Commission grants time extension to developer of hotel on Maui Palms site

WAILUKU — An affordable hotel in Kahului being modeled after the popular local Pagoda Hotel on Oahu is still in the works, although it will take a little longer to build.

On Tuesday, the Maui Planning Commission waived its review for a two-year time extension on a special management area use permit to complete construction on the four-story, 136-room hotel on the old Maui Palms site in Kahului. With the review waiver, the planning director can grant the extension of no longer than two years, project officials said.

The Savio Group, which is proposing the project, said that since its last extension granted on Jan. 15, 2016, construction costs have escalated. Therefore, the group needs to review cost reduction measures to make the project more cost effective, according to a letter to the Planning Department from Munekiyo Hiraga, a Wailuku urban planning and project management firm. Therefore, the group was seeking an extension because construction could not be completed by the Jan. 31, 2018, deadline.

The letter added that since the last extension, there have not been any changes in the special management area and in the vicinity of the project that would affect the environment, ecology or infrastructure in the area.

Savio told The Maui News that the group has received some cost savings on its designs.

He did not say what the exact costs were.

He added that he hoped construction could start as soon as financing and permits are approved. He hoped this would be in 2018.

Savio said there is no firm name now for the hotel, although it could incorporate the Pagoda and Maui Palms names or even be called The Koi, to reflect the koi at the Pagoda Hotel on Oahu, which he also owns.

Savio purchased the Maui Palms property in 2014.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at