Saturday | May 23, 2015
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Kona Village Resort plans unveiled

Plans for the rebuilding of the tsunami-damaged Kona Village Resort call for a new spa, arrival pavilion, conference center, administration building, presidential suite and retail facility, as well as rebuilding the damaged and destroyed bungalows.

Those plans were outlined in a March 19 letter from Steven Lim, a Hilo attorney representing Kona Village Investors LLC, to Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, former Hawaii County planning director.

The popular Kona resort has been closed since sustaining more than $20 million in damage during the March 11, 2011, tsunami, triggered by a 9.0 magnitude earthquake in waters off Japan.

Pat Fitzgerald, the resort’s president and chief executive officer, told Travel Weekly magazine in February 2012 that the age of the resort, built in the 1960s, was complicating insurance settlement negotiations, resulting in delays in the resort’s restoration.

Fitzgerald also told the publication that it would likely cost $15 million to $20 million above damage repairs to bring the resort’s aging infrastructure up to code.

Lim’s letter stated that the plans include rebuilding of the resort’s Hale Samoa and Hale Moana “including the construction of new restaurant decking … similar to Hualalai Resort’s Beach Tree Restaurant,” as well as rebuilding and repairing all the resort’s pools and bars, and the addition of two new guest laundry buildings.

Fitzgerald told the magazine last year that repairs should be complete by the end of this year, but Lim’s letter indicated that the Planning Department approved an extension for final plan approvals to Dec. 14, 2015, as well as a waiver of shoreline certification “since all improvements will be ‘limited to the existing general building envelope’ of the project.”

Many of the resort’s 125 thatched-roof bungalows, or “hales,” sustained major damage from the tsunami and more than 200 employees were left without jobs, although some were hired at other hotels owned by the resort’s parent company, Four Seasons.

Calls early Friday afternoon to Fitzgerald, Lim and Partmann were not returned by press time.

Email Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.