as another asset, along with the Waikiki Trade Center in Honolulu and the Royal Sea Cliff Condominiums in Kona on the Big Island.
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