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Grand Wailea planning 224 room expansion

The Grand Wailea’s expansion plans include removing the Seaside Chapel structure. The resort hopes to add 224 guest rooms, expand its parking structure, pool and restaurants. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo

The Grand Wailea Resort hopes to add 224 guest room units, expand its parking structure from three to five levels and renovate and expand its swimming pool and restaurant facilities, according to a Maui County Urban Design Review Board agenda and renderings submitted to the board by the resort.

BRE Iconic GWR Owner LLC, is seeking a special management area use permit for the work, which includes removing the Seaside Chapel structure and adding about 30 public beach parking stalls, along with other related landscape, utility and infrastructure improvements, according to the meeting agenda. The expansion of the parking structure will add an additional 316 parking stalls.

BRE Iconic Holdings bought the 776-room luxury hotel for a reported $1.1 billion in April, reportedly the second highest paid for a hotel in the U.S.

BRE is another name for the New York-based Blackstone Group LP, a private equity firm. The hotel remains under the management company of Waldorf Astoria Management LLC.

Hotel officials declined comment on the matter Wednesday, noting that plans will be made public at the Urban Design Review Board meeting. It is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the Planning Department conference room in the Kalana Pakui Building in Wailuku. The board, which is advisory, may provide its recommendations to the Maui Planning Commission on the design aspects of the project. The SMA permit review process will go before the commission.

According to the renderings submitted for the board’s review, work includes the addition of bungalows on the northern side of the property. The removal of the Seaside Chapel will allow for the bungalows, according to a legal notice published on Dec. 6 in The Maui News as the owner sought the SMA permit.

Other improvements include a new realigned water feature along with various upgrades at the luau lawn on the southern side of the property. Luau work includes replacing the existing lawn with artificial turf along with an updated stage, lighting, audio and luau show. There will also be updated kitchen equipment and layout along with additional storage. The luau portion will maintain 1,100 seats, according to the Luau Concept Plan.

The renderings and the legal notice point out that new units will be added to the Chapel, Lagoon, Haleakala and Wailea wings on various portions of the property.

The legal notice said the Napua Tower will undergo exterior facade renovations and construction of a new staircase. The Hibiscus Pool will undergo an expansion and renovation of pool and deck areas. In the hotel’s Tropical Fruit Garden area, there will be construction of a new pool and also an expansion of the deck area.

The hotel’s famous 50,000 square-foot Spa Grande will have interior renovations, expansion of its lanai and construction of a new spa pool.

In September 2014, the resort launched a $30 million renovation of its guest-room interiors, its meeting rooms and pools. The project aimed at incorporating a more “contemporary look” and sustainability features, such as LED lighting and carpeting made out of recycled materials.

At the time of its opening in November 1991, the resort, then called the Grand Hyatt Wailea, was said to be the most expensive hotel ever built, a fantasy mega-resort, according to an archive story by United Press International.

Built on 42 acres, the hotel cost $600 million and featured pink stone walkways, bronze sculptures, flowers, pools and a spa.

The resort currently features seven restaurants and lounges, including the award-winning Humuhumunukunukuapua’a and the Wailea Canyon Activity pool, which includes nine separate pools, seven waterslides, waterfalls, hot tubs, rushing rapids, a lazy river, a sandy-bottom lagoon, a swim-up bar and a pool reserved for adults. It also has its Grand Wailea Shops and the 26,700-square-foot Haleakala Ballroom and 22 meeting and banquet rooms, according to the hotel’s fact sheet.

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

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