|By Kristen Consillio, The Honolulu
Star-AdvertiserMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
October 16, 2010 --The Pagoda Hotel & Restaurant, once a popular hot spot among kamaaina, is being sold for the first time in its 46-year history.
HTH Corp. is selling the 359-room hotel to local developer Peter Savio. The sale includes the hotel's famed floating restaurant; the low-rise hotel on Kaheka Street; and a parking garage adjacent to Ross Dress for Less across Rycroft Street.
Terms of the deal weren't disclosed; however, the property -- on both fee simple and leasehold land -- had been listed by HTH for $15 million.
"I want to bring it back to its old glory," said Savio, who negotiated for the property for more than two years. "I remember as a kid, the Pagoda Hotel was the absolute fun place to go. Local families went all the time for birthday parties, graduations and baby luaus -- that doesn't happen anymore."
Nonetheless, it's still a great location, property and concept for local people and local activities, he said.
"The decision to sell the Pagoda was made with mixed emotions," said John Hayashi, president of HTH Corp., in a statement. "It was made knowing this property will be in the hands of a well-respected leader in Hawaii's business community and with the continued employment of the dedicated Pagoda ohana."
The sale is expected to close in December. Its 158 employees will be retained by Pagoda Management Services LLC, an affiliate of Aqua Hotels and Resorts, which will manage the property and oversee upgrades totaling up to $6 million over the next three to four years, according to Savio. Informational meetings with employees will take place next week.
The renovations will include at least $2 million in upgrades to the restaurant space, which is a top priority. Savio is looking for new restaurant tenants on two floors.
He also is considering creating a Pagoda brand and expanding to the neighbor islands.
"All with the same small convenient facility, local-type restaurant, where local people come and go and stay and have a good time," he said.
Another strategy that has worked for Savio in recent years is the dorm concept, which will likely be incorporated at the Pagoda. He operates student dorms at six Waikiki hotels and a property near the University of Hawaii.
"Every hotel has some extra space so we might take one or two floors for dorms," he said.
Built in 1964, the property includes koi ponds, Japanese gardens and cascading waterfalls -- the legacy of founder Herbert T. Hayashi, who died in 2005. HTH, which also owns the Pacific Beach Hotel, was founded in 1975 to consolidate the businesses owned by the late Hayashi, who was the first hotelier to build a hotel for kamaaina outside of Waikiki.
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