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200-room Kahului hotel could open in about 3 years

Draft EIS responds to public concerns

Shown is a rendering for the 200-unit Windward Hotel proposed for roughly 5 acres near Costco and Kahului Airport. A draft environmental impact statement has been prepared for the development. R.D. Olson Development graphics

The 200-room Windward Hotel proposed for a roughly 5-acre site near Costco and the Kahului Airport would start construction in 2021 and could be open by 2023, according to a draft environmental impact statement.

The study also included residents’ concerns about the need for affordable housing, visitor overcrowding impacts and potential traffic concerns, along with developer responses.

The hotel is being proposed by California-based R.D. Olson Development. Its draft environmental impact statement was published Tuesday in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s The Environmental Notice.

“Given that Kahului/Wailuku is the civic and commercial hub of Maui, and also the island’s transportation gateway, (a study) concludes that the market is currently underserved in terms of hotel facilities,” the report said. It added that the project’s objectives are “rooted in the desire to contribute to the Maui economy and creating employment opportunities.”

Varying from one, two and four stories in height, Windward Hotel would be geared toward business travelers and those seeking to stay “close to the airport.” Amenities and uses include, but are not limited to, a swimming pool and dining area. A shuttle would provide free transportation within a 2-mile radius of the hotel, including Kahului Airport pickup and drop-off.

The Windward Hotel could start construction in 2021 and be open by 2023, according to a draft environmental impact statement for the project.

Other project reports show on-site amenities, such as meeting rooms, a business center, a barbecue area, a sports court and a fitness center. Parking would include 227 spaces.

The hotel would occupy 5 acres of land in the Maui Business Park Phase II, which is owned by A&B Properties Inc. and is bordered by Haleakala Highway and Airport Access Road. R.D. Olson plans to acquire the hotel property from A&B Properties after the land-use entitlement process is completed. Land in the business park is currently for sale, and several parcels already have been sold and others are under construction.

R.D. Olson, which owned and sold the nearby Courtyard by Marriott, noted the Marriott’s success in proposing the new hotel. Current demand for the Marriott has an annualized occupancy rate of 92 percent, and hotel standards consider 90 percent or greater as being at full occupancy, the report said.

Residents’ comments and concerns included “overcrowding” of roads, beaches and parks by visitors, lack of housing for residents and road congestion in the Costco area near the hotel.

Irene Newhouse of Kihei said in a letter to consultants that the Costco area is already “congested and hard to navigate.”

“Adding a potential 100 plus cars per day (half-occupancy of a 200-room hotel) to the area will make it a nightmare,” she said.

Developer consultant Chris Hart & Partners said that a traffic study for the project showed that the proposed hotel is not anticipated to impact turning movements at intersections in the area. He added that the hotel will not be providing rooms for people seeking resort destinations, such as West and South Maui, and that developers are required to provide affordable housing.

It is anticipated that the Windward Hotel project will be built in a single phase, starting in 2021. The hotel is expecting to open for business in 2023, the report said.

A 45-day public review and comment period ends on Nov. 22. Comments may be sent to the approving agency, the Maui Planning Commission, Tara Furukawa, staff planner, by email at tara.furukawa@ mauicounty.gov or by regular mail at 2200 Main St., Suite 619, Wailuku 96793. Her phone number is 270-8205.

For information and to view the report, visit health.hawaii.gov/oeqc/.

* Kehaulani Cerizo can be reached at kcerizo@mauinews.com.