Coco Palms Ventures has finalized the purchase of the soon-to-re-open Coco Palms Resort on the island of Kaua’i.The sale encompasses 16.4 acres of prime real estate and an additional 17 acres of State leasehold land (the storied coconut grove). Purchase price was not disclosed.
“Our vision all along has been to continue the hospitality legacy that Grace Guslander created 53 years ago,” said Richard Weiser, one of the key principals for Coco Palms Ventures. “The luxury condominiums and hotel will be designed with an eye toward restoring Coco Palms’ timeless style. We embrace the kuleana (responsibility) that comes with recreating such an endearing icon and look forward to a happy and long-term relationship with the local community.”
Coco Palms Ventures, LLC is a joint venture between The Weiser Companies, Inc., and Petrie Ross Ventures, with a $220 million restoration that will retain much of the resort’s original ambience. The project will feature bungalow-style hotel rooms and luxury condominiums, two restaurants, a spa and more. The construction period is expected to last 22 months with an anticipated opening in Summer 2008.
“We’re also excited to be working with the Department of Transportation to widen and improve Kaua’i's most important thoroughfare, Kuhio Highway,” continued Weiser. “We all feel compelled to address the immediate needs of this community and thank Mayor Baptiste for successfully spearheading our partnership with DOT. The highway expansion is an essential step towards accommodating the needs of Kaua’i's growing population.”
The legendary Coco Palms opened in 1953 as an iconic Polynesian getaway. The resort was named for its idyllic 2,000-tree coconut grove, and featured atmospheric accommodations “no taller than a coconut tree” complete with thatched roof cottages, outrigger canoe beds and clamshell sinks. Under the guidance of grand dame general manager and consummate hotelier Grace Guslander, Coco Palms Resort became best known as the romantic 1961 film location for Elvis Presley’s “Blue Hawaii,” and the island’s most popular site for weddings, often conducted in the wedding chapel first featured in “Miss Sadie Thompson” and later donated by MGM.
“Coco Palms is a true reflection of Kaua’i's extraordinary beauty and legacy. In the mid-1800’s this land was home to the last reigning queen of the island, Queen Deborah Kapule,” said Walt Petrie, another of the key principals for Coco Palms Ventures. “We are going to restore the magic that still lives in the hearts and minds of people who remember the grandeur of the old Coco Palms, and reintroduce her to those too young to remember that bygone era of hospitality.”