California-based developer Brian Hoyle is more optimistic than ever that funding will come through in the next several months and he can finally build the long-awaited West Maui Hospital and Medical Center.
It's been four years since Hoyle received the green light from the state as it issued a certificate of need required in order to build the estimated $45 million to $50 million hospital in West Maui.
The president of Newport Hospital Corp., which has built at least 50 hospitals and nursing homes across the country, acknowledged that projects like these do take time.
"The financing has been the hurdle. (But) I never have been more optimistic since we first started this project," said Hoyle in phone interview last week.
Hoyle started working on the project in 2006. But in 2008, the economy collapsed, making financing difficult. He also had to change property locations because of various issues, but has finally found one in Kaanapali that will work.
Now, with Hawaii's economy doing better, Hoyle feels more optimistic that he will get the financing for the hospital.
"I am committed to this project. I always have been," he said.
Hoyle recently came to Maui and spoke to state legislators as well as county officials. He said that he is pleased with the continuous community and government support for the hospital.
Also cheering Hoyle on is longtime West Maui hospital advocate Joe Pluta, president of both the West Maui Improvement Foundation and the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center Foundation.
Hoyle said neither organization is affiliated with his company.
But Pluta said that his organizations are committed to getting a hospital to West Maui and he expects that his local organizations will be asked by Hoyle to lobby the local government in seeking permits and approvals when the project comes to fruition. He is also hoping that Hoyle will bring on the hospital foundation to work with the West Maui Hospital and Medical Center when the project gets off the ground.
"We are just really anxious," Pluta said of getting the hospital built. "We want to help every way possible."
"Every time I hear the ambulance and the sirens (in West Maui), I wonder how long it's going to take to get to whoever it is," Pluta said alluding to the 60- to 90-minute care and transport time to Maui Memorial Medical Center in Wailuku.
The West Maui Hospital and Medical Center plans remain the same. The hospital will be a 25-acute care bed, critical access facility providing 24-hour emergency services.
The site is on a 14.9-acre parcel in Kaanapali off of Kakaalaneo Drive, mauka of Honoapiilani Highway. It will include operating rooms, a diagnostic radiology department and outpatient services, among other features.
The overall plan is for a medical campus that will also include a 40-bed skilled nursing facility, a 40-unit assisted living facility and a 25,000 square-foot medical office building attached to the hospital, along with a clinic and, in the future, a drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility.
Hoyle said that the campus will have a Hawaiian look to it and have a single-story construction similar to the facade of the Kaiser Permanente clinics on the island.
In his continued work on the project, Hoyle analyzed the possibility of constructing the hospital by using modules made on the Mainland, which proponents said would save time and money.
But Hoyle said that shipping the items over and assembling things here wouldn't be practical, and he is seeking to build the hospital with island union labor.
When funding gets approved, Hoyle estimates it will take around a year to get various entitlements and permits before construction could proceed.
From there, he estimates it could take about a year to 15 months to build the hospital.
* Melissa Tanji can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.